Starring (voices): Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Steve Blum, Jeffrey Combs, Will Friedle, James Horan, Michael Ironside, Peter Mensah, Sumalee Montano, John Noble.
MEGATRON has been defeated! The AUTOBOTS have won the war and have managed to bring life back to their home world of CYBERTRON. This is the beginning of the final story arch in the hit show, TRANSFORMERS PRIME. With the DECEPTICONS defeated and in hiding the AUTOBOTS led by OPTIMUS PRIME (Peter Cullen) begin the process of rebuilding their world in anticipation of the arrival of the thousands of CYBERTRONIANS that fled during the war. After giving a speech to his troops who have served under him throughout the series, OPTIMUS states that he has one final mission to achieve before CYBERTRON can be fully healed, by finding the ancient artefact, the ALLSPARK. Meanwhile at the bottom of the ocean back on Earth, MEGATRONS (Frank Welker) lifeless body is brought back to life courtesy of the DARK ENERGON that he merged with his spark back at the beginning of the first season, and thus bringing back to life the chaos bringer, UNICRON (John Noble).
Predacons Rising is the first TRANSFORMERS animated film since the 1986 masterpiece that many fans still consider to be the greatest TRANSFORMERS film of all time, which it is. Although sadly, Predacons Rising is only a TV movie, which based on the run time and rushed story feels less of a film and more of three 20min episodes crammed together. Sadly this isn’t the TRANSFORMERS film that fans have been waiting for, but it is a great finale for a fantastic show that as managed to not only introduce a whole new generation of viewers to TRANSFORMERS, but also managed to win over the older generation, particularly with the constant G1 references and well thought out character development. The return of UNICRON, who was thought to have been defeated by THE MATRIX OF LEADERSHIP at the end of the first season adds a whole new threat level that has been missing from the show since UNICRONS first appearance.
UNICRON is not the only threat that the AUTOBOTS face whilst OPTIMUS PRIME and WHEELJACK (James Horan) search for the ALLSPARK. PREDAKING (Peter Mensah), who at the end of the third season was revealed to have survived his fight with MEGATRON has managed to discover a mass grave of PREDACON remains that he hopes to someday bring to life so that his race may live again. Meanwhile STARSCREAM (Steve Blum) and SHOCKWAVE (David Sobolov) seek a way to fight back against the AUTOBOTS, which includes the creation of two new PREDACONS breed in one of SHOCKWAVES hidden labs on CYBERTRON. The new PREDACONS, DARKSTEEL (Steve Blum) and SKYLYNX (Nolan North) are more brutish than PREDAKING but serve their purpose as muscle first working for the DECEPTICONS before joining forces with their king.
UNICRONS plot for revenge against his ancient rival, PRIMUS, who is the very core of CYBERTRON sees the chaos bringer use his vessel, MEGATRON (who is given an amazing upgraded body) returning him to CYBERTRON and rising an undead PREDACON army from the mass grave as discovered by PREDAKING. The AUTOBOTS scramble to save their home world with the aide of PREDAKING and his new companions as they hold off UNICRON and his horde in the hope that OPTIMUS can return in time with the ALLSPARK. The film borrows elements from IDW’s current comic book series, Robots in Disguise and More than Meets the Eye, which focus on the rebuilding of CYBERTRON and the end of the Great War that has ravaged on for millions of years.
What lets the film down is its very quick running time, which doesn’t give viewers the chance to really explore the revived CYBERTRON. It also means that there is very little time to meet any new characters, with the exception of the two new PREDACONS, but for viewers to get something new then I recommend reading the four issue limited series Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters comic book that was published before this films release. However the film manages to give the series the finale that is rightly deserved, and many fans will especially enjoy seeing STARSCREAM finally meet his demise.
The Australian DVD
Audio and picture quality remain fantastic, the 3D computer graphics remain impressive but still can’t match the quality of Beast Wars, which is still one of the best TRANSFORMERS series. Unfortunately the film is only available on DVD and misses out on all the special features that overseas releases got to enjoy.
Review written by Christopher Innis
Purchase Predacons Rising – http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/22785/transformers-prime-predacons-rising
Thanks to Ben and Rachel from MadMan for their support.