I wrote this for a post on TFans.com after watching Beast Machines on DVD. I had not really written it as a review but someone commented that it was a good review and there for I decided that I should submit it to Tformers.com. SPOILER WARNING: If you do not own Beast Machines, I strongly suggest you buy it before reading this review. The info in this review would seriously spoil your fun of watching it as the show has quite a few shock events which you really have to see for yourself rather than read here.
Reading this if you have not seen the show is like standing in the line for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back only to have Homer Simpson walk by commenting: Who would have thought Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker´s father? Just buy the show, you will not regret it. Anyways, on to my actual review.
Got the Beast Machines box set in this weekend (I know it is late, should have gotten it months ago) and I have watched nearly all the episodes and only got 5 more to go.
And it has been a long time I enjoyed a Transformers show that much.
I will have to admit, at first I did not like it when I saw it years back (from a cd-rom which did not do it justice) because of the really weird robot modes the Maximals got. They still take getting used to.
That aside nearly everything is perfect about it.
The way the show starts is AWESOME! Viewers are completely in the dark as to what happened and so are the Maximals themselves. Little by little they learn what happened and that is where the show shines.
I was so shocked to learn that Tankor was actually Rhinox! :eek And then Rhinox actually betrayed the Maximals which I still cannot believe as he was one of my favorite characters.
Of course Jetstorm being Silverbolt is quite the shocker too.
Character development is quite good. I would have liked Rattrap to have been given a leader role given his position during Beast Wars where he assumed command a few times but given his and Cheetor´s abilities in battle it made more sense to make the latter the leader.
And it works quite well as Cheetor is maturing quite a bit. He is still the hothead he used to be but not that much. And it is interesting to see his style of leadership.
I like how Rattrap is done as well. At first he is pretty down about having a `useless` robot mode which is explainable. As Ben Yee stated on his site, Rattrap was never the strongest bot but he was able to use his abilities in battle with devastating effects.
I am still impressed how he managed to blow up Ravage´s ship during Beast Wars.
It is a bit disheartening to see him being so cowardly because despite being a chronic complainer Rattrap was a bot you could count on in battle. During BW, when Megatron was in control of an alien fortress and had taken Primal captive, Rattrap was the one who went in and rescued him.
However Benson Yee compared Rattrap´s new body as to losing an arm for a human. Imagine you lost you arm in battle and were told that you had to get out there again, you would be pretty freaked
The other Maximals putting Rattrap down and considering him a risk did not help much either. One would think that they remember his heroics from the Beast Wars.
Fortunately Rattrap learns his new bod soon and gets his wits and sense of humor back. :tfgrin
Of course the main characters are Optimus and Megatron and both are different from the Beast Wars.
Optimus, obviously, is wrecked by guilt over having lost the Beast Wars and desperately wants to make things right again. He is also becoming a bit too dependant on the Oracle causing friction between him and the other Maximals.
I liked the old Primal but this new one is really cool too. And him feeling guilty shows that Transformers are sentient beings instead of mere machines which is something I really appreciate.
And his spiritual change (to call it that) might be attributed to his first vision from the Oracle. Getting a vision is pretty overwhelming indeed. Especially when one is suffering from guilt and this is the only obvious way (to Optimus) to make things right again.
Megatron is done nicely too though it is never explained why he is so anti organic though the early humans during Beast Wars did cause him to lose the Beast Wars. And aside from Scorponok and Inferno all of his troops betrayed him once which would lead to him wanting a society where he is the only sentient being.
It is interesting to see that Megatron rarely gets involved in the fighting anymore. During Beast Wars he was pretty much always on the forefront of the battlefield but in Beast Machines he prefers to let his drones do the dirty work•
Eventually he would create 3 drones of whom Jetstorm and Tankor are my favorites. There is just something about Tankor, pulverize beast bots that is cool. :tftongue And that makes it all the more shocking to learn he is actually Rhinox.
Jetstorm however is my favorite of the generals. He adds something that every show needs (and which Armada and Energon lacked) humor. For instance his introduction (and that of the other generals) is really cool.
3 drones approach and Rattrap and Blacharachina get ready for battle. Blackarachnia: 3 mindless drones? Should not be a problem. Jetstorm: Only 3 things wrong with that theory. One, we´re not mindless. Two, we´re not drones. And three, problem is my middle name!
I do not think we have had a character quite like him after BM. Heck, I do not think any of the post-BM characters are that good.
Jetstorm of course is eventually reformatted back into Silverbolt who is a little less shiny after his ordeal. And that is something I like as well. He is still noble but he is a little less romantic and more of a tough-bot, determined to end the conflict as soon as possible. He too has grown up in a way.
And though many find him annoying, I kinda like Nightscream. It is interesting to see the kid not transform into a cheetah or sports car but in a bat. He is also less rash than Cheetor (used to be) or say Hot Rod.
Naturally he is cautious of Optimus Primal´s leadership but that is simply because he barely knows Optimus. Just like a solder needs to earn his leader´s trust, the reverse applies too.
That pretty much covers the cast. Blacharachnia has not changed much though her personal quest to get Silverbolt back was a cool storyline and I did not think Thrust was all that cool. Just a typical toughbot. I liked Waspinator better. :tflaugh
The later additions are also really interesting characters. Savage/Noble is a really cool character and I was saddened to see him die. It was also intriguing to see a Transformer (or shape-shifter) without a spark.
Botanica is probably the most controversial Transformer ever. Ok, the idea of a Transforming plant is REALLY weird but it fits the show. Besides, it is different and I always like that.
The story as a whole is quite good. The Maximals are pretty much always fighting an uphill battle against impossible odds which adds a lot of tension to the story. And there are a lot of unexpected story developments as well such as Cheetor actually taking over and the identities of the Vehicon generals.
Personally I really like the use of the Oracle. It shows there is a grand design at work which is trying to restore Cybertron. It is also interesting to see how Cybetron used to be a home to other civlilzations (in the first episode one can clearly see all the different layers/civilizations as the Maximals decend into Cybertron´s core) before the Transformers.
This is also a part of the story that should not be changed/retconned. Period.
No crap about the Oracle being a Quintesson creation or anything like that. First of all, I hate the Quintessons. They are one of the reasons season 3 sucks so badly. And they did not build Optimus Prime, it was Apha Trion who did that.
And I like this spiritual side to the Transformer universe. It makes them more like the other being in the univese. They have a God/creator (Primus/Vector Sigma/the Oracle) and a devil (Unicron).
When they die they rejoin the Matrix which is their afterlife and they even have their `inferno`. This is something the current shows lack and what makes Beast Wars/Beast Machines the best Transformer show ever.
Add to that the various G1 references used in BM (which are not always used properly, I admit) and this show gets even better. One can even see Soundwave and Prowl (or robots that look just like them). It is still no BW but it is WAY ahead of anything that followed it.
Animation wise the show looks awesome although the explosions look a bit off. But the Transformers are animated excellently and I really like the faces which are full of expressions. Unlike Cybertron where the faces look a bit off.
The music as with Beast Wars is excellent. The techo music suits the show perfectly and I love it. The intro is one of my favorites.
And one of the best things about Beast Machines is of course: nu humans! :clap
The only thing about the show that I did not like much was the ending. But with a show that was one long `rollercoaster ride`, I can forgive that.
The show was new and inventive. It went into a different direction just as Beast Wars had done. It did not succeed quite as well, that is true but the effort was made.
I mean look at the shows that followed BM: Armada, Energon and Cybertron.
They all rehash old idea´s, most of which stolen from G1 or BM. And badly I might add. Starscream is a traitor (ok which is the only way I want to see him) and during Energon he is turned into a ghost. Megatron gets powered up into Galvatron.
The spark is also used but unlike BW or BM it is not a soul as such but more a tangable object. When Inferno is destroyed, his spark does not rejoin the Matrix (as it should) but Skyblast is acually able to retrieve it. Cheapens the whole concept of having a spark, as far as I am concerned.
All 3 shows also revolve around the search for the Mini-Con/Energon/Planet Key which is basically a quest for power. How original. :tdown
I am not saying the shows were bad (aside from Energon which was largely Kickers fault). Armada did get better towards the end with the excellent Unicron battles. Energon was mediocre but Cybertron is actually pretty decent. (Do keep in mind that I only saw the first Cybetron DVD so that is what I base my opinion on.)
But neither Armada or Energon is REALLY innocative or even tries to be original. Armada could have been a lot cooler if the Mini-Con concept had been handled better (like in the comics). I really liked the Transformers having a partner in battle.
Heck the synergy between Terry McInnis and Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond (to name an example) is one of the highlights of the show.
Armada could have achieved something similar but sadly this aspect was not used at all. Which is wasted potential indeed making Armada `just another` Transformers show that could have been very innovative but fails to do so.
And do not even get me started on Energon. I do not think that show had any original concepts at all. Not even the Powerlinxing is a new idea as the Multiforce Team that transforms into Landcross uses a similar combination.
Bob Skir and Marty Eisenberg tried their best to be new and innovative and I salute them for that. I also thank them for an unforgettable Transformers experience. I can only pray that Beast Machines gets its rightful successor in Transtech.
|Date||June 18th 2006|
|Score||(10 out of 10)|