Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising
Release Date: June 20, 2012
Price: $19.99 (Buy Here)
When the Autobot Cliffjumper is attacked by Decepticons after finding a patch of the crystalised energy source, Energon, a huge plot is set into motion involving some epic battles between giant robots, zombies and even some involvement with some humans. Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots are primed to protect humanity, even if it means destroying their only way to get home.
Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising follows the story of the Autobots protecting the Earth from a particular Decepticon threat. In this particular story, the Decepticons have acquired a new kind of weapon called Anti-Energon (or something) which has the ability to raise the dead as mindless zombies.
I quite enjoyed the way the story progressed in this movie, even if at some points the plot moved into some unbelievable territory with some of the characters. What I mean by this is that one of the main characters is a nerdy child who is capable of some rather difficult tasks whilst on a computer. I think at one point even one of the other characters brought attention to this. “You know how to hack? But you’re like 2”. If you’re already suspending your audiences disbelief with giant robots and kids with IQ’s that surpass most regular computer hackers, please do not bring more attention to that fact. Regular belief kicks back in and you yell at the TV.
I actually didn’t the human characters in this film as much as I thought I would. In most previous Transformers series, I’ve absolutely hated the human protagonists and have stop watching because of how little I cared for them. But in this film, while I didn’t feel connected to them (I’m too old), I did understand them… with the exception of the 12 year old hacker, really HASBRO? Really? The one major flaw with the eldest male lead character, I found, was that he seemed to have a relationship that was a little *too* friendly with his rather attractive mother. I can’t be the only one who got this vibe.
What worked really well with this film was the way it handled the exposition and combat elements of the story. Everything fit together nicely and it didn’t really seem like it was trying to make an excuse to have big transforming robots hit each other with stuff, which is something that is pretty important from a story-telling perspective.
I have to admit that when I saw the 1hour and 46minute run time, I was a little bit daunted. This is a full-length feature who’s target audience will probably not be bale to sit settled for that long. Fortunately, it the film didn’t come off as being aimed at children at all, but rather it seems that it was aimed at the Transformers fanbase itself and as such, feels much more worthy of the Tranformers legacy.
Please do not be turned off by opening battle scene in this film. I mean, really, please don’t. It is only one badly crafted scene in a film that only gets better and better as it goes. It was a horrible scene and I almost turned the movie off after I saw that horrible slo-mo shot. And man, I’m glad I didn’t.
One of this films greatest strengths are it’s animated battles. The battles are not quite Beast Wars awesome, but they’re really freaking close. I have to say that seeing Optimus Prime with daggers coming out of his arm and massacring a horde of Zombie Transformers is one of the best things to happen in CGI, ever.
I have to admit that when I looked at the cover and saw the current designs of the Transformers that I was kind of worried. I’m too used to having the massive bulky Super-robot type designs from the past animated series’ and not the current sleeker look that Hasbro has been peddling with the Live-Action stuff. Fortunately, once you see the redesigns in action, they work really well. My only gripe is that Arcee wasn’t sexy enough, but she’s a robot so I don’t think it’d work between us anyway.
One of my biggest gripes in this movie visually is that the human characters look too archetypical. For instance, you have the geeky 12 year old who looks exactly how you would imagine a geeky stereotype to look, you have the female hipster looking Asian girl from Japan who looks exactly how you’re imagining her to look right now and you’ve got the pretty average male teenager who you would imagine to look pretty average. His mother is pretty cute though.
I can only really praise this film for it’s visuals, it’d be pretty cool if we got a Beast Wars reboot from the team animating this series. Also, please give Arcee a redesign, please.
Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising has a fairly average audio soundtrack. I don’t really recall having a particular sound clip or audio track particularly resonating with me. However, that isn’t to say that’s bad, it’s just that nothing really adds or detracts to the experience. It just is.
I’m also reasonably certain that they’ve changed something with the signature transformation noise that a Transformer makes. It sounds like it’s had it’s pitch altered or has been sped up or something since the last series I watched. Nothing major, but it didn’t feel right for some reason.
Overall the Audio isn’t anything bad, it’s just not something that particularly grabs you. I will say that Optimus Prime sounds amazing in this iteration of the franchise and fans of his will enjoy his tone.
The film doesn’t really have any extras to speak of. The only real thing that could be considered extra is the fact that it comes with a small handful of Transformers related trailers. I wouldn;t say that a lack of extras is a detriment to the film, but it doesn’t really add anything by not having anything significant there either.
Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising is an incredibly fun Transformers film that should leave fans feeling satisfied. Despite it beginning quite poorly, it shapes up to be an incredible experience that even a non-Transformers fan can appreciate.