A comparison to the G1 source material

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by QLRformer, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    The first film was a fairly original piece, keeping to the basic Autobot-Decepticon war and the main cast from G1, and creating a distinct new mythology: brothers who fought each other, the Allspark/Underbase concept that started the war, and Megatron having crashed on Earth and kept in cold storage by the humans.
    The second and third films, however, hold distinct homages to other G1 features: ROTF bears a distinct homage to TFTM, and DOTM was majorly inspired by two G1 episodes (MEGATRON’S MASTER PLAN, and THE ULTIMATE DOOM).

    How do they compare? Or should there even be comparison? Well, G1 is held in high regard to the point that much of the TFilms were inspired by that verse, so some comparisons will inevitably be made. And comparison is just looking at different/similar concepts and explaining which one in your opinion was done better



    With ROTF, there were distinct homages to TFTM:
    - Megatron is rejuvenated. While this was his “Galvatron” phase and has been done before, it was a necessary move considering he met his end in the first film. And even though he was more an apprentice/lieutenant, he did more in this film than in the other two films.

    - Optimus is slain, and resurrected... again. The Optimus martyr stuff has been done to death, and while it always works (and worked well here, with him being the last Prime) I can’t really say I was too taken by it.

    - Wheelie, Arcee and an old-timer make their appearances. Didn’t like Wheelie (who likes a leg-humper?), didn’t know Arcee well enough to like/dislike her (though her unicycle mode was awesome), but the glory of Jetfire is ETERNAL!

    - A giant robot unleashes a vortex weapon. Devastator is no Unicron, but sans his wrecking balls (obviously) he is pretty awesome on his own.

    - The consequent battle the aforesaid robot takes part in is awesome on both counts (Unicron vs Dinobots, Twins vs Devastator). My respect for the Twins rose on seeing them fight that thing despite it being clearly bigger and stronger than them.

    - The Matrix of Leadership. From being a major talisman in , it was devolved into a key to activating a doomsday machine. But to be fair, it was still a tool used by the Dynasty of Primes, and in the Robot Heaven scene it appears they transferred their lifeforce into that thing to revive Sam and power it. So, on the whole, still cool.

    - An ancient enemy is the main antagonist. The Fallen, portrayed as a Cybertronian forefather, had great potential, but I have to admit he was definitely under-utilized as a villain. He needed to have more action: show him bringing darkness and storms and stuff, something apocalyptic as he was described to be.



    With DOTM, the major source material was two G1 episodes: MEGATRON’S MASTER PLAN (the Autobots are forced into exile with the cooperation of Decepticon humans) and THE ULTIMATE DOOM (the Decepticons link a space bridge to Cybertron, bringing their home to Earth so that it will be rebuilt by the humans). Also employed to a minor level was CITY OF STEEL (the Decepticons seal off a metropolis) and TRIPLE TAKEOVER (Megatron gets deposed, and is tricked into beating down his own collaborators).

    The best part of the film was the space bridge concept: Sentinel Prime makes for a fantastic gray-shaded villain: his intention is to restore his own homeworld, even at the cost of another world and its lives. In the film, as in G1, Optimus faced a choice of which of his two homes to save, and he put Earth before Cybertron (even if their old home could be revived, he was not going to do it the cost of others). It made for an interesting concept at the DC invasion, and the best part of the film was the dialogue between Optimus and Sentinel.
    My only problems with it are:
    - The link to Cybertron could have been utilized as an entry point for OTHER Cybertronians on Earth (e.g. the pillars link to Cybertron for the invasion instead of to the Moon). Cyberton was described as a barren wasteland, but had there been other Transformers, notably Autobots, who enter the fight from the bridge it would have made for a fantastic battle (“it’s our fight now”, indeed).
    - So Cyberton reaches Earth. Then what? How are the Decepticons going to rebuild a planet with 7 billion slaves, without the previous film’s AllSpark/Solar Harvester? Does Cybertron even have the capability of sustaining humans (atmosphere, arable land, etc). But then, it doesn’t look like Cybertron was held in high value: all that mattered was having slaves to lord it over, and work them to death for the nigh-impossible goal of restoring it.
    - Its destruction. MBay just didn’t have anything less to blow up on Earth, so he went for blowing up a whole planet, regardless of whether there was still living beings on it.

    The latter two concepts were also good to a point. Sealing off the city was a splendidly dark moment, showing the Decepticons slaughtering their own slaves.
    And the usurped Megatron who strikes back in the climax was great (the look on his face at being called “Sentinel’s bitch” is epic), but it needed more time for development; it would have been better off had he lived in the end.

    The Decepticon human concept is my least favourite concept of DOTM. It formed way too forced a retcon in my opinion: Soundwave could have started recruiting humans in the two years since he’d arrived at Earth, but instead they had him set up his network in the 1970s with supporting fiction few know about. In the end, it established him as yet another car-Con (whom Bee of all bots kills) and gave him most of his action offscreen, which is more than Soundwave deserves.
    Dylan is the movieverse version of Shawn Berger: a parallel of Sam Witwicky, he is in too deep with the Decepticons to back out, and too craven to go against them. A significant difference between him and Berger is that the Decepticons turned on their human representative Berger, and made him a slave himself; I think that ruthless element was lost in the film in that they let him live. The point of choosing to work with the Decepticons is that it’s a futile collaboration; in the end you are disposable and they WILL turn on you. Why Soundwave or especially Megatron didn’t kill Dylan is beyond me; it would have fit in with the themes of betrayal, and made a great parallel (Bee never gave up on Sam, but the Decepticons will kill their human collaborators even if they were still a useful resource).
    Besides, Dylan didn’t do much on his own except serve as a parallel to Sam by stealing his girl; he could have been killed earlier than he was in the film (Sam didn’t have the guts to pull that trigger).



    Verdict? The TFilms did some great stuff and did a great job at reworking some G1 elements, but on the whole some parts could have been done better.
     
  2. PrimesRule

    PrimesRule Banned

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    Excellent eye for details, another reason why I love Bayformers.
     
  3. Overlord Balder

    Overlord Balder Voices Slugslinger!

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    I think the idea was humans taking resources from EARTH then shipping those resources to Cybertron, after all, they never said they needed the humans on Cybertron, they just said they needed human slaves.

    There weren't. All three movies make painfully obvious the planet is nothing but a barren wasteland with nothing on it [Optimus flat-out says so three times in the franchise]. Even when we actually briefly see the planet's surface on DOTM, there's not a single damn thing alive to be seen.

    And, of course, the planet is probably still there. Only with a considerable part of it missing [since we only saw half of it collapsing].

    Mostly because they had no precise reason to kill him off, they had bigger problems after all [the whole "conquer the world" thing]. It's pragmatism, not mercy.

    He actually served as a parallel to Sam in everything, Sam spent the entire franchise fighting for the good of his race and the Cybertronians no matter how ridiculousy against him the odds were [see Sam, there's a giant murderous robot demanding you to give him the Cube...], Dylan did the exact opposite, selling out his own race to the Decepticons. Sam is an awkward young adult who has very weak nerves, yet is couragoeus, Dylan is a smooth rich guy who is one Hell of a coward in the end of all, Sam puts morality in the first place, Dylan is extremely pragmatic, and so forth.

    And Sam didn't pull the trigger for two reasons: He wanted Carly, Dylan can't tell him that if he's dead, and Laserbeak very quickly interrupted Sam's badass moment.
     
  4. QLRformer

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    "I think the idea was humans taking resources from EARTH then shipping those resources to Cybertron, after all, they never said they needed the humans on Cybertron, they just said they needed human slaves."
    No Dylan said they couldn't rebuild without a slave labour force, that Earth's human race was the resource they needed.

    "And, of course, the planet is probably still there."
    I don't know, I hope so.

    "It's pragmatism, not mercy."
    Since when where Decepticons so practical? They charge around with a "kill em all" mentality, they said Dylan was safe but he didn't have anything to offer them beyond a future role that they could get someone else for (Dylan was not the only Decepticon human as that party showed). I stand by what I say: it would have looked better if one of the Decepticons shot Dylan, him screaming he was on their side and that they said he was safe, to no avail...
     
  5. Overlord Balder

    Overlord Balder Voices Slugslinger!

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    ...Which changes nothing in what I said.

    Yes, but not at the time, at the time they had to transport Cybertron from millions of lightyears away to here and fend off Earth's military forces, they could kill Dylan later, they're too busy right now.

    No, but he was the only one left. Megatron ordered all others dead to cover his tracks earlier in the movie, "Time to cut the loose ends!" "Laserbeak. Kill them all.".

    It would be considerably anti-climatic, since he's Sam's evil Counterpart, having Sam kill him off was an excellent call, because we had the confrontation between their philosophies and personalities.
     
  6. QLRformer

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    Overlord Balder, I get the feeling we’re not on the same page. Perhaps I am not explaining properly. Please tell me if I am not getting my point across.

    To begin with, the plan as revealed by Dylan is to have the humans enslaved to manually rebuild Cybertron. He explains it in these statements: “They need one resource in particular, one native to Earth [humanity]. You see, they can’t rebuild without a slave labour force. How many worlds offer six billion workers?” He means enslavement, taking the human race to Cybertron so they can be forced to manually work for the Decepticons in rebuilding the world. They’re talking biblical-esque enslavement, as in where the Egyptians made the Hebrews their slaves and forced them to build stuff (seen in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and THE PRINCE OF EGYPT).

    Thirdly, you are correct that Dylan serves as Sam’s parallel; in that sort of context it fits that Dylan would steal Carly for himself, would tell his Decepticon friends to start killing their foes, and would meet his end at Sam’s hands. But on the whole, I thought the character was wasted in terms of that context: he was a mix of Tony Stark, Eddie Brock and of course Tom Lincoln from MBay’s THE ISLAND.
    The other context, where Dylan is killed by his own robot friends, would probably have been more fitting and ironic: he sold out his own world in order to stay alive at the hands of alien invaders, only to himself be slain by them. To be fair they had no reason to do so (they said he was safe, they could trust him as being too deep in with them to back out), but still it would have served as more fitting in my opinion.
    It is a key aspect of villainy to look upon your own partners as disposable and remove them: a classic example is Palpatine going to replace Anakin with Luke, having replaced Dooku with Anakin. Lex Luthor hurled his own manipulative father Lionel through a window. And so on, right back to BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, where this girl sold out the hero to a man, only to get shot as he was going to do so anyway.
    No human in my opinion deserves to boss around Megatron or Soundwave. The minute I heard him call Megatron a dick I hoped Megatron or a Decepticon would kill him. But that's my opinion, everything you've said makes sense and all we have on this point is a difference in opinion.
     
  7. Overlord Balder

    Overlord Balder Voices Slugslinger!

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    He never specified they were taking them to Cybertron. All that it was said is that they need slaves to help rebuild the world, no one gave the slightest hint of how the slaves were going to help, it's entirely possible they'd simply mine Earth's resources [as slaves] and then the Cybertronians would ship the resources to CYBERTRON where they'd be handled.

    More like Norman Osborn.

    It's not necessairly a key aspect, there is a ridiculous amount of villains that never did such [or were actually pretty loyal to their partners] and were just as threatening.

    But either way, I get all you're saying, but two things:

    - The 'Cons had already showed that aspect pretty damn well earlier in the movie when they mass-murdered every single associate they had [which includes a completely innocent mother and a even more innocent child]. The point was already hammered home.

    - All three examples had the betrayal part as an actual part of the plan, Palpatine replacing people was part of his sthick all along, Lionel was a threat to Lex and so forth. Killing these people wasn't a moment of momentarily disdain, but a key movement to achieve their goals. NOT killing them off would harm their plans.

    Dylan however, was nowhere near said importance, killing him off would accomplish exactly NOTHING in their plan. They kept him alive mostly for lazyness and because, of course, they had much bigger problems to deal with [the whole "invade the entire globe and transport a saturn-sized planet to the atmosphere"].
     

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