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To Paramount, Re: The Original Transformers

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Greg K, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. Greg K

    Greg K Second Unit

    Nov 6, 2001
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    Greetings, Paramount!

    Some people may think I'm crazy and foolhardy to even wonder about this, what with the fact that Rhino has already released it--but is there a possibility that the original Transformers animated series (1984-1987) and the Movie (1986) will be re-released on DVD? I understand that Paramount recently acquired the rights to The Transformers (and G.I. Joe, another series ineptly released on DVD by Rhino), and I hope things can be made right.

    The reason I ask is because Rhino's releases were less than stellar. Rhino used incomplete 35mm film masters instead of the 1" broadcast masters (what actually aired on televsion) for their DVD sets, which resulted in better picture quality, but also caused many problems. The Rhino DVDs feature episodes with incomplete animation that was *fixed* for the broadcast versions. This is the equivalent of releasing the incomplete workprint of a film on DVD and claiming it's the completed version. The improved color and detail had little to do with Rhino's "restoration". They attempted to "fix" some of the errors created by their use of the 35mm film masters, but in shoddy and inconsistent ways.

    For some examples of some of these errors and excellent reviews of the Rhino DVD sets, go here:


    There are lists and screencaps detailing all the errors out there, and I'll post them if enough interest builds in this thread.

    Also, the white lettered episode titles for many episodes had to be recreated by Rhino, resulting in "The Master Builders" becoming "The Master Builder" and "A Deceptacon Raider in King Arthur's Court" becoming "a Decepticon" (it was spelled incorrectly in the original broadcast version, but was fixed by Rhino). Also, the end titles for season one (the actual credits, not the backgrounds) come from season 2, and various episodes of the Five Faces of Darkness 5 parter have the standard season 3 intro instead of the special FFOD intro.

    Even worse is the fact that Rhino added brand-new (and awful) sound effects to the audio tracks, presumably to take advantage of the 5.1 audio track without actually having to remix the episodes. For some episodes, these new sounds are on both 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, for others, just 5.1. Eventually, Rhino began adding "original broadcast audio" tracks to the DVDs, but only for 2 out of 5 sets.

    Then there are the special features, which aren't even season-specific (or *series*-specific, as with the Neil Kaplan--from the TF: Robots In Disguise series--interview).

    Here's what a good Transformers release should be about:

    1. Historically-accurate episodes (based on 1" broadcast masters--regardless of decreased image quality--, with correct main/end titles, the misspelled "Deceptacon" episode title, commercial bumpers, histortical trailers, and recaps).

    The season 3 historical trailers should be at the end of the season 3 episodes, as they originally were (Rhino also had them as separate extras, but didn't even include *all* of them as extras!).

    2. The episodes should be in proper order (not necessarily production *or* broadcast order). On the Rhino set, even though they had knowledgeable fans consulting, they *still* had episodes in the wrong order.

    3. Original braodcast audio in both mono (as originally broadcast) and stereo...with NO ADDED SOUND EFFECTS.

    4. Complete seasons per set (none of that "Season 2, part 1", "Season 2, part 2" stuff).

    5. Extras that are season-specific (the never-aired season 2 PSAs should *not* be in a season 3 set). The original toy commericals would be nice, with the correct commercials in the corrects sets (1984 commericals in season 1 set, 1985 commericals in season 2 set, etc.).

    6. Extras that celebrate the *original* series (not RID, not Armada, and not the Botcon or OFTCC conventions). The Japanese G1 laserdsics/DVDs feature booklets with the original character model sheets for each season, and that would be *great* here.

    Fan audio commentary (people like Zobovor or Steve-O Stonebreaker would be naturals), interviews with voice cast/crew, storytboards, etc. would also be great.

    7. *Good* packaging (that doesn't feature what looks like a 5-year old's recreations of screencaps from the series), and insert booklets that don't have spelling errors and such.

    8. An efficient use of disc space (we *don't* need two versions of "The Rebirth" of one disc, one with main/end titles and recaps and one without).

    9. In the case of alternate material, such as the different audio endings for Dark Awakening, each version could be placed on a separate audio track (Rhino could have done this, but instead stuck us with the "tune in tomorrow for The Return of Optimus Prime" version...even though they had Dark Awakening in its *original aridate* spot, about 22 episodes *before* "Return"!!!!).

    The alternate main titles (such as the season 2 opener with season 3 music, used for reruns of season 2 and airings on the Sci-Fi Channel) could be included as extras.

    10. A new release of The Transformers: The Movie (possible in a matted widescreen format, as seen in theaters), with *good* extras.

    Many fans have accepted Rhino's mediocre release as is, but I think there should be higher standards (people tend to accept--and even defend--mediocrity these days). The original Transformers series deserves better. People have said "it's just a cartoon, let it go", and I think that's a bad excuse for a poor-quality release.

    It's rather ironic that a series conceived and designed in America (and animated overseas) has had better, higher-quality DVD releases in other parts of the world. Once again, Region 1 gets the shaft? The Japanese releases look pretty good, as do releases in other countries. Why not here?

    The Transformers franchise has a huge fanbase, and the current Rhino DVDs don't honor the original series very well. What with the live-action movie in the works, this would be a good time to right this wrong, and release the series in a way that would make the fans--and those who actually worked on the series and the Movie--proud. Please consider it.


    Greg K--aka "Gregatron", concerned fan.
  2. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

    Dec 24, 2001
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    I just want to support what Greg K posted. He's already posted a link to my website, which contains my reviews of the Rhino DVDs, so there really isn't anything to add that wasn't in Greg's post or on my website.

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