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View Full Version : Reflections on Beast Machines [SPOILERS, duh...]


Gutsman Heavy
13th January 2008, 09:37 PM
I having just finished Beast Machines I can see how it pissed off so many:
Nightscream (*shudder*)
Megatron's sudden anti-beast mode agenda (I swear he used to love his beast modes, especially the dragon...)
Cranky pants Silverbolt
I can also see how the ending rubbed a few the wrong way...

oh and of course the whole techno-organic angle.

I'll get this out of the way (light the torches and get out those pitchforks!) I like the techno-organic stuff, it seemed a logical evolution of the beast modes
.
1. Basic, organic beast mode, 100% robot on the inside, then
2. Transmetal, robotic beast mode, more organic bot mode, then
3. Transmetal 2, organic and robotic influence on both modes, and finally
4. Beast Machines techno-organic bot and beasts.

hell even pretenders (G1) seem to foreshadow the organic end to some extent. (In the IDW-verse anyway)

The show had its issues, pacing, the always on the run stuff can get boring, and the new cast were mostly lacking in character, Vehicons boring... untill Rhinox came back, sure he came back evil, but as if he wasn't already! He made on hell of a predacon! (http://transformers.wikia.com/wiki/Dark_Designs) and explosive fart attacks (http://transformers.wikia.com/wiki/The_Low_Road) are against the rules of war!

the biggest design flaw was that the beast modes and the bot modes didn't even look like they transformed into each other and the toys suffered massively due to that.

but there was some good that came out of it, Savage/Noble was an interesting concept, being a 100% organic transformer. It also cements BW Megatron as the greatest villain in the Transformers G1 continuity family, he enslaves the whole of cybertron! If that don't get you bad-ass points nothing will!

Overall not the greatest series, nothing on the G1 or Beast Wars series, but a mostly satisfying conclusion to the G1 continuity family.

kup
13th January 2008, 10:29 PM
I have said my bit on Beast Machines on another thread.

All that I will say here is that its a good series but it pissed me off to no end as a Transformers series and a continuation to Beast Wars.
________
HONDA CM91 (http://www.cyclechaos.com/wiki/Honda_CM91)

GoktimusPrime
13th January 2008, 10:56 PM
Nightscream (*shudder*)
I don't really have a problem with Nightscream.

Megatron's sudden anti-beast mode agenda (I swear he used to love his beast modes, especially the dragon...)
Yeah... Megatron is an example of one of the characters who developed/evolved along an illogical path in transition between Beast Wars and Beast Machines. Essentially, BM Megatron is an entirely different character from BW Megatron. Aside from BM Megatron's sudden hatred for organics, there's also his saviour complex. BW Megatron admitted that he was evil and revelled in his villainy. BM Megatron on the other hand sees himself as Cybertron's saviour and sees the Vehicon cause as being a just one for the greater good of Cybertron and all Transformers.

Cranky pants Silverbolt
BM Silverbolt is teh emo. And yeah, it sucks. Even his voice actor reckoned it sucked - he seriously needed to build a space bridge and get over it.
I can also see how the ending rubbed a few the wrong way...
The inherent problem with the ending is that it boxes the whole G1/G2/BW/BM continuity into a corner. Unless you're willing to continue the whole technorganic story, how else are you going to continue from that? You could undo it and revert Cybertron to being technological again... but that would render the entire Maximal cause and Optimus Primal's sacrifice meaningless. (-_-) It might be possible to somehow try to revert Cybertron to being technological whilst still justifying the Maximal's cause and Primal's sacrifice - but it wouldn't be easy. It's a lot easier just to reboot a new continuity.

The basic notion of technorganicism isn't fundamentally a bad one... the main problem is that the ending with Cybertron being a technorganic world (which was an inevitable ending really) just leaves future writers with no real options to go from there. In fact, Transformers Universe, which ran concurrently with Beast Machines and continued after the show ended, took the story off-world after the ending of BM!

http://www.bwtf.com/cbreviews/universe/1/autobots.jpg
"Nice garden... let's get outta here!"

i_amtrunks
14th January 2008, 09:18 AM
It had it's flaws, and weak characters. I could handle that.

The changes to established characters (as others have already mentioned) is what drove me bonkers, Megatron's changes could be from a long flight being exposed to Transwarp and all other kinds of radiation, but the others?

Animation and modelling was good, but the show was always a touch too dark, I had to turn up the brightness to see much of the series properly.

The writers did back themselves into a corner, and I agree with Gok 100% it is just easier to start from scratch with new series rather than work around BM's ending.

roller
14th January 2008, 10:11 AM
nightscream was dead annoying

as for Megaton, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh brilliant tingly brilliant


rhinox/tankor- awesomness "Organics do not belong on this planet!!!" "You the maximals and even megatron himself are destined to failure!!!"


As for the ending, they had to do something radical like turn it into an organic planet, because, at the start of g1 and g2 the narrator says the transformers are "not life as we know today" thus that means that the tfs are/were destined to become some weird lifeform. Yeah thats right and you know it!


Universe is the sequel to BM

i heard news that they may revive the Transtech designs

GoktimusPrime
14th January 2008, 06:14 PM
Some characters were followed on well from BW, whilst others weren't.

In my opinion, ones which were followed on badly were...

Megatron: As mentioned before, entirely different character in BM than he was in BW. Still a cool villain, but just not the same Megatron!

Rhinox/Tankor: WTF? He was momentarily evil in Beast Wars because he was reprogrammed by Predacons. I could understand Tankor and Jetstorm being evil under Vehicon "brainwashing"/reprogramming - but after Rhinox's full free will and natural persona was restored, he continued deciding to be a bad guy and more importantly, that the Vehicon cause was right. BUH?! Since when? Rhinox's hatred toward organics is as illogically formed as Megatron's as neither of them ever displayed any disdain toward organics in BW. And making Rhinox so aggressive, hostile and megalomaniacal was entirely out of character for him... where did all that come from?! (o_O)

Rattrap: Again, I found BM Rattrap to be a very different character from BW Rattrap. It was as if BM Rattrap had suddenly been given Cheetor's BW Season 1 persona in terms of being impatient, reckless and inherently insecure. Totally contrary to BW Rattrap who might have been a smart alec who consciously objected to the war, but was a loyal and very competent warrior - and when occasion called for it - commander. I didn't like how BM Rattrap went to Megatron for an upgrade because he found his robot mode restrictive... BW Rattrap would've found a way to cope with it and optimise his robot mode's capability... he was always very adaptable - such as when he managed to hack Sentinel in "A Better Mousetrap" and in "The Agenda" when his torch ran out of juice, he just transformed into rat mode and used his teeth! :D This timid whining Rattrap we see in BM is a far cry from the gung-ho MacGuyver Rattrap we saw in BW.

Characters which I thought were followed on well were...

Cheetor: I reckon his was the best character in terms of a follow on from Beast Wars. In BW Season 1, he was the kid - reckless and impulsive always trying to prove something. Season 2 he started was less impulsive/reckless but still in awe of the other Maximals as 'the kid.' Season 3 = Cyber Puberty, he was an awkward teenager, growing from a boy into a man (figuratively speaking). In Beast Machines, he was like a young adult - similar to being in your early 20s when you feel mature and capable, but nobody is willing to give you a chance because you lack experience. And when Cheetor took over from Primal, he proved himself as more than a capable leader - earning the respect of his fellow Maximals as their commander. And even after Primal resumed leadership, I found that it was interesting that Cheetor would openly challenge Primal's leadership decisions. BM Cheetor's story really is a tale of coming of age. And aside from cognitive/emotional maturity, his physical skills and prowess also peaked. In BW he just ran fast in beast mode. In BM he not only ran fast in robot and beast modes, but he could fight fast! Remember that BM came out not too long after Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace where a lot of scifi fans got really excited over what I reckon were the best light sabre duels in the entire saga (Jedi vs Maul = teh roxxors!) - and to see Cheetor fighting with his dual sabres with similar speed and ferocity (e.g.: deflecting & reflecting enemy laser blasts!) was really awesome!

Blackarachnia: BM saw her final evolution as the Maximal she was always intended to be, shedding off the last of her vestigial Predacon nuances. Again, it was a logical progression from what we saw in BW where Silverbolt slowly but surely turned Blackarachnia from evil to good... although in BW she still always carried a bit of a bad streak - which became more subdued when she became a Transmetal 2 (where she lost her Predacon Shell Program). So it was natural for her to evolve into a full goodie by BM. I also really liked how the tables were turned between her and Jetstorm/Silverbolt - in BW it was Silverbolt who rescued Blackarachnia from the "dark side" and turned her to good, and in BM it was Blackarachnia who had to do the same for Silverbolt!

Silverbolt: Okay, as much as I always complain about Silverbolt being the Maximal emo, the fact that he became that way wasn't necessarily a bad thing in terms of logical character development. As Silverbolt explained, in BW he had a strict code of honour which he lived by - but as Jetstorm Megatron stripped him of his honour and allowed the darkness in his heart to surface, show him a dark side of himself that he hated. Essentially Megatron had emotionally raped him. So it's little wonder that he would become so angry and embittered afterwards. So the fact that he became that way wasn't so bad... the bad thing is that it dragged on for too long and made the character uninteresting for most of Season 2. Had he just gotten over it after one or two eps, that'd be fine... but the fact that he dragged on about it until the very last episode... bleechh.

..and characters which I didn't think were good or bad progressions from BW...

Optimus Primal: Meh... okay, he's all upset because he blames himself for losing the Beast Wars and allowing Megatron to enslave and conquer Cybertron. I can understand him being riddled with that kind of guilt and having it emotionally overwhelm him - the same thing happened to Optimus Prime in G1 who was occasionally overwhelmed by the guilt of bringing the Transformers' war to Earth. But the difference is that, for the most part, Prime didn't allow this guilt to overwhelm his judgement as Autobot commander whereas Primal more often did, driving him to religious fanaticism and nearly causing the destruction of Cybertron!! :/

Thrust/Waspinator: I liked how Waspinator decided to actively maintain his Thrust persona even though he didn't have too! That was kewl considering how he was getting sick of being the butt of everyone's jokes at the end of BW. :) Of course, his final fate was a joke anyway, eheheheheh. :p

Universe is the sequel to BM
Kinda. Universe started off running parallel to BM - e.g.: BM Wreckers, Dinobots etc., but after the BM series finished, the Universe story continued, becoming a sequel. And as I said, in its "sequel phase" the story just moved off world!

i heard news that they may revive the Transtech designs
I think they already have - I've heard that Cybertron Ransack was based off abandoned designs for Transtech Rattrap, and of course, Ransack was repainted as pre-BW Rattrap for BotCon. ;)

http://www.bwtf.com/timelines/dawn/rattrap/rmboth.jpg

kup
14th January 2008, 06:45 PM
I agree with Gok about most of what he said in the character 'development'.

Cheetor was excellently done and his character progression believable from Beast Wars to Beast machines. As a result he is my favorite BM character.

Silverbolt was so emo that he may as well have dressed in black and tattooed tears under his eyes. The Silverbolt I knew would have felt depressed and guilty but would have endevoured to get over it for the sake of his comrades. This Silverbolt never really could and the end doesn't count because he didn't progress out of the depression but Primal actually wiped the cause of it indirectly by defeating Megatron.

Rattrap and Rhinox was what pissed me off the most and Gok covered it fairly well.

Optimus Primal becoming a new age hippy/ Religious extremist, I did not see that as logical. He basically became a religious extremist oposite on the opposite side of another, Megatron. It was very difficult to sympathize with his cause just as it would be difficult to sympathize between Muslim extremists and the Ku klux Klan. His was not a logical progression since Primal would not have carried on religiously like that. He was proud of his Cybertronian (hence Technological) heritage and would have tried to over throw Megatron to restore thing how they were original, not to push the superiority of Organic/Technorganic.

Megatron was covered by Gok fairly well. BW Megatron's aspirations were very much the same as G1 Megatron's. He wanted to rule the Predacons and conquer Cybertron. He didn't want to 'become cybertron' or change it in any radical way, he just wanted to rule it and have the Maximals in oppression just as he believed the Maximals were oppressing the Predacon population. As Gok mentioned, he felt pride of his progressing Beast modes because they granted him the power that he needed to accomplish his then goals. Beast Machines rewrote his whole agenda as if this Megatron had come from a parallel universe or was some sort of impostor.

BW Megatron aspired to accomplish what G1 Megatron couldn't and that is not the same character we see in BM.

With Blackarachnia I agree when it comes to logical progression but she lost much of her charm in the process.

Waspinator, no comment. Gok covered it.

I have to add the following. Beast Machines had G1 tributes throughout the show but they were terribly handled and felt forced. Many concepts such as The Oracle which was a radically different thing in concept than what we saw in G1 and the Optimus statues that we saw around had no real point in the overall story (Why was the statue holding the Golden Disc?? Didn't the people writing this show watch Beast Wars?!?). The tributes did not become important and logical within the story as in Beast Wars. They had to change the essence of G1 concepts that was taking in an important part of the story making them radically different things or the tribute was just a tiny pointless scene such as Primal talking to the Prime statue.
________
Yamaha Dt-2 (http://www.cyclechaos.com/wiki/Yamaha_DT-2)

GoktimusPrime
14th January 2008, 08:29 PM
As most of us know, Ben Yee has a pretty optimistic/positive approach to all things Transformers - but I once had a conversation with him where he pointed out a few things that he didn't like so much about Beast Machines which I agree with...

1/ Way too much running. The Maximals spent a good chunk of the first season just fleeing from Vehicons. *yaaawwwwwn*

2/ "The seeds of the future lie buried in the past." Yes we get the point, do you have to keep hammering it into our skulls?! Just STFU already! It makes the number of times they said "With great power comes great responsibility." in the Spiderman movies look good!

...I still shudder every time I accidentally trigger off my Air Attack Optimus Primal's voice chip and he says that line. :(

But on a more positive note, I do like most of the new characters introduced in this series...

+ Nightscream - I didn't mind him. He was the new awkward kid on the block and he served that purpose fine. Better than Rattrap's awkwardness which was just out of place. Nightscream was a lost kid who was - as far as he and the other Maximals in the Beast Machines cartoon were concerned - the sole survivor of the Vehicon Holocaust (the other survivors who appeared in Universe never met up with him). And before then he was probably a civilian... so I can forgive some of his inadequacies. Rattrap on the other hand is a seasoned veteran of the Beast Wars - what's his excuse?

+ Botanica - the idea of a sentient plant Transformer was very unorthodox/unconventional, but I thought it was a very cool one and kudos for effort on originality. It just really sucks how we never got a toy.

+ Diagnostic Drone - as a non-living/sentient drone and non-main support character, I thought it was pretty cool... much cooler than previous AI drones in Beast Wars (Naviko, C-Navi, D-Navi - although they were kinda cute... but I like Diagnostic Drone's "English Butler" like demeanour).
http://www.irondune.com/zaiva/Haruhi.jpg=http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/transformers/images/thumb/a/ab/NaviNeo1.jpg/250px-NaviNeo1.jpg
http://www.ddsite.com/batman_tas_alfred._th.jpg=http://www.tfbrasil.net/BM/BM_s_DDrone.jpg
In Beast Wars, the Navi-class drones all sounded like Japanese schoolgirls. In Beast Machines, the Diagnostic Drones sounded like Jeeves.

+ Obsidian & Stryka - a whole new breed of Vehicon generals who made the Maximals fertilise their technorganic garden! ;) I like how they had accents previously unused before in Anglophone Transformers animation. I also really like how Stryka wasn't overtly effeminate in any way. She didn't have buxom curvacious proportions (after all, not all male TFs have buff beefcake proportions either, why should all female TFs have to look like vixens?) - no lipstick (no lips!) and no stereotypical effeminate personality traits either... she was never a pansy and never a damsel in distress. But at the same time, she wasn't overtly macho either, they did let her touch on her feminine side (such as when she admired the beauty of the VR sim that Rattrap put her in). So she was still a 'woman' but in a very strong sense - a positive female role model! And before anyone says, "but she's an Evil Vehicon!" remember that these generals weren't really evil in terms of being immoral or amoral. They're moral characters because they're both doing what they think is the right thing to do - they're fierce patriots and they will serve and fight for Cybertron to the end. And since Megatron and the Vehicons were in charge of Cybertron, they followed the Vehicon directive as part of what they considered was their patriotic duty. Their morals may have been misguided, but they were noble nonetheless.

Noble/Savage: when Mutant Beasts first came out, I thought that they were a pretty lame concept (still do) but mostly because most of them were executed badly as toys. Poison Bite was okay, but the others were kinda lame. Noble/Savage is an example of how cool a character/toy like this can be when the concept is executed well - and extreme kudos to HasTak for actually making the toy based off the show model which I initially thought would've been absolutely impossible! He's also an interesting character (once Megatron's Spark was removed)... sure, cognitively he only functioned at the level of a dog, but as his name implies, despite being a savage wild beast, he was still very noble and honourable at heart. It's like Transformers meets the Jungle Book! ;D

Tank Drone #53: man, that drone was so cool. I loved how he looked the same as Tank Drone #12 but had the personality disposition (or lack of) of Tank Drone #38 who of course, has the same personality template (or lack of) as every other Tank Drone. :p Too bad these suckers never had Sparks or maybe they'd start developing individual personality traits like the Clones in Star Wars... but then again, that's also the reason why Megatron never gave them Sparks in the first place. :p

dirge
14th January 2008, 11:54 PM
What bothers me about Beast Machines is that it really takes the previous concept of Transformers and tries to dismantle it.

Megatron is essentially trying to bring back the G1 concept of Transformers, and Primal spends much of the series fighting this. I found myself agreeing with Megatron - which isn't the writers' intention. I didn't actively root for Megatron because I was aware of the fact that I'm not supposed to, but I sure didn't root for Primal either.

Yes, the storyarc's conclusion backed the entire continuity into a corner, but more than that it stripped away the whole Robots in Disguise premise and left us with nothing but morphing aliens. SPOILERS I actually prefer the ultimate fate of Cybertron in Headmasters where the entire planet blew up END SPOILERS. At least the Transformers are still Transformers in the end of that storyline.

Yes we see radical changes in the characters, and while some of those changes don't really justify themselves, I'm more annoyed that, as a Transformers series, I can't be happy with it when I find myself agreeing with the guy called Megatron - the character who is by definition meant to be evil.

The writers really didn't pay respect to the lore that came before. We lose the Robots in Disguise, we lose the two landmark characters of Primal & Megatron, the G1 references were oblique and didn't always match up with the G1 concept, nor the references in Beast Wars. Even the history of the stories we saw in that series were largely disgarded...

SPOILERS
There's no Vok, no Unicron agenda, Earth is now completely irrelevant, no mention of Dinobot's sacrifice - or even his existence IIRC.
END SPOILERS

... While Beast Wars made a specific attempt to pay respect to G1, Beast Machines just did whatever the hell it wanted with the lore that had come before it.

Tiby
15th January 2008, 09:09 AM
I really, really enjoyed Beast Machines. The dark animation is a pleasant change!

As for the characterisations, don't forget that all of the survivors of the Beast Wars were infected by Megatron's virus, which has been portrayed as very serious. I understood this to have been the reason for many of their changes, and a very traumatic change at that. Based on this, I see not problems with Rattrap's change. Also, Silverbolt was ripped out and put into a Vehicon - further messing him up.

As for Megatron, there is some disparity in the time passed - I got the feeling the Maximals had been "unconcious" for some time - giving Megatron an opportunity to further his apocalytpic plans (which he started in BW with the golden disks).

As for continuity, there is heaps of time to cover before BW, including before or during G1. I have no problem with the result in Beast Machines and think it is a very mature outcome, much deeper and symbolic than the endless search for energon in G1, or the random acts of interstellar violence in the post-1986 G1 movie.

Now I will willingly be led to the stake for burning ;)

GoktimusPrime
15th January 2008, 09:44 AM
nor the references in Beast Wars. Even the history of the stories we saw in that series were largely disgarded...
That was actually Hasbro's decision, so the writers had no choice but to disregard it.

dirge
15th January 2008, 06:51 PM
That was actually Hasbro's decision, so the writers had no choice but to disregard it.

As a viewer, and transfans, it makes no difference to me. The end result is still the same. FWIW, I hold Hasbro responsible for the misstep I consider BM to be - not the writers, who were being paid to to Hasbro's dirtywork.

Now, where did I put that bonfire? Tiby, do you wanna grab this large peice of wood and help me look? :D