Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition Vol. #04 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Monday, October 25, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2004



What They Say
Features never before seen footage and a fresh, clean digital transfer of Robotech from the original 16mm film stock, returning the series to a lovely and near-pristine state without compromising the character of the original animation.

Fifteen years after the conclusion of the first Robotech War, the proud tradition of honor and valor begun by the crew of the SDF-1 is carried on in the first graduating class of the United Earth Forces Military Academe. So begin the new battles to save the Earth!

The Review!
After a strong opening act, the Robotech saga enters a lackluster second act.

Audio:
The English 5.1 audio track was used for my primary viewing session. The track maintains the solid audio quality seen in the previous three box sets. The action flows across the front and back soundstages giving the battle scenes a lot of energy. Dialogue, music, and sound effects are mixed well with no noticeable dropouts, distortion, or other problems.

Video:
Given the age of the source material, a solid digital transfer has been given to this set. Colors are rich and bright, but the source material does contain some grain, scratches, and other minor print defects. There were no noticeable problems from the digital transfer. Overall, the picture is clear and pleasing to the eye.

Packaging:
Two keep cases come packaged in a sturdy cardboard box; the box features Dana Sterling and Mary Angel in their flight armor on one side and Dana in her full flight armor on the other. It is a very well designed box; the images are sharp and have a metallic background that draws the eye to it. The individual cases feature the shots of Dana and Mary from the box itself; the back covers contain the requisite episode summaries and disc specifications. Inside is a one-page insert containing the front cover image on one side and an episode listing on the other.

Menu:
Clean and simple, the main menu has a piece of animation and music looping in the background. The menu options are along the right side of the screen; there are no transition delays switching between menus, and the sub-menus contain a static image and a piece of looping music.

Extras:
None; move along...

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I was fortunate to grow up when Robotech first aired on broadcast television; while the Macross saga was played numerous times through the years, the second and third saga were seldom aired. A few episodes would make to my local airwaves now and again, but the Southern Cross saga remained largely a mystery.

Having watched the original Southern Cross story, I was curious to see how it would be altered to fit the storyline created in the first Robotech arc. I did not have to wait long as the first episode pulled footage from the Macross saga and from later in the Southern Cross saga to introduce us to our protagonist.

Dana Sterling is the daughter of Max and Miria Sterling, the human and Zentradi pilot whose love helped to end the Zentradi war. Fifteen years later, Monument City has become one of the major cities on Earth, and Dana has just graduated from the military academy. All is peaceful until the mysterious Robotech Masters appear in Earth's space and destroys moon base Luna.

The Masters hover in space above Monument City with no clear indication of what they are after. Military actions fail against this strange threat though Dana manages to lead her unit to the few victories against the Masters. What the Masters are after is the last Protoculture Matrix hidden in the remains of the SDF-1. They need the matrix to revive their long dead leader Zor; only Zor possesses the knowledge to defeat the parasitic Invid that are not far behind them.

And so the epic battle rages between humanity and a superior force once again. Unfortunately, the "Masters" saga does not come close to being as entertaining as the Macross saga. None of the characters are particularly memorable and are mostly stereotypes, and the action does little to capture one's attention. Add in sub-par mecha designs, and there is little material for the audience to connect with.

You can see that the writers took great care to establish in the second arc what will happen in the third arc. The Masters frequently refer to the Invid and how they will be coming to conquer the Earth and take the Protoculture Matrix for themselves. However, the rewrite also manages to take out what little substance the original material contained.

The most important aspect lost is the fact that the Masters are using captured humans in their mecha. Instead, their mecha pilots are referred to as androids or clones. This dramatically alters a substantial portion of the plot and character motivations throughout the story and certainly not for the better. It removes the last thread of connection the audience might have with our heroes.

No longer is humanity forced to fight against their comrades; they are now only fighting against lifeless automata, reflections of humanity. What little punch the original material had is pulled by this alteration. What is left of the story just does not have enough substance to entertain; for several episodes, I found myself nodding off and not particularly concerned about this fact.

In Summary:
It is difficult to recommend this particular arc to even die-hard mecha or Robotech fans. The source material had little entertainment value, and the alterations to the plot, while possibly necessitated by the broadcast standards of the day, reduces the story to a boring, pale imitation of what came before it. Poor characters, bland mecha designs, and a lackluster plot add up to a forgettable middle act.

Features
English 5.1 Language,Spanish 5.1 Language

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 300
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Robotech