Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising Blu-ray Review

A movie review article by: Paul Brian McCoy

On October 4, 2013, The HUB Network aired the exclusive world premiere of Hasbro Studio's feature film Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising. It serves as an epilogue, capping the three season run of Transformers Prime and serves as a nice end to the series (with a bit of a nod to the next iteration of the long-running concept). The Blu-ray/DVD release of the 66 minute movie follows on Tuesday, October 8, despite the third season of the show not making it to shelves until December.

So if you're waiting until then to see what happens in that final season, you might want to stop reading now, because the advertising copy for this release gives it all away.

No, seriously.

Stop reading now if you don't want to know what happens in Season Three.

Here's the trailer to give you a clue, but then really, stop reading.

Okay, are they all gone? Well, here's what Hasbro has to say:

A resurrected UNICRON has taken over the now-lifeless body of MEGATRON to seek vengeance on the AUTOBOTS and ultimately, the destruction of Cybertron. This formidable enemy forces an unlikely alliance between the AUTOBOTS, DECEPTICONS, PREDAKING and two new PREDACONS, who come together in an epic battle to help protect their newly restored planet.

Yeah. That about sums it up.

I'm not going to kid you. Even though I grew up during the original appearance of these toys and cartoons, the only thing I know about Transformers is that Pop Will Eat Itself digs Optimus Prime but not Galvatron. Can U dig it?

Which means I went into this only knowing what I read on Wikipedia to get myself prepared. I'd assume that if you're reading this, or curious about it in the least, you know more about what's going on here than I do.

But guess what? Once you get yourself acclimatized to where Predacons Rising is coming from, it's a tightly-plotted, fast-paced action film that does a nice job of quickly amping up the tension and threat-level to Full-On Apocalyptic. And even though I had no idea going in who these characters were, the script does an excellent job of using short-cuts and action to let me know who they were and even get an idea about their histories together. Written by Duane Capizzi, Marsha Griffin, and Steven Melching, Predacons Rising is a satisfying end for what was apparently an extremely well-done series.

So satisfying, in fact, that I now want to track down the previous three seasons and follow this story from start to finish.

Vinton Heuck, Scooter Tidwell, and Todd Waterman direct the film and Japanese animation studio Polygon Pictures provides the dynamic CG animation, which is, at times, breathtaking. Hell, at its worst it's gorgeous. The sense of scale that is brought to the newly reborn Transformers homeworld, Cybertron, helps to cement the grandness of the story while also subtly emphasizing the characters' isolation. There aren't really a lot of Autobots (or Decepticons or Predacons) around anymore. Ultimately, this film is about finding a new start and avoiding genocide -- big themes for what I'd always assumed was a goofy kids' show about robots who turn into cars.

If I had any complaint it would be that it's over too quickly. The promotional materials say it's a 90 minute epilogue to the season, but it's really only barely 66 minutes total -- and even the Bonus Feature don't stretch it out to an hour and a half. There are moments in the movie that I hoped for a little more room to breathe and to see the characters shine. But seeing as how this is the final chapter of a 65 episode run, I'm probably just not catching some of the shorthand developed over that time.

Needless to say, all of the characters get moments in the spotlight, even if it's only the opportunity to say something inspiring before leaping into action. And the action is surprisingly fierce and well-choreographed, with a highlight being the initial confrontation between Predaking and the Unicron-possessed Megatron (voiced to perfection by the incomparable John Noble).

The Bonus Feature, A Look at Polygon Pictures, is a short look behind-the-scenes of the production of the entire series that was informative and entertaining, despite not really being focused on the production of this film in particular.

Shout! Factory's Blu-ray presentation is pristine, with crystal clear video, bold colors and deep shadows. The audio, a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is also top of the line, providing clean dialogue and hearty action, sometimes simultaneously. The range of both video and audio expression here is about as good as it could get.

Ultimately, if you're a fan of Transformers Prime Beast Hunters, you're gonna want to grab up Predacons Rising as soon as you can -- especially if you've been keeping up with the series from the beginning. And if you're new to the whole Transformers thing, it might be worth a look, if only to convince yourself to dive into the series (the first two seasons of which are currently on sale and streaming on Netflix).

Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.

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