Sep 26, 2013

[TV] Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising (2013)

At first I was not sure if I was going to classify this review under TV or movies given it's actually a TV movie. At first I thought that it was only getting a direct to video release, but thankfully it will air on the Hub in October. And given this movie is supposed to wrap up the Transformers Prime cartoon series as a whole, I guess it best fits here.

I've had a mixed relationship with Transformers Prime. but in the end I grew to appreciate it. In terms of the non-G1 stories, I still preferred Beast Wars over this series, but this is not to say this one wasn't without merit. Despite odd voice casting choices here and there and how this cartoon was horribly slaved to its toyline counterpart, it still had a lot of fun moments.

But as for Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising serving as a movie conclusion to the series? Well, I really don't think we needed this. The third and final season of the TV series had certainly wrapped things up nicely and this movie just seems to drag things out a bit more in order to give purpose to the redeco toys released under the Predacons Rising name. But hey, that's Hasbro for you. As much as we love the mythos behind the toys, at the end of the day all Transformers cartoons are really just longer commercials for the toys.

Synopsis: Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising is a 2013 direct to video TV movie that will also air on the Hub in October.

The story begins with the Autobots now trying to pick up the pieces after the events of the TV series. While Megatron (Frank Welker) is now dead and Cybertron has been restored, there is still much work to be done to actually repopulate their world. They've called out to refugees to come back to the planet but it will be a while before anyone will heed their call. In the meantime, Shockwave (David Sobolov) and Starscream (Steve Blum) are still at large while Knock Out (Daran Norris) and other Vehicons are Autobot Prisoners.

But it turns out that Megatron still clings to life due the continuing effects of the Dark Energon that was in his system. And this opens the door for Unicron (John Noble) to take over Megatron's body in order to face his true enemy - Primus, who powers the core of Cybertron. Meanwhile the Autobots stumble across two more Predacons on Cybertron, which means that Shockwave is back at work cloning Predacons from fossilized remains.

In some ways, it could have been cool to have Unicron back in the mix. Sure, the Transformers Prime version of Unicron was not quite as awesome as he was in the 1986 movie, but he's still a major cosmic force that pretty much represents evil in the Transformers world. But this time around we just have him possessing Megatron, which consists of giving the Decepticon leader some pretty tacky additions to his look including a Unicron-style helmet crown. His weird purple energy constructs weren't all that amazing either.

I don't quite get what they wanted to accomplish with the Predacons here. They were forced to use the two characters introduced as repaints under the Predacons Rising line but their color schemes were not quite as visit in this TV movie. Not that I'm a big fan of how all the toys are painted, but it just made it harder to figure out which one was which other than Predaking (Peter Mensah) being his normal huge self. And since we only really see them in passing apart from some longer fight scenes, you don't really get to experience how the two characters are supposed to be all that distinct from one another.

As much as I used to complain about Bumblebee not having a voice in this series, I'm not all that sure I'm happy with the voice they finally gave him. He gets to be all leader-like this time around though, which mirrors to some extent his role in the IDW comics. And he needed to step up since Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) felt the need to go on some quest away from everyone, which just seems to be his way.

The whole plot was just...weird. If Unicron really wanted to focus on facing Primus, why did he waste time going around beating other people up? What made him think that he needed help to take down Primus, who has pretty much been a ball of energy or something all this time? Why did Unicron think that crown would look good on Megatron's head? Why didn't Knock Out get more screen time? Too many questions!

In the end it was a pretty short movie that felt a little rushed and inconsequential. I really think that the whole Transformers Prime Beast Hunters story ended much better with the TV series and should not have gone into this weird overtime experience with this movie. But hey, every bit counts I guess and Predacons Rising may serve a greater purpose in the future should I ever re-watch it for some reason. As of now, I can only rate the movie as 2.5 zombie Predacons out of a possible 5.

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