Transformers – Armada: Best Battles + Flashbacks
Picture: B- Sound: C+ Extras: D Episodes: C-
time was not the charm for Hasbro’s Transformers
franchise. Armada (2002) is the latest series based on the surprisingly
popular toy series of the mid-1980s.
Instead of being the original that took place in a somewhat believable
world, or its Beast Wars sequel
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) totally in the computer animation world, this
one is the most colorful and infantile of the three, a tired and sad revival
that is lame like nothing since the now-defunct Group W Productions gave us
Flash Gordon on a skateboard!
recent Masters of the Universe
animated series, the toys far outweigh the show that goes with them, which
really does play like the obvious, stereotypical TV-show-as-half-hour-commercial. The directing is lame, the dialogue is
atrocious and an insult to kids and adults alike, the animation is substandard
for TV animation at any time during the color era, and the idea that the giant
robots are from an ancient time is beyond stupid.
actors are also very weak, sounding more like airheads with naïve optimism than
being part of any exciting world of robot battles. Even the transformations are lame. If this had been the original show, it would
have bombed big time. Next time Hasbro
wants to revive a successful franchise, have it done by people who liked the
original or forget it.
ironically-titled Best Battles
offers the episodes Metamorphosis, Base,
Confrontation, and Decisive Battle. Flashbacks tries to incorporate what
looks like older footage and offers Prehistory,
Trust, and Past in two
parts. It plays like those many “cheat”
cartoon shorts where the characters would talk about past adventures, but
Warner Bros’. Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies did this kind of thing far
better, as did The Jeffersons. With DVD and the original series four seasons
worth on disc, this seems like a dated idea.
It also reminds me of how much better the Japanese Star Blazers and especially Battle of the Planets were than in
their American “revision” versions where a show with some edge was castrated
and sanded down beyond kids-safe. Too
bad these do not have Japanese soundtracks with better dialogue, but I suspect this
series does not even have that going for it, and an original would have footage
edited out anyhow.
thing the full frame images on these DVDs have is exceptional color quality,
their only saving grace. Except for the
flashback footage of the older hand-drawn show, which has some detail
advantages, the color is good and makes up for lesser definition overall. The rubbery form of the actual animation is
like a subdued version of a Fleischer cartoon, but this has nowhere near the
character. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
is shockingly lacking any kind of surround sound, which is unbelievable for a
TV show currently in production. That is
lame. Not surprisingly, there are no extras.
course, there will be completists and die-hard fans who will want these and
they will at least have a good picture, but if you have to see any Transformers, you should consider the
other series first before dealing with Armada. You can even just go out and see the toys.
- Nicholas Sheffo