The Shelf: “Transformers Prime,” “The Day,” and “ParaNorman”
by Luke Y. Thompson on November 27, 2012
Welcome to the Shelf. Today we’re primed to talk about the second season of our favorite Transformers show, a great family horror film throwback, and a post-apocalyptic movie for the WWE fan set.
When last we saw the Autobots and Decepticons on Transformers Prime, Optimus had lost all memory of being who he was and instead had reverted to his pre-prime state of Orion Pax. The opening episodes of the second season start us off very strong with the Autobots having to send one of their human counterparts to Cybertron to save Optimus. The rest of the episodes keep pace nicely with strong arcs for Starscream, Optimus Prime and new addition Dreadwing, the return of MECH (the Optimus Prime doppleganger episodes are fun), and more exploration of the love/hate relationship between Optimus and Megatron. The show’s devotion to good storytelling is making this series the most compelling iteration of Transformers ever made, and I highly recommend giving it a view. The Blu-ray release features 26 epsiodes of high-definition robots-in-disguise goodness. The set even includes the amazing Optimus Prime: Up Close And Personal panel from San Diego Comic-Con International featuring Larry King interviewing Peter Cullen about his experiences voicing Optimus Prime.
Want to win copies of Transfomers Prime Season 1 & 2? Enter our Holiday Shopping Guide Giveaway and you’ll have a chance to win them and $5000 worth of other cool stuff. And the best part for you metal heads out there, three runners-up get the Blu-rays for Transformers Prime.
WWE Studios’ first acquisition – and as such, their first film not to feature a wrestler in any role – marks a significant departure from the family-friendly tone the company has tried to adopt as of late, playing like a sequel to The Road that eschews all contemplation and replaces it with more gore. Dominic Monaghan leads a group of survivors from an unspecified apocalypse to what they think is safe shelter, only to find that a local tribe is none too keen on leaving them alive. Bleached out to almost total grayness, The Day has more style than your usual kill-’em-off slasher, and leaves us wanting to know more about the world it creates. Check out our interview with Monaghan from earlier this year.
Though it was marketed in a manner that promoted its more comedic aspects, ParaNorman‘s biggest strength is that it has far more going on: It gets genuinely scary towards the end, and it does a nifty reversal in its portrayal of zombies, who turn out to be more fearful of modern rednecks than anyone is of them. Beyond that, it’s a great parable of how easy it is to marginalize and misunderstand people who seem a little different, and frankly we can’t imagine a message more likely to resonate with fans of Nerdist. It probably won’t take the animated-feature Oscar from the more family friendly Wreck-It Ralph, but it certainly deserves a fighting chance, especially among viewers who like their animated tales to push the boundaries of American acceptability just a bit. If you need any more convincing, check out our glowing review from August, as well as our interview with directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell.