The five-part miniseries that preceded the “Transformers Prime” computer-animated series is edited together and collected on the DVD “Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising.” Less clanky than the feature films but more mature than the original 1980s cartoons, “Darkness Rising” is a hybrid that should appeal to both younger and older, nostalgic fans.
The “Transformers Prime” series features two voices well-known for their association with the characters. Frank Welker, who voices Decepticon leader Megatron, and Peter Cullen, who voices the heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime, reprise their roles in this series. They first voiced the characters in the 1980s cartoon series, and Cullen also worked on the Michael Bay films as the voice of Optimus Prime.
Megatron leads the Decepticons, a cadre of sentient, evil alien robots who can transform into forms resembling Earth vehicles. They’re opposed by the Autobots, robots from the same planet who want to protect Earth’s inhabitants. Optimus Prime leads this group. Based on the toy line from Hasbro, the Transformers first appeared on television in a 1980s animated series and have since appeared in multiple animated incarnations and three live-action feature films.
In “Darkness Rising,” Megatron has discovered the energy source “Dark Energon,” which he uses to create robotic zombies.
Steve Blum, known for voicing Wolverine in multiple Marvel Comics projects, takes Megatron’s Lt. Starscream to a darker level than viewers have seen before from the character.
“Darkness Rising” is also more female-friendly, with Autobot Arcee and the female rocker Miko. Miko is one of the human cast members, along with computer geek Raf and the hardworking Jack Darby, who is something of this series’ Sam Witwicky stand-in.
Great battle scenes and a top-notch voice cast (including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a small role) make “Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising” a good bet for fans of action-packed animation.
— Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman