Transformers Prime  
Darkness Rising

Released by: Shout Factory
Released: December 2011
Price: $10-12 USd/$12 Cdn

Synopsis:   Darkness Rising is the new 5-part miniseries that kicks off a new Transformers TV series and era. It first aired in November 2010 and the subsequent series premiered on The Hub in February 2011.
   Transformers Prime deepens the epic mythology of both the Autobots and Decepticons, while starting fresh for a new generation of fans. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Arcee, Ratchet, Bulkhead, and many others are back to "roll out" against Megatron's latest attempt to conquer Earth. And Megatron proves to be more powerful than ever, having acquired a rare element that allows him mastery over life itself. 'Team Prime' may be few against the Decepticon hordes, but they find increased strength via bonds forged with three human teenagers. Make no mistake, Transformers Prime delivers heavy metal action, and nail-biting suspense - but it also takes the human drama to levels as yet unseen by the franchise. (Synopsis courtesy of Shout Factory's website).

Comments:  This is an excellent production of the five part Darkness Rising story that kicked off Prime. The upcoming Season One (due March 6st) set will also have these episodes (presented in episode format while this DVD is done as a feature length production). Despite that, this is a great version to have if you have kids and need a distraction for them, for example, or if you're a completist fan and must have everything with the "Transformers" moniker on it, regardless. 
   The resolution and details on this DVD are amazing. I can see stuff I never noticed online/on TV the first time around and the picture is crisp and clear. Some websites describe this disc as "full screen" in their blurbs but that's not correct as the image is definitely in widescreen. The sound is also available in either two channel stereo sound or the much better 5.1 Surround.
   For those that demand extras (I actually prefer every DVD or BD to have at least something on it), this disc delivers with "A look at character design", "A look at set design" and "Animatic for episode 1". It's not documentary style in-depth but it is a simple and moderately interesting look at the basics of putting a complex cgi show like this together (hey, it's something, right?)

Verdict:  Highly Recommended (assuming you can't wait for the Season One set and/or want it all. If you only need one version of these episodes then I recommend passing on it and waiting for the full season, due out next month on DVD and Blu-ray).

Technical Details:

Feature length movie (106 minutes)
- Widescreen format
- 2.0 Stereo/5.1 Surround Sound
Contains bonus features:
- A look at character design
- A look at set design
- Animatic for episode 1