Beast Wars the Second: The Movie (Review)
Beast Wars the Second is a movie length theatrical release, but the core story involving the Beast Wars the Second cast is really just a centerpiece of a larger collection. Because Beast Wars' second and third seasons were not yet ready for release in Japan, Beast Wars the Second acted as a "filler" series. However, the combination of Beast Wars and Beast Wars the Second elements in this movie show that Takara wanted to keep the CGI show fresh in the minds of fans.
For those curious, the clip montage from Beast Wars went like this:
- The end battle from "Call of the Wild".
- A bunch of scenes from "The Low Road" including the vines growing, Rattrap and Dinobot chasing Tarantulas the the "final" battle.
- The Maximals searching the Predacon ship in "Victory" to the end of that episode.
- The ending "peaceful" battle from "Before the Storm".
- The "Unicron sequence" from "Other Voices Part One".
- The sequence showing Optimus stopping the Planetbuster in "Other Voices Part Two".
- The full episode of "Bad Spark" as a preview of "Beast Wars Metals".
As a whole, this movie would not have worked with American audiences, which generally demand a full feature length story, not several stories chopped up and piled on top of a (roughly) half hour original story. But for a Japanese audience, it worked out.
The animation is a notch above that of the television series (which some regarded as fairly bland). Some of the best sequences are the giants combining and Manjin Zarak's attacks. As an original character that isn't a toy, Manjin Zarak is a frightening looking piece of Transformer technology. However, there are some bland sequences as well, especially involving Thrustol whom the animators did not seem to be able to draw nicely at any point.
The story was fairly pedestrian. The plot of "the young warrior does something wrong and the heroes come to the rescue" has been done many times in Anime. However, there are some nice touches that make the story more bearable. First off, it's very cool to see that the Transformer that Galvatron wanted to bring into the war was Megatron. Obviously Galvatron recognizes the power his predecessor represented and wanted to capitalize on that.
Those who swear they've heard the name "Zarak" before are correct. Lord Zarak was the Headmaster of the Generation One Scorponok. In the Japanese series, it also was meant as a name that evoked fear and awe, much like the powerful machine that is Manjin Zarak. Bringing in Convoy was a cool move too, but it may be confusing to some fans. In the Japanese translation of Beast Wars, the character we know as Optimus Primal was in fact, the original "Convoy" or "Optimus Prime". That is why the Cybertrons are in such awe at his presence. Also note that he says he has to return to Energois, not Earth. In the Japanese translation of Beast Wars, the war was taking place on Energois, not Earth.
This is a fun ride and definitely suited towards a target audience. If you can get this on video tape for less than $20 or so, I recommend it.