Beast Wars! First viewing with full reviews.

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by SentinelPrime, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. SentinelPrime

    SentinelPrime I NEEDED THAT!

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    Well, here we are. I’m an old school fan that was there for G1 the first time, and yet I never saw Beast Wars. I caught some of Beast Machines due to the fact that RID brought me back to TFs, and it was still running on TV. I really only know a very basic concept of the series, no details really at all other than names and something about this dang Golden Disk that seems to be causing problems.

    For some time now, I’ve wanted to sit down and watch the run of the show. A decade ago I hated the concept, but now, far detached from that era, and with perhaps the most positive long standing opinion of any TF show, I think I’m ready to properly enter the Beast Era. I recently wrapped on watching the entire G1 US run, and I’ll watch the Japanese stuff for sure, but I just got Netflix, and BW is available, so it seemed perfect.

    I was inspired by the immensely entertaining and generally witty G1 review thread by Vector Squidma.

    There’s a few guidelines I’m going to adhere to. I will remember the show came out in the mid 90s, so I will not judge it in comparison to today’s CGI. I understand this was a repackaging for kids, so I will let some things slide and not judge it too harshly for certain aspects accordingly, like yelling TERRORIZE, etc. I’ll be looking for any cool G1 references. I will not force any type of “this isn’t G1 so it sux” mentality, and if anything, the Beast setting distances it from the original more than the other shows. I will go into the series as a longstanding sci fi and animation fan, looking for a fun show and not picking it apart like an a-hole movie reviewer.

    So, now that we have established some things, let’s get started, shall we?

    The first couple of reviews may run a little long, as there’s a lot to get out of the way at the start!
     
  2. SentinelPrime

    SentinelPrime I NEEDED THAT!

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    Season 1, episode 1:
    “Beast Wars” (1 of 2)


    Our episode begins in space, in mid-combat. We experience a somewhat Star Wars-esque scene, with a small ship fleeing from a larger, well armed attacking ship.The smaller ship is really taking a beating, parts are being blown off all over the place as a crew member from the Bronx points out that It’s an exploration ship, not a battlecruiser! A very familiar, yet younger voice acknowledges this fact, but reminds the crew that it’s the only ship that could lock onto Megatron’s signal! The appearance of the characters is shrouded in shadows amid the chaos of the attack.

    We flash to the aggressor ship, where a reptilian voice says the shields are down! Destroy them! A strangely calm articulate voice responds, suggesting they have a little fun first! The smaller ship is shot down, crashing towards a nearby planet. A command is given to eject all the “pods” into the atmosphere as they crash. The smaller ship has one last trick, firing all weapons, causing the larger ship to crash as well. The scene where both ships fall to this new planet is a gorgeous scene, with two meteor like streaks slowly falling to the planet against a blue sky.

    The ships have landed on a primitive organic planet, with a both a desert and a grassy plains appearance. We switch back and forth from Maximal to Predacon, watching as each team acclimates to the new surroundings at their crash sites. Megatron demands to know if they are on the right planet. Scanners aren’t working properly, and the computer on his ship seems basically confused. Megs is thrilled that energon is present, but ambient energon levels of this primitive planet are so rich and potent that any extended exposure will even short out a Transformer causing permanent damage! So, in order to protect themselves from the supercharged environment, the Maximals and Predacons adopt alternate Beast modes that encase them in organic flesh and give them the ability to adapt to their new natural surroundings. After adopting their new appearances, we are introduced fully to the Maximals as they are comparing their new forms, we find out that the warp drive can travel time and space, so they could be anywhere, in any time, and the crew is floating around in orbit in the stasis pods, so they are outnumbered as well.

    We see a velociraptor speaking to someone offscreen. He gets increasingly more angry as he speaks, claiming this planet cannot be Earth! He begins ranting and accuses Megatron of botching the mission for the Golden Disk, which he throws to the ground, not destroying the Maximals and not even getting them to earth correctly! As Dinobot calls Megatron an idiot, we see Megatron step forth from the shadows in his terrifying new form, a T Rex, and asks Dinobot in a very controlled, calm manner “What did you call me?” Dinobot does not back down, only getting angrier! He loses it, and challenges Megatron for the leadership of the Predacons right there on the spot! However, instead of simply blasting Dinobot with his cannon, Megatron almost gets calmer, as he explains that leadership is also about cunning, and cleverness . As he is calmly talking Dinobot down, he turns slowly towards the cave, where Scorponok steps out, blasting Dinobot with a direct hit, and launching him miles into the distance in a classic anime inspired scene. Megatron orders the ‘cons out to patrol for Maximals.

    We switch to the Maximal base, where Optimus explains to Rat Trap that the Golden Disk was Cybertron’s most guarded relic and contains the location of a massive source of energon. Primal warns Rat Trap about the Great War, and if the ‘cons get too much Energon they will start it again!!! (Awesome tie in)
    Cheetor sees a pair of Cheetahs, and impulsively bolts off after them into the unknown environment, showing off his speed, as Optimus yells for him to stop. I have to say I lol’d at the cheetahs expression when Cheetor spoke to them. Of course there are ramifications for Cheetor’s impulsiveness, as he comes across Waspinator on patrol! Deducing that Waspinator is an unnatural creature, combat ensues! Once the explosions are heard across the fields, our heroes rush to the scene, in a hilarious scene.

    When the Maximals arrive, Megatron announces the Predacons have just been biding their time during this long truce, waiting for the right time to take advantage of the situation, and strike. We are given another intro for each character as well as a full transform for each: Rat Trap, a rat, Rhinox, a rhino, Optimus Primal, a gorilla, and Cheetor,a cheetah. Opposing them are Megatron, a T Rex, Scorponok, a scorpion, Waspinator, a wasp, Taranatulas, a giant Spider, and Terrorsaur, a Pterodactyl. The Predacons assault the Maximals in a full on attack!
    The inexperienced Maximals try to pull it together as the attack heats up. We see Rat Trap show cowardice and selfishness as he refuses to take part in the fight. Rhinox has other plans, and in a great, very funny moment picks up Rat Trap in one hand and uses him to provide cover fire while Primal rockets up into the sky and rescues Cheetor.

    After the Maximals escape and lose the Predacons, our heroes are riding across the plains back towards their ship having a character moment, when they stumble across the recently rejected Dinobot. He tells the Maximals he is joining their team, but as the new leader. Optimus says he’s welcome to join, but no way is going to be the leader. Dino goes into another rant like the one he unloaded on Megatron, and challenges Primal! The episode ends with the two squaring off at the bridge.

    THOUGHTS:
    I like the overall feel of sci fi. I'm happy there's direct connections to G1. I'm glad it comes across as having a true somewhat serious plot. It left a good first impression overall.

    Ok, this is the first ep, so I have to at least comment on the CGI. It’s a show from ’96, meaning it was started a couple of years prior. I think it looks pretty good! It’s a little inconsistent, with the backgrounds occasionally looking a little n64ish, and some of the movements are a little stiff, but other than that, it’s definitely good enough to not take away from my experience in any way.

    It’s odd to me that the Maximals got the dull, brown, lifeless colors while the cons got the colorful, elaborate beast modes. I’m sure this show was focus tested a million times, maybe that was to sell the ‘con toys better? He may be comedic relief, but Waspinator sure looks cool.

    When Megatron gave the first speech on the cliff, it was just like David Cross’ character in Arrested Development. It’s hilarious if you know the show.

    This Prime comes across as very aloof and relaxed. Very different than G1 Prime.

    Some of the dialogue has the unfortunate tendency to be very long winded in inappropriate situations, like some older comics. It is a little heavy with the "This is my name and here is my attack!" I know this is just the 1st episode though, so we'll see if it gets to be less like that.

    I understand why the battle cries before Transformation are there, I just hope they don’t get as irritating as I fear they might. The show starts off with appealing to a fairly wide audience. It’s aimed at kids, but doesn’t pander, and has enough decent ideas and inspired characters to make me want to check out more. The scene where the names are announced got an eye roll because it was as if they were renaming themselves. I really liked the intro scene where the appearances were shrouded in combat, that was done well. I hope to see some side effects of integrating organics into their bodies. With both G1 show continuities starting to involve small organic beings into their makeup, I can see how they ended up at this point, so I don’t feel like it’s as “weird” as I did in the 90s.

    When Dinobot was challenging Primal on the bridge at the end, I thought of Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s Tim the Wizard scene. “I challenge you for the leadership of the Maximals….what is your favorite color???”

    I know the premise itself brings up size issues, but the scale on these guys is all over the map. Then again, they aren't "hiding", so what does it matter, I suppose?

    I enjoyed this opening episode alot. Good, clean storytelling, characters with defined personalities, a dash of mystery, and a good plot so far. I like that we see the actual beginning and motivations of the new Predacon rivalry. I was surprised that there were so many G1 references! It really feels like a direct continuation and not just throwing around names like post-Unicron Trilogy. The comedy actually was pretty entertaining, I lol’d at Dinobot using the same routine on Megs and Optimus. It’s not grim and gritty adult style, but it’s not kiddy enough to prevent more viewings, either.

    As a CGI kids show from the mid 90s, I'm surprised.

    Beast Wars: Episode 1, 1996
    8/10….Yeeesssssss!
     
  3. ChopperByrne

    ChopperByrne Well-Known Member

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    I too recently watched Beast Wars/Machines all the way through for the first time.

    Numerous times previously, I tried to watch the first episode, but couldn't get past how hideous it looked.

    Once I did though, I found probably the best Transformers series there is.

    Have fun watching it and the CGI does get much better thankfully.

    Edit: Do you have all the episodes already or are you doing a Meta-Ridley and trying to get them as you go?
     
  4. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 "No Mas" My Wallet

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    excellent start. Hope to see you make it all the way.
     
  5. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper TFW2005 Supporter

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    i remember watching a few snippets of Beast Wars and for its time, i thought it kind of revolutionized the Transformers myth with their use of CGI instead of just 2D animation.

    well anyway, as i further watched some of the episodes on Youtube recently, the stories were good. but still can't get over the "MAXIMALS, MAXIMIZE! PREDACONS, TERRORIZE!" thing :lol  :lol  :lol ... it's like literally riding on the coattails of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers... and this Youtube video made by the great SMOOV team is spot on :lol 


    (WARNING: Video may contain inappropriate language and adult-oriented content. Parental discretion is advised.)

    YouTube - ANOTHER Rude Awakening of Optimus Prime

    otherwise, the Beast Wars rendition of the Transformers myth is i think pretty good imho (and they didnt stoop to the cheese factor of good guys = blue eyes, bad guys = red eyes and whether you're a good guy or a bad guy, they are a pretty diverse lot having red optics, green optics, violet optics, blue optics, etc... so you actually can buy the entire concept that they are actual diverse living beings that have emotions and feelings so all in all i pretty much like it).
     
  6. Voiceroy

    Voiceroy Trans-fo-mahs!

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    I don't think it's spoiling anything to say this, but you're going to be disappointed with that hope. It's never addressed in the series. It was a simple plot device introduced in the pilot that helped to establish why they needed beast modes, and that was it.

    The "side effects" issue was addressed in another way, later, in Beast Machines.

    Enjoyed your review though. I didn't like BW either when I first saw it. Although as an animation fan I did like the show's design and animation (it was "cutting edge" for it's time), but as a "Transformers" series it was too different from G1 and I dismissed it outright. It wasn't until late in season two that I was persuaded by my brother and other TF fans to give it another shot after the G1 continuity became a solid part of the story arc. And it ended up becoming more entertaining and epic to me than G1 was.

    SentinalPrime, don't watch the video if you don't want several scenes from BW spoiled for you.

    And to Magneticus - there was no "SMOOV team" involved with the "Another Rude Awakening" video. It was inspired by DrSmoov's original "Prime's Rude Awakening" and DrSmoov gave his blessing on it but was not involved in it at all. It was written, edited and performed by my brother Jon, also known as member jon3pnt0 here (and Randal Ng produced CG for additional scenes). [And there's a whole thread on it here.] Also, there is no inappropriate language nor adult-oriented content in it.
     
  7. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper TFW2005 Supporter

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    oh... my bad. thanks for the info :D  i'd been watching it for the longest time and i guess i keep overlooking the credits. Great Optimus Prime voice by your brother... i thought it was Dr. Smoov voicing. great work! and, oh yeah, the disclaimer i just kinda threw that in just to be safe because i didn't really know if "poop-slinging monkey" might be appropriate in here these parts since it is a board more or less frequented by kids. didnt want me to get flagged or anything by the mods.

    anyway, thanks, take care.
     
  8. Voiceroy

    Voiceroy Trans-fo-mahs!

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    Yeah, the "poop" reference is pretty tame. It might have been "offensive" decades ago, but if you watch Animal Planet you can practically watch live "poop-slinging."

    And it's okay about mistaking Jon's video for Smoov's. Jon actually takes that as a compliment. I'm the one who's anal about it (I'm kinda proud of the lil' bugger and want to see him get proper credit for his work).

    Someday I should release the audio from me and Jon making audio dramatizations out of our G1 Marvel TF comics that we recorded on his Fisher Price tape recorder. Jon's like 7 years old on them, and it's still hilarious to hear him imitating the transforming sound and our early attempts at imitating the TF voices. Good times.

    Anyway, sorry to derail the topic. Looking forward to reading your future BW reviews, SentinalPrime. (And sorry for misspelling your name earlier too.)
     
  9. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper TFW2005 Supporter

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    :cheer

    my best wishes and good luck to you and your brother. take care. :cool: :thumb 
     
  10. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    I'll enjoy reading these reviews. I was a Beast Wars hater at first, too. Then I watched a couple of episodes so I would know exactly what I was hating, and that was the end of that. Granted, the ball takes a while to get rolling, but you are in for quite a ride.

    You ain't seen nothin' yet.

    Yeah, if I have one real complaint, it's this. They don't do it all the time, but that's the exception rather than the rule. They're still Transformers, why do they need "transformation activation codes" or whatever when the G1-era Autobots and Decepticons didn't?

    I think most of them ARE renaming themselves, actually. It's a little too convenient that the guy named Rhinox becomes a rhino, the guy named Cheetor becomes a cheetah, etc. I think except for Optimus, Megatron, and maybe Scorponok, they all had different names before the crash.

    Like I said, just wait till you get to Seasons 2 and 3. There's a reason lots of G1 fans consider this show to be superior.
     
  11. darksage78

    darksage78 Maximal

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    You're in for a good ride! At the end you should track down interviews with Bob Forward and Larry, they winged most of season one.
     
  12. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    Activation codes become VERY scarce quickly. They're mostly used for dramatic effect in later seasons.

    And yeah, it only goes up from here.

    Also, the CGI only improves from here. By S2 characters are a lot more fluid and move with more realism.
     
  13. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    Beast Wars was the pinnacle of Transformers storytelling. I haven't seen anything as strong since.
    The CGI gets better, as does the characters and stories.
     
  14. chrisr291

    chrisr291 Master of the Unknown

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    Good to hear your looking into Beast Wars. As others have said, it only goes up from there.
     
  15. Grimlock_13

    Grimlock_13 Reformed Geewunner

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    I'm going to keep my mouth shut because I'll just get excited and throw out some spoilers....but congrats, you're watching the best TF cartoon thus far (and probably ever will be unfortunately). Hope you enjoy it!
     
  16. Nymyzys

    Nymyzys Wailing Your Sorrow

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    I caught Beast Machines for the first time a couple years ago when I found the series on DVD at Circuit City. I like how dark the series is, as well as the hopeless situation the Maximals were in. A very good series overall. Beast Wars is pretty darn good too.
     
  17. UltraMagnus3786

    UltraMagnus3786 That's what it is

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    ::sigh:: another review thread for me to devote myself to =).

    Looking forward to reading these reviews at work. Just promise you won't make us wait weeks between reviews?

    I recently purchased and watched all of Beast Wars through Beast Machines. It's quite a magnificent journey.
     
  18. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    Yes, hopefully we can stay spoiler free for him, since it's all too easy to ruin this series for the guy.

    I will say, until Animated, BW was by far my favorite series, but even so, I'd tell people to just trudge through some of the earlier episodes, about halfway or so in the first season the series starts to find its groove. By Season 2 it really starts firing on all cylinders and you'll be hooked pretty quick.
     
  19. ectoneon

    ectoneon Well-Known Member

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    Beast wars is awsome!!! It's the series that made the tf collector I am today. I look forward to reading your perspective on things. Makes me want to go back and re-watch again. I'll have to skip out on some of it though. I have seen all of season one and season three, but missed most of season two.
     
  20. Tiller

    Tiller I don't know nothin'

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    It starts a little slow. But eventually it gains its ground. It's like they were feeling around for the first few episodes but they certainly get into a stride. As soon as you hit season 2 you'll be in love. Well, hopefully.

    Looking forward to this. If you liked G1 then the references will make you jizz your pants later on.
     

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