Autobots losing their moral compass?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Mako Crab, Aug 24, 2010.

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  1. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    There was a discussion on the Allspark regarding whether or not the Autobots have been losing their moral compass as of late. After reading 19 pages of circular debate regarding Prime executing Demolishor in ROTF, I chimed in with this:

    Remember Paradon? Pacifist planet populated entirely by Autobots. Conquered and held by Decepticons for about a day. The Cybertron-based Autobots led by Rodimus and Ultra Magnus employ a scorched Earth mentality when they decide to destroy the entire planet rather than let it remain in Decepticon hands. Really, it showcases the Autobots inability to affect a good strategy with which to drive off a handful of Decepticons and retake the planet. But since this was Paradron, populated by Autobots, and not Earth populated by humans, Rodimus and Magnus showed little hesitation in blowing it up. Not to mention that this took place during season 3 when the Autobots ruled over Cybertron and were well supplied, while the Decepticons were in shambles much of the time. And on top of that, the Autobots appear to win most all of the skirmishes that take place on Paradron, likely because the pacifist Paradrons decided to take up arms after Sandstorm and Rodimus rallied them to defend their homeworld. Note Sandstorm's choice of words:

    Sandstorm: "It's time we fought for what we believe in: our freedom, our planet, our lives!"

    Clearly, the Paradrons are no longer content to let the Decepticons run rampant on their planet any longer and have united to drive the invaders out. The final bit of hilarity is when Galvatron orders all Decepticons to evacuate the planet, because he saw Ultra Magnus run away from a fight. He deduces that "something's wrong" and flees. If Galvatron is that easy to scare off, I'm sure it wouldn't have been too difficult to trick him into thinking they were going to blow up the planet instead of actually doing it.

    After watching Paradron vanish in a spectacular explosion, this exchange between Sandstorm and Rodimus follows:

    Sandstorm: "It's as beautiful in death as it was in life."
    Rodimus: "Well, no need to get all mushy. Cybertron's a better place anyway. Not so. . . perfect."

    Rodimus' comment always struck me as incredibly callous. Considering that it was he that made the choice to destroy Paradron (Sandstorm even tried arguing against it), with no input or consent from the population, he could at least show a little remorse. Instead he comes off as smug. Destroying Paradron was the quick and easy way out. I know this episode is supposed to highlight the need to defend what you hold precious instead of letting people walk all over you, and that message was conveyed when the Paradrons rose up and chose to fight back. Blowing up the planet afterwards doesn't add anything to the message and instead makes me wonder what the hell was going through Rodimus' mind.

    POST 2:

    I was thinking about this a little more today, and we can take it a step further. Okay, so Rodimus blew up Paradron because he didn't want the Decepticons getting hold of a new resource that would tip the balance of power. Okay. This is supposed to be a heroic act.

    Then in the Headmasters episode, "Cybertron is in Grave Danger parts 1 & 2", we see much the same situation. Vector Sigma is producing a new alloy, which will tip the balance of power even further in the Autobots' favor. Galvatron leads an all-out invasion force to Cybertron and tries claiming the planet. Rodimus rushes in with his soldiers to drive them off. So far all very similar to the Paradron incident. But then the Decepticon, Zarak (Scorponok?), comes to the conclusion that he can't chance a Decepticon loss; the new alloy would spell total defeat for them if the Autobots got it. So he enacts a plan to destroy all of Cybertron.
    Just like Sandstorm objected to Rodimus' plan to destroy Paradron, Galvatron objects to Zarak's plan to destroy Cybertron. And just like Rodimus, Zarak justifies his decision with an almost identical argument; they can't allow even the possibility that the other side might benefit from this new resource whether it's huge stockpiles of energon or a new metal alloy.

    Cybertron is destroyed as Rodimus and the Autobots look on in horror. Sad music plays in the background as our heroes grieve. Then the ultimate kicker; Rodimus decides to go find a new home for the Transformers. But not just any home. He wants to find a planet, "without war for the Transformers to settle on." What planet does that sound like? Yeah, Paradron!

    So basically, the Decepticons took the very same actions in this episode that the Autobots took in "Fight or Flee", yet this time it's portrayed as villainous despite the motivations being the same. This time we're shown the Autobots grieving over the loss of their homeworld, whereas before Rodimus told the Paradron refugees to stop their whining.

    It's really sad when the most heroic action taken during this episode belongs to Galvatron as he rushed to the center of Cybertron to try and stop the bomb that Zarak and his Headmasters had set. I didn't see Rodimus down there.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Moonscream

    Moonscream YES, We EXIST!

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    I wonder whether the more recent writers are the ones who don't have a strong moral compass, and are thus writing the Autobots more that way than previously. The whole 'badass = morally right' way of thinking. Tho I do agree that they have been portrayed at times in the past as making mistakes of very questionable morality, such as the one you point out with Paradron.

    --Moony
     
  3. Evil Porkchop

    Evil Porkchop Pork, the evil white meat

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    Well, after over 4 million years of war there are bound to be times where the Autobots do morally questionable things. Bad things happen during war, it's unavoidable.
     
  4. nemisispringer

    nemisispringer Well-Known Member

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    I think you avoiding thinking about just how much the balance of the fight would have been tipped. The morality behind destroying a planet that would let the decepticons take over the galaxy is not really questionable. However the point was the decepticons had prepared very powerful defenses and weapons ready to be used, the only way to win against them was to go the terrorist route of destroying the planet therfore depleting the decepticons resources so they couldnt take over the galaxy. Also digging up a headmasters episode i mean they werent put together well at all. At the end of the day you really cant argue that the movie holds pretty much any morals the killing of demolishor and prime shaking off jetfires parts without a remark at the end of the film are just immoral acts that it shouldnt be in primes character to make.

    When sandstorm is talking about what the paradronians beleive in and he says "our planet" what he means is what beleifs center around paradron and how they want it to be remembered in death as well as what it was like in life its better paradron is remembered as a haven than as a decepticon warworld that conquered the galaxy.

    The paradrons are fighting for the honour of there planet there freedom from the decepticons and there own lives. Magnus running away puts galvatron on edge becauce he wouldnt normally run from a fight with galvatron and also if you actually watch the episode the decepticons dont leave untill the planet actually starts exploding.

    Also i think rodimus was making a joke at the cybertronians expense its called sarcasm
     
  5. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    I think this is a very Hollywood-like thing. See the A-Team movie and the treatment of B.A.'s "I don't kill" attitude.

    Or the Tim Burton Batman movies.

    Or even Batman in "Batman Begins". Despite refusing to actively kill, he certainly has no qualms leaving is opponents to their deaths.


    It seems that Hollywood writers have a huge problem writing "heroic" characters who don't finish off their opponents in classic Wild West style.
     
  6. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    it just depends on the fiction. we've seen in TFA how mercy is still valued by sparing megs. but yeah, i was rewatching prime in ROTF, 'give me your face!' is pretty harsh in the context of transformers lore.
     
  7. MyTea Boc

    MyTea Boc Beardy Boyo!

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    Its been touched on in IDW - the whole idea of 'acceptable losses' - that in the ongoing war with the decepticons, the autobots have come around to the idea that they can't always save everyone, and sometimes they have to let people or entire planets go to face the bigger threat.

    I thought it was most apparent in Escalation when prime said they shouldn't get too close to the humans because they might not be able to save them, and then more or less abandoning the planet and sunstreaker at the end of desvestation.

    Then the AHM and ongoing series have seen them try to be me moral about how they conduct themselves. Again, like insisting on staying on earth to protect the planet, even though the humans don't want them there, and autobots have been captured killed.

    And Impactors story in LSotW was a great morality tail showing what happens when an autobot goes too far.

    Ultimately the autobots are fighting a war, and its good to see that sometimes they're forced to make decisions that have no clear moral outcome or heroic victory.

    Would be boring if they were always paragons of virtue.
     
  8. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    For me, I've mainly had more issues with Bayverse Prime being this way, since he has been more of the "moral center" of the Transformers, especially in G1. However, it's a bit odd discussing with with Prime vs. cannon fodder, but he still showed compassion towards Megatron, "his brother". Bonecrusher, Demolisher #1, "Grindor", and the Fallen, Prime pretty much has no remorse whatsoever with. This whole topic is mainly a movie discussion for me, and it's pretty messy, I think, in regards to Prime being "noble", etc., yet being the way he's portrayed. It's just unsettling with him and his character.

    As far as the rest of the Transformers, I've always seen them with one huge flaw or another, at least enough to make them consider killing another. Many Autobots have to learn the value of ALL life, not just the ones like themselves. Other Autobots have to even learn how to value others like themselves, let alone life of other species. One the same side of the coin, the Decepticons can be found learning some of these same lessons, even if in twisted ways.

    I think the Paradron example goes to show how flawed of a leader Rodimus was. His statement was very callous and even showed the personality of Hot Rod still shining through.

    I'd also agree with Nevermore on this issue, but that doesn't make it any less of an issue for me.
     
  9. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    The Autobots have gotten sick of the war and the Decepticons so they decided to get a bit more nastier.


    I mean in Beast Wars Rattrap was pretty rascist to Dinobot and most other Predacons and the fact that Pax-Cybertronia opresses the Predacons is one example of the loss of moral compass.

    In Cybertron in the episode Ambush, Optimus Prime, Metroplex and some other Autbots, Continue to repeatley runover Ransack and Crumplezone just like roadkill.

    Many of you guys have already ROTF, but in Tf1 Ironhide wanted to "terminate" Sam's Parents, plus Skids and Mudflap......'nuff said.

    And Animated Sentinel Prime, The biggest dick in all of Transformers media.......next to Galloway.
     
  10. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm OriginalRotorstorm Fanboy

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    I think a certain character summed up in his spotlight
    It's a simple fact that in war that lasts morals slowly edge away as those in charge look for ways to end it.

    Doesn't mean I approve of the 'give me your face!' attitude, these are supposed to be our heroes, those we look up to, when the enemy is scared and simply hiding and running for their lives as in ROTF, who is really the bad guy?

    (I mighthave to start reading the micromasters series again actually, seems to me it might address this issue)
     
  11. Kungfu Dinobot

    Kungfu Dinobot Well-Known Member

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    Drift, is a poor choice for a quote. If anything, the Autobots in the IDWverse are becoming more moralistic ever since the war begun, from some upperclass assholes to the defenders of the galaxy.
     
  12. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    yeeeeah I really don't think the fiction has anywhere near enough thought put in to it to ever justify this kind of debate.
     
  13. Fit For natalie

    Fit For natalie tfwiki nerd

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    I don't think that is supposed to be taken seriously. There's bits in this episode that are supposed to be humourous, like the weird grin Sandstorm has when he suggests using the escape pods, like he's been waiting his whole life to try them out. Then there's this:

    Ultra Magnus: "I've never seen anything this beautiful in the entire galaxy.... All right, give me the bomb."


    Also, it's just a kid's cartoon, dudes.
     
  14. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    Yeah, a lot of it is revionist crap that fanfic writers attach to it to give meaning when the original writers never had that kinda foresight. Carbombya. Srsly guys.

    If anything i associate s3's deviation from s1 n 2 formula is the same reason hasbro/marvel gave more leeway to furman in later run of the comics: that marketing wasnt pushing their agenda like they did with uncle bob so furman/writers had a lot more wiggle room in terms of direction.

    Thats just my theory of course.
     
  15. UKBrawn

    UKBrawn No arms just CLAWS!!

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    If you mean Autobots as an ongoing franchise, with lumping G1 and Bayverse together. I think those particular G1 episodes can be attributed to quick writing and not that much thought.
    However, with ROTF I think its is more part of how society has changed since the early 80s, good guys who kill are more accepted now and kids grow up killing things with good guy characters everyday on computer games (Things that actually look realistic and not just 8 bit sprites). Most people are getting more and more desensitized and Autobot Transformers are simply following that. You only have to look at how popular War For Cybertron (a killing game) is compared to the Armada game (a primarily exploration game) or Last stand of the Wreckers is compared to the rest of IDW.

    There are NO morals in ROTF, why should we expect their to be, it is written as a blockbuster action movie by an action movie director. Everything is sharp and mean, the Matrix is stabbed into Prime, Bumblebee rips out Spines, it is a very violent movie with respect to the "good guys". I think most people can agree that ROTF is not a great dramatic movie, there is little characterisation and does anyone feel empathy towards the Autobots? It needs to rely on action to get it through. They can get away with it because it is robots. I don't know of any kids movie that is that Violent from 25 years ago. Except for maybe Watership down, that scared the shit out of me haha.

    Everything is tending to be darker and realistic these days and sadly that includes our good guys. You can argue it is more like real life, but from where Autobots started as unrealistic perfect moral role models for kids with very few flaws to where they are now?
    I'd say pretty much in every media aspect of the current fiction, that compass is completely screwed, with maybe animated as the exception.
     
  16. Omnius

    Omnius Well-Known Member

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    Many of the posts in this thread prove that people read far too much into the writing process of an 80s kids' cartoon. Subtle character nuances simply didn't enter the heads of the folks sitting at typewriters circa 1986.
     
  17. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    The difference between good guys and bad guys these days seems to be what banner you are fighting under or what faction logo you wear. Somehow it's okay for the good guys to do the most horrible things just as long as they are doing it to the bad guys.

    Once in a while you will get writers who explore the gray areas between good and evil, or who still try to make the good guys into something to emulate. But it's mostly about who can make the grittiest hero with the highest kill count.

    Just tough these days to find someone like Primal who could be the strong moral center while still being tough as nails and a great fighter. Really sort of miss having a leader like that who has to keep his good guys on the moral ground when his troops don't always want to act like good guys. The struggle about doing the right thing was always good episodes on Justice League, but few writers what to go there any more.
     
  18. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    And look at Primal´s moral compass. Were it got him. Cybertron enslaved, the Maximals on the run, caused the death of his old friend Rhinox.. See were am I going with this?

    It´s good to have beliefs sure, but the moment people start dying because of your beliefs, that makes you as bad as the villains.
     
  19. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    There is no way that you can derive any validity of the history to an 80s cartoon series. There are external (re: creative, social, cultural) forces that will create any tone of the various Transformers and to try to link them internally will ultimately become a lesson in futility.

    That being said it can be fun as long as nobody takes it too serious...

    This is the internet, what can go wrong?
     
  20. Wheeljack_Prime

    Wheeljack_Prime Don't eat me

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    Exactly. Don't let your heart override your brain.
     
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