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Transformers: Beast Machines
Review by Toad

The next Transformer adventure has been released with Beast Machines, but if you truly want to experience this masterpiece then you better clear your schedule for the next couple of nights. The Maximals are back with four discs containing the complete new series.

Following the success of Beast Wars, the Transformers were brought back to life in Beast Machines; however, this saga was unlike anything Optimus had fought through before. The largest difference in the story line between Beast Machines and all other series, including the newer Energon series, was the complete lack of fairness right from the get-go. The norm has been that each side has their base, comparable numbers, and equal firepower, that seemed to swing on a pendulum throughout the stories. The Maximals in Beast Machines would have given anything for just one of these luxuries. Where other Transformers have fought for energon or to protect humans, Optimus and his crew fought to survive.

When the advertisements for Beast Machines originally aired, I was ecstatic; but, after catching a couple of random episodes, I was left asking myself...what? Whether you look at it as a positive or a negative, almost every episode of Beast Machines has events that continue to move the main story along. Of the 26 episodes, over one third is part of a trilogy. This combination creates the illusion that, while watching the series, you are actually watching one long movie. This type of writing turned off a lot of viewers who couldn't watch the show everyday, including myself. Beast Machines has a very deep story that sways from religious to political and demands attention.

The series, which has been released as one complete set, is filled with DVD extras that include commentary from writers and interviews with a couple of the voice actors that had also worked in Beast Wars. Unlike the other Transformer series, Beast Machines is meant for DVD. The deep and fast-paced story comes to life when you're able to start from the beginning and watch the characters grown and adapt to the new challenges that await them on Cybertron.

Although Beast Machines is a very entertaining series, it may be a disappointment to fans of the previous series. There are a couple of areas that continued to irk me throughout the story. First off, for a planet swarmed with heavily armed robots, it is beyond frustrating to watch the Maximals fight through all four discs without ever holding a gun. Yeah, the bat shoots sonic beans out the back of his neck and Optimus somehow generates bolts Dragon Ball Z style from between his hands, but it really leaves you missing Rhinox's rotating machine gun and Prime's twin flip-up missile launchers. Secondly, by the third disc you start to notice a trend forming in the episodes. They seem to start with our hero's continuing to save the planet and then being ambushed by a bizilion bots with all their guns blazing. The Maximals will get pinned down for a moment to bicker as we watch 5 or 6 bullets fly overhead (what happened to all the other shots I'll never know). Soon after they resolve their arguments, destroy the enemy, and move out to continue the story.

Even with its shortcomings, Beast Machines is a strong addition to the Transformer's saga. The final three episodes really wrap up the series well and end with a fantastic sight of a new Cyberton. This is a collection worth owning and is recommended for anyone who enjoys the previous Transformer series.

You can buy this four disc set from Check out our reviews of Transformer toys.

Review ©2006

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