Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 at 8:31pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
We've been talking and talking about this Hero Factory TV show, and you can expect us to keep on talking about it. We're going to do more than that, however. The show has begun airing in Germany, and Forum Mentor Gatanui was able to watch and record it. Now, he's sharing his thoughts (and some pictures) of the show with BZPower. Read on to see what it's all about!
So here we go with the review of the very first episode of the HERO FACTORY TV series.
Although the plot is basically not very different from the one of the first exclusive comic "Trials of Furno", there are a few differences, which I will briefly sum up in the review. If you have not read the comic yet, I encourage you to do so to understand this part of the review.
The plot in the first part is not only centered on the happenings on Almaak 9, but we do also get an insight to HERO FACTORY's mission managing central, where we meet Zib, Quadal and Lucy, Akiyama Makuro (!) as well as Surge and Breez as they are condemned to helplessly watch the fight between the Alpha team and the bad guys of this episode, which happen to be Rotor and Xplode.
Also in the further course of the plot, there are differences from the comic. For example, the training sphere does not quite look like the one we see in the comic, and the final scene of the comic does not take place at dawn in the TV series, but rather at night. Furthermore, it is Xplode who "torches down Furno's Hero Pod" in the comic, while in the series it is Rotor. These are just a few examples of minor differences, along with many conversations inside the HERO FACTORY we did not see in the comic.
Voice acting and characters:
I am very satisfied with this aspect of the series. The voice actors have done a good job, at least in the German version, but I don't think the voice acting in the English version will be much different from German version, considering how many outstanding voice actors have participated in the making of the series.
The characters are not too deeply developed besides Stormer and Furno, sadly, but it's bearable. Breez' voice actress seems to be the one of Kiina, Surge's voice actor the one from Berix, and Xplode sounds like Strakk. I guess you all expected this. Rotor was really AWESOME. I don't think we ever had a character with such an advanced facial expression. He sounds and acts quite insanely, but it is very fitting to him. Oh, and with so many characters I have almost forgot to mention Furno, who is the star of the series after all. It's unnecessary to say how cool Furno looks and acts, but there is one more remarkable aspect I want to mention: Surprisingly, Furno has retractable elements on his helmet too, in non-battle-mode somehow reminding me of Ernie from Sesame Street. I suppose it is because of the wide mouth. :P
Conversations and humor:
The conversations are simple, as the series is targeted at six- to ten-year-olds, but not very cheesy. There is no Kiina-scream, which is certainly a relief for many, and there is no Breez-Surge-theater like the one we had with Kiina and Berix at the end of TLR. Unfortunately, there are a few cheesy phrases like: "It's time for plan B!", plus there is a strange laughter at the end of the chapter, but nothing that makes you turn away disgusted. In fact, I tend to think that some of the cheesy aspects are rather childish than cheesy, but are interpreted by us older or more mature fans as cheesy.
As far as humor is concerned: There were no parts where I burst out in laughter, even though I think that is not the style of LEGO humor anyway, but there were certain parts which made me smile, for example as Stringer tells Bulk not to take cover behind a crate of C-4000 explosives which "could knock the whole planet out of orbit". Or this dialogue between Stormer and Surge:
"Can I ask what sort of obstacles we can expect on this mission?"
"Sure, you can ask."
There were two things I could almost not believe: while they did not say 'weapon' at one point, but 'special tool' (I am not sure if they will say 'weapon' in the English version, though), Xplode did say a commonly used insult which is filtered on BZPower and Rotor used a German expression meaning something like "are you kidding me?" which is not gladly heard and which I really would not have expected from LEGO. Did QA sleep at that point? I don't really understand why they filter a word from a song distributed on BIONICLE.com, but instead do not do so with a word distributed on TV. Well, weird things happen and it does not detract from the actual movie, so let's just sleep over it.
I think the animation quality is like in TLR, although the style is a bit different, more cartoonish, which is not necessarily disappointing, taking into consideration that this is a TV series. I don't know whether this gives you a rough idea about the animation style, but in my opinion it is very similar to the style of "Metus' Revenge." What really disappointed me, though, was the simplicity of the Makuhero City scenery, which could have been mistaken for concept art pictures, which was in fact the case. To clarify: Those pictures from HEROFACTORY.com are not concept art as we all believed, but they are direct screenshots from the movie. So if you wish a detailed scenery picture of Makuhero City, I recommend you to better check the images on HEROFACTORY.LEGO.com.
I think there is one more aspect to mention here, namely the rotating axles. For all those who did not like them: You are on the lucky side, because I could not see any in this chapter.
In this aspect, Threshold Animation Studios have improved much since TLR. Unlike in the latter, we don't hear the same theme over and over again, but have different themes for different locations and situations. I must admit the music was quite good for a TV series, although it was certainly not as good as the soundtracks from the first three movies under direction of Nathan Furst. In fact, there is not an actual soundtrack, and I think this is not necessary taking into consideration it is just a TV series.
Please watch the series if you can. Not only because it is enjoyable, not only because it is not unbearably cheesy, but also for the simple fact that this is the first LEGO TV series EVER! That means that if enough people watch it, it could happen again and not only with HERO FACTORY. And who does not want that? HERO FACTORY fans are certainly going to enjoy this, but never forget who you really are: Heroes... sorry, I meant: never forget who this has been made for: children! Always take that into consideration if there comes a part you don't like too much. If it is a consolation to you: There were no parts where you blush and check if someone is seeing you watch it.
This is what you have been waiting for: pictures! Please excuse if the quality of the screenshots is not that high, as I had to use analog connection in order to record. Yet I hope they are good enough for you to enjoy and to give you a good preview of what awaits you in the series. This is where we finish our review. Check the Talkback regularly for exclusive clips! And look forward to the next review in a week!
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