Transformers: Transform and Roll Out DVD Review

     July 3, 2008

Reviewed by Ben Begley


That’s my first and most important question.

Why was this even made? I guess the old cartoon wasn’t enough for kids these days, or even the various anime-esque incarnations that formed “The Unicron Trilogy.” Nope somebody had to go and make this series: “Transformers: Transform and Roll Out.” This was a show that had a short run on Cartoon Network I’ve gathered and it looks like a dummied down, poor man’s version of the original. But before I really rip into this, let’s get to the plot synopsis.

Before the main storyline kicks in there’s an expositional scene where Optimus Prime and his Autobots are wandering around space a little bored with not much to do since the evil Decepticons were defeated and chased out of the universe. It’s strange because in this set-up Optimus seems more like a winy, lame teenage version of himself. It’s as if all memory of how awesome they were in the past and all the battles they fought have been erased and now they do space janitorial work. However, things are about to change when they stumble upon the Allspark, which in Transformers lore is kind of like their afterlife encapsulated in artifact form where all Autobot life came from in the past and will come from in the future and with each Transformer that dies their knowledge is passed on to live in the Allspark. I guess it’s like Autobot Heaven in a box. So anyway, they find this Allspark and immediately the Decepticons come out of nowhere to try and capture this artifact for their own misuse and universe domination. The Autobots barely escape and crash land on our planet in Lake Erie where they hibernate for fifty years and then wake up to a new planet Earth in the 22nd Century. Now in a futuristic Detroit where humans and robots live in a symbiotic lifestyle, the Autobots find new enemies with evil humans and spend less time fighting the Decepticons. This could have formed a decent premise, but it wasn’t very well executed.

Why isn’t this very well executed? Well for starters the animation looks elementary at best. The old school 80’s cartoon looks way better, not only because it has the nostalgic feel to it, but also because Optimus Prime and Megatron look like bad asses. In this bizarre concoction they look like if you made a crappy child’s toy out of the old series, then remade a cartoon with that crappy toy in mind only made it look even worse. I’m not sure if that description makes sense, but these Transformers just look silly and childish. I can’t imagine anyone over the age of five even being able to stomach watching his or her favorite characters run around looking like this. Onto the voice acting, the characters sound just as cheesy as they look. There is a very presentational, incredibly obvious delivery to each line that makes you feel dumber while watching it.

This cartoon feels like the frustration of watching The Mighty Ducks 2, remember that film? Where the entire premise is that by not practicing for the summer this once great team now sucks again and they have to go through the exact same grueling training and cheesy underdog conquers all story verbatim. Imagine that premise only with Transformers. It’s as if the Autobots fought all these battles with the Decepticons and hung out on planet Earth and defended us, but then years passed and they forgot how to do everything. So they had to start from scratch to learn how to become heroes again. I guess this is supposed to be motivational for children and maybe there’s an incredibly overt message about finding your true potential, but come on!! This is not the Transformers I grew up on and not the Transformers future generations should grow up on. Such an awesome franchise deserves a better vehicle to “Roll” them into the new generations living rooms, this is not the one that will do that.


Two animated shorts that are just as silly as the feature.


I really don’t like this cartoon, but I’m sure there is some merit for really young kids that have no basis for comparison. Either way, be a good parent or older sibling and introduce our youth to a real cartoon and just flashback to the 80’s. The original series is on DVD, so there’s no excuse to watch this one.

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