Shout! Factory releases one of the finer animated relics of the nineties: “Beast Wars” a veritable buffet of trademark Transformers tropes that pits Autobot against Decepticon except this time they’re in animal form and are now known as the Maximals and the Predacons, two warring races of transformers descendents whom are all marooned on a distant planet from Cybertron where the two races are now fighting for control of the mysterious fossil fuel known as Energon. As a fan boy of the transformers at one time I can very much remember indulging myself in the saga of the Beast Wars.
Every morning on Channel 11 in the Bronx, the computer animated heroes and villains competed for domination of the fuel Energon as led by the noble Optimus Primal. Rather than this entire series revolving around two races of combat jets and cars, the folks behind the series stage a different kind of world where the Maximals are now jungle animals led by Primal who is an ape, while the Predacons are prehistoric animals like dinosaurs and crocodiles. Two more series spin-offs were created to fill in the holes for this series, so there’s no real word if Shout! plans to release those sets, but as it stands the complete first season clocks in at a long in the tooth ten hour marathon of the some if the finest episodes of the season.
Taking the initiative, the creators of the Emmy Award Winning show stage the narrative in the then ambitious computer animation where the third dimensional animation style is pre-dominant adds a depth and complexity to the character designs as well as a dimension in to the world where the robots battle endlessly where alliances are broken and betrayal is always imminent. The voice work is of course fantastic with folks like Gary Chalk and Scott McNeil voicing the primary characters Primal and Rattrap while David Kaye is a wonderful replacement as the voice of Megatron.
The computer animation has aged since the late nineties where the art form has taken on many new corners, but like Shout! Factory’s release of “Reboot,” this is mainly left for the collector’s to enjoy on a purely nostalgic level where the extra dimensions lend a hand where story telling sometimes falls short. Like most of the Transformers epics, “Beast Wars” is occasionally exhausting, but as it progresses in to a more intense race against time to obtain the Energon and claim their territory among the lands, it gets so much better to endure.
The ten hour DVD’s are merely just the icing on the in a very dense mythos of the “Beast Wars” kind, and by the time you’re done with this, you’ll be rooting for your favorite characters and appreciating the restoration job Shout! has accomplished. The DVD comes in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio with full screen and Dolby Digital sound. The DVD’s are packed with some extras including the original character models for the show, an art gallery of 3D landscapes from the series, and “Maximize!” a featurette examining the making of this series for a new millennium that would set the stage for many other computer animated science fiction shows to come. To say this volume is nothing short of excellent is an understatement as you can always expect the best from Shout!