Decepticons Unessential

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Mako Crab, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    *musing on the relevance of the 'cons in the movies*

    The Decepticons were written to be moving obstacles and nothing more. The Decepticons in the movies are not characters. They are indistinguishable from an asteroid hurtling to the Earth or a tornado that seems to follow you. Check this out:

    Take every scene with a Decepticon in it. If you remove the Decepticon, would the story still move forward?

    For example- The Forest Battle in RotF.
    If this scene is removed, what would happen?
    - Same, Mikaela, and Leo are already aware that Alice was a 'con.
    They would still be off on their own, seeking out Agent Simmons.

    The story doesn't require the Decepticons here. We get a nice action piece and Prime dies, which seems kind of significant, but that's all.

    If Prime had lived:

    Sam, Mikaela, Leo, and Simmons still go to Egypt.
    Still find the Matrix.
    The Autobots arrive in the desert, but Prime is alive and among them.
    Sam still runs across the desert to get a sock full of Matrix dust to Prime.
    Not much changes.

    Let's try part 1.

    Bumblebee vs. Barricade.
    This seems like a key scene, which you would need the Decepticon in to make it work. But take Barricade out and. . .

    The scene starts with Sam being chased by "Satan's Camaro."
    He passes by Mikaela and wipes out on his bike. He gets up and keeps going.
    Mikaela gets on her scooter and follows after him.
    Bumblebee finally corners Sam in the warehouse where Barricade normally shows up.
    Bumblebee transforms and reveals himself.
    Mikaela arrives just then, and the scene proceeds as normal, with them catching a ride with BB.

    Not nearly as fun or action-packed, but the story was already moving in the direction of BB revealing himself before Barricade showed up.


    And one from part 3, just because I don't want it to feel left out.

    Shockwave and the Driller show up at Chernobyl.

    Take Shockwave and the Driller out of that scene, and what are we left with?
    The Autobots still locate Cybertronian technology inside Chernobyl.
    Optimus is still mad that the humans were keeping secrets from them.
    Done. No change at all.

    This is what I mean, when I say the Decepticons are nothing but moving obstacles. They're not written as characters. The stories are first and foremost about the humans. Each story already has its own drive and arc before the insertion of the Decepticons, and it's always about Sam or Lennox or another human. It's never about Optimus or the Autobots or even what the Decepticons are doing. So removing the robots isn't all that hard, though there are a few scenes that are necessary or there wouldn't be any conflict at all.

    I'd say Blackout's attack at the start of part 1 is necessary. But notice that this time it's a human//Decepticon fight. Autobot/Decepticon fights tend to be unessential to moving the plot forward.
    But then later on, you could remove the Scorponok fight in the desert and nothing would change. Epps still has the camera that he recorded Blackout on. The only thing that fighting Scorponok added to the story was that they figured out they needed more powerful ammo to shoot the robots with. I'm sure that eventually they would've figured that out anyway. They got his tail after the fight, but what did they ever do with it? Not a thing. Not essential to the story.

    The Decepticons don't test the heroes in many different ways, other than how good their aim is. I dare say that Alice in RotF tested the heroes' resolve more than Megatron did. The hero being Sam.
     
  2. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Just an addition:

    What if Alice wasn't a Decepticon?
    Sam is still writing gibberish all over his walls.
    Alice either
    a.) tries to have her way with him or
    b.) isn't in the movie at all.

    If it's A.), then Sam ditches her to go explain himself to Mikaela (he was about to do just that in the movie). They still have their little fight, and proceed to seek out the only man that knows about the symbols in Sam's head- Simmons.

    If it's B.), then Mikaela walks into Sam's dorm and is shocked by all the symbols on the walls. They decide to seek out the only man that knows about the symbols- Simmons.
     
  3. Overlord Balder

    Overlord Balder Voices Slugslinger!

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    Well, I'm not really getting what you're saying.

    They're living obstacles, yes, they're the main villains, that's their purpose. But at the same time, they're vital to the plot, there's no conflict without them.

    The story would move forward techinically, but there would be no story to speak of, we'd just have a bunch of protagonists walking to point A to point B, no one would question their morals, no philosphical conflict between anything.

    For instance, take the 'Cons out of TF2007, we'd never have seen Optimus trying to sacrifice himself for mankind's sake ["Sam, put the Cube in my chest" that noble act of courage wouldn't be necessary without the decepticon's presence there, thus severely downplaying Optimus' character], we'd never have seen his philosphical musings with Megatron ["Humans don't deserve to live" "They deserve the right to choose for themselves!" "Then die with them, join them in extinction"] which would also be bad for the character.

    On the second, if Prime lives, the entire point of the movie loses itself [the point being how important Optimus is for the Autobot cause], because when he dies, we see how everything spirals into madness within seconds [Autobotds disbanded, everyone loses hope, The Fallen invades the USA], had he lived, things would just follow along, we'd never know just how bad things would be without Optimus. Bad for characterization.

    And then we have The Fallen, who is basically a unholy fusion of Judas and Satan, he's painted as the Ultimate Evil who must be destroyed at all costs or he'll doom humanity, the entire movie is spent on the fact that only Optimus can defeat him. Yet again, No 'Cons, no conflict, no characterization.

    On DOTM things get complicated because techinically, the entire plot was orchestrated by Decepticons. So it's a little hard to judge.

    Optimus finds the rods, but without Laserbeak, no human coperators, no Jerry to provide the proofs [even because the proofs are Laserbeak's victims], no job for Sam because Dylan would never have switched sides, no Megatron Sentinel wouldn't have changed sides. Essentially, the third movie wouldn't have existed at all.

    On the third, I'd say Megatron's character was fairly important, they spent a considerable time of the movie focusing on how decayed he is, which allowed a considerable bit of character development for the guy, going from a ruthless dictator to a dying scheming mastermind.

    If you count Sentinel Prime as a 'Con then things go just downhill here, because he is the source of the entire conflict for Optimus' character, which means, no Sentinel, no philosphical match between the Master and the apprentice ["I bring you Cybertron, your home, and yet you choose humanity!" "You were the one who taught me freedom was everyone's right"] which would REALLY complicate Optimus' character in the third, since he wouldn't be saddened, he wouldn't feel betrayed, he wouldn't be sinking in depression fo 2/3 of the movie, he wouldn't have to beg for his mentor to get to his senses, he wouldn't show his humility ["You were our leader once Sentinel, lead us again"].

    And that's not even getting into how rich Sentinel's character is.

    Finally, Megatron's final moments tested Optimus' strength on his ideals, in a way: By refusing to strike a deal with the Devil [like his mentor did] he proved that he would never forget his ideals no matter how against him the odds are [case in point, terribly wounded and one arm missing].
     
  4. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    I did account for this.
     
  5. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    Hey 'Balder, I think Mako Crab is saying that the Decepticons are just whims of the director. Kinda like Star Trek Voyager: when shit needs to go down, the writers (berman and the other guy) just make it happen regardless.
     
  6. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Basically that the Decepticons are the equivalent of an asteroid or tornado. They serve as the antagonists of the movie, but very little of what they do actually tests the heroes or pushes the movie in different directions. That's not to say nothing they do is significant, but a lot of what we see isn't necessary to the plot or the characters.

    I'd agree that the fight between Optimus and Megatron was necessary to the plot and the development of Prime's character.

    Is that the point though? When Optimus first asks Sam to testify on their behalf, Sam rejects the hero's call. Optimus dying and Sam feeling guilt for it was the price he paid for rejecting the call. But if Prime hadn't died, Sam would still have gotten wrapped up in everything going on due to his contact with the Allspark shard. His journey would have still taken him to Egypt, and he would've still uncovered the Tomb of the Primes. He would have taken the hero's journey up no matter if Prime had lived or died.
    The point wasn't that everything would go to hell without Optimus around. It was, "Fate rarely calls upon us at a time of our choosing." Sam rejected the call the first time, but heeded it later and lived up to his fate or destiny.

    And again, I stated in my original post that some scenes were necessary to provide conflict. But with the Fallen we have a villain that was nearly forgotten about by the writers. His importance is diminished by the fact that he did nothing that couldn't have been done by Megatron.

    Let's give it a shot!

    You've got a lot of points. Let's look at them individually.

    1.) I'll have to watch the movie again, but Optimus finding the rods didn't really hinge on Decepticon involvement as I recall. That whole scene where Buzz Aldrin showed up to give them some info drove their need to go to the moon.

    2.) I'd agree that Laserbeak was needed.

    3.) Okay.

    4.) Dylan, I will grant, at least tested Sam in more ways than an actual Decepticon would.

    5.) Megatron was barely in the movie anyway. His few brief scenes were good, but if he was out, and Shockwave was the new leader, or if the Decepticons were taking orders from Sentinel all along, it wouldn't have changed much.

    6.) Not necessarily. Sentinel was desperate to save Cybertron, and he already resented the human race. Nothing says that he couldn't have made a deal with the Decepticons during the movie.
    Think of it- how much actually hinges on Sentinel having a deal with Megatron prior to crashing on the moon? The only thing that seemed to matter was that the Decepticons took a bunch of the rods from Sentinel's ship. Now suppose that Sentinel had made a backroom deal with them during the movie. The 'cons could've just as easily taken the rods from his ship then.

    The rest of your examples are from the major conflicts that the movie can't do without, so no disagreements there.
     
  7. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that sums it up nicely. :) 
     
  8. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    I wish they had some charecter or personality and not just red shirted canon fodder.
     
  9. Overlord Balder

    Overlord Balder Voices Slugslinger!

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    I suppose it makes sense, though I don't exactly agree, I can see your point.

    Well, I'd say Optimus' death is a "double-edged" plot point, serves to both send Sam in his way [which I agree, could be done without him dying, though it would lose a lot of impact] and to highlight how much they need Optimus, since they pretty much lost the entire War when Optimus died, and were losing pretty badly until he returned from the dead.

    The first part can be done with Optimus alive, not so sure about the second.

    Oh I agree, the execution was dreadful. I'm talking about the concept of Fallen's character as shown in the movie, he was the Ultimate Evil. If we replaced him with Megatron in all areas, we'd lose the "Prophecy" trait [since it would make very little sense to turn him in a Ultimate Evil after he died].

    No, I was agreeing with you there, just repeating what you said ["Optimus finds the rod"], as for 'Con involvement...I'm not sure. They knew about Chernobyl through Voskhod [the Russian minister in the movie, I think], who was working for the Decepticons. But the movie leaves a little ambigous if he told them because the Decepticons told him to do so or if he was trying to double-cross the Decepticons.

    This isn't connected to the discussion about the 'Cons, but that's kind of his point, he's supposed to be an Sam's Evil Reflection, so to speak [choosen by an alien race due their family's legacy, both humans with key importance in the War, both lose their cool pretty quickly when under fire, but one chooses to be honorable, the other self-centered and selfish].

    He's that kind of character meant to highlight what makes the hero the hero, and what makes the villain the villain [Sentinel had a similar function regarding Optimus].

    Maybe, but I still found his character development one of the best things in DOTM, however brief his screen-time was.

    That's a little hard to say, since we never got the details of Sentinel's betrayal.

    It would cause some problems for the rhythim of the movie, though, because making the deal off-screen makes his betrayal a little more beliavable so to speak [because we never saw his reaction to actually switching sides], if he made the deal somewhere across the movie, we'd need to change the pace in a lot of scenes so to allow Sentinel's betrayal to fit more nicely.

    And of course, the whole human allies thing.
     
  10. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    It does seem like the Decepticons aren't really anything special in the movies. You could almost replace them with something like a generic group of high tech terrorist and get the same results for the most part. Other than being robots there isn't much to make them standout from the standard movie bad guy like gangster, drug dealer, terrorist, or enemy soldier with no name you find in some films.

    They just don't stand out as movie villains like a Darth Vader, Doc Ock, Joker, or Col. Hans Landa.

    But then movie villains has been a problem for pretty much all of Micheal Bay's movie carrier. He can make great explosions but he just can't make a great villain. I don't know if he just doesn't understand how important villains are to a film or if it's some other problem. Just really hard to name the villains from a Micheal Bay film.
     
  11. TNG Prime

    TNG Prime TNG Prime IS a title!

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    No Decepticons, no conflict, no plot. (Regardless of holes, however I have solved most of them, there is A plot.)

    @Ash from Carolina, Megatron was a great villain. No cowardly guy hiring a load of bodyguards, no crap, no sitting around. (Except in DOTM when he was too injured to do anything else.)

    He's the kind of guy who will walk right up to you, say something along the lines of "Screw you." and kill you, then take what he wants.
     
  12. Metroplex79

    Metroplex79 Hey mouse, say cheese!

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    That's what I was hoping for the live action movies.

    Side note/question: Does the 86 movie Megatron have almost as many lines the Megatron from the 3 live action movies combined?
     
  13. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    I will never accept the notion that the Decepticons were the masterminds behind the scenes !!!!!

    They can't do crap on their own !
     
  14. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Dude, Megatron alone whipped out some pretty awesome plans. The initial plan was obviously; snag Allspark, raise army, defeat Autobots, but when that failed, and he died, he had Soundwave as his back-up, who tracked down the shard, successfully stole it and had the Constructicons rebuilt and revive Megs. Megatron could then move on to meet up with the Fallen and initiate the second plan; find Matrix, activate Harvester. Soundwave keeps watch from above, Megatron successfully murders Optimus, the Decepticons are fairly well set. Even after Jetfire and Optimus' revival screwed the second plan over, Megs still had Sentinel as yet another back-up plan. Soundwave set up human spies for their purposes and wiped them out when their usefulness was gone, while Shockwave successfully baited Optimus into searching for the Ark and reviving Sentinel, Sentinel betrayed people and brought an army from the Moon.

    Basically, the Decepticons played the Autobots like chumps and only factors they couldn't truly predict, such as Jetfire, Sam's revival and the Autobot's sneak attack foiled them.
     
  15. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    Someone just had to actually read my post.......better you than those idiots back in the "could war made Optimus brutal as he is?" trend. I got blasted for counting off DOTM for the sake of evaluating Optimus' strength and character.

    Anyhow, I was exaggerating. They did ok in the 1st movie. But really, they sucked onwards.

    That's the thing. DOTM doesn't exactly flow with the other two. How did Megatron even know about Optimus having the Matrix ? We never saw Prime going back to retrieve, heck I assumed it was destroyed with the Harvester !



    TFTM: A new slate so you can practically do anything with it.

    ROTF: Since Megs in league with the Fallen (the last Super Prime), if destroying the Sun (and Earth will subsequently die) will restore......whatever, that kinda moots out the deal Megatron made with Sentinel.

    Even if you include Sentinel into the contingency plan, you saw how easily Megatron can get knocked around by Optimus without Jefire. That he could have just ran to a safe distance once Optimus engages the Fallen.

    It would have been better if Megatron convinces Sentinel to switch sides after revival.
     
  16. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Well, Megatron most likely (and correctly) assumed that an artefact as powerful as the Matrix wouldn't be destroyed by conventional means. Stuck out in the desert, hoping the Matrix had survived the Harvester's destruction was all he could count on. And luckily for him, it paid off.

    And remember, Megatron's a Decepticon. Of course he'd render his deal with Sentinel moot if the Fallen's plan had succeeded. He doesn't care which plan succeeds, so long as one succeeds and he achieves his goal of domination! :D 
     
  17. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    Why I never ! Are you suggesting that an artifact like the Harvester CAN be destroyed by conventional means ?! yeah it can

    You do realize they could have made something other stuff that could
    have completely killed off any reference to ROTF :

    - The Matrix could have been replaced with Optimus giving Sentinel a blood transfusion, followed by some Energon (you get what I mean, right ? )

    - Megatron's head injury could have resulted in a power struggle in the wake of the Fallen's death. (The Fallen could have been Jedi-mind tricking all the while, and suddenly PPL CAN ACTUALLY THINK !!!!! )

    - Optimus offering the Matrix to Sentinel could have easily been his sword(s). In retrospect, I think it would have shown a bit more character for Sentinel.


    Megatron in this continuity isn't smart. He's more of a raging beast of nature than a mastermind. Let's be honest, isn't he more likely to swear at you and kill you (clear cut kill you), or use psychological warfare and something intelligent then kill you (play around with you, then kill you)?

    If they actually followed up with the notion that the pressure in the Laurentian Abyss would destroy the Decepticons' bodies, Megs would be royally screwed. But no, for Michael Bay : consistency is for squares, nerds, and losers. Megatron's body is more or less INTACT.

    and you do understand what i'm getting at ? The Fallen's pretty much the Devil who killed all the gods there were, having him as an ally covers all bets (Teleportation, Force powers). In effect, his deal with Sentinel is pointless. He didn't even have to make a deal in the beginning.
     
  18. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    i think he does, just a bit more maybe
     
  19. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    :lol  I said the Matrix might not be destroyed by conventional means, not the Harvester! I did see Optimus blast it, ya'know :p 

    Many things could have been replaced in the movies, but they weren't, hence why we discuss what we got.

    Oh, this Megatron is smart. As aforementioned, he was the one coming up with these plans and allying himself with Sentinel and the Fallen to make them happen, he had his troops catch Sam pretty easily, killed Optimus, manipulated the autobots into reviving Sentinel so he could bring an army to Earth, thus scaring humanity into chasing the Autobots into the perfect position for Starscream to kill them (Though the Autobots predicted that bit, of course)

    And he had Soundwave to take care of finer details, so Megatron was well-prepared, my friend.

    As for ocean pressure crushing them, well, it's never explicitely shown/mentioned that ocean pressure could actually destroy a Cybertronian. It was basically the humans dumping crap in the water and hoping it wouldn't come back out, LOL.
     
  20. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    So I cross-posted my initial post to a couple boards, and I got an interesting response from Onslaught Six. He says:

    I have to agree with him. I think growing up with the cartoons and coming to know all the Decepticons as characters with personalities and all their own unique little quirks and traits creates a kind of gap with the movie Decepticons, who are all by-and-large just canon fodder. We see Michael Bay offing Decepticons left and right with no regard, but those names represent something to us. For Hollywood though, and the general movie-going public, they're just more metal monsters that need a good killing.



    This goes along with something else I was thinking. The Decepticons in these movies aren't so much the guys we've come to know in the cartoons and comics. They're more akin to a mindless horde of monsters, going so far as to actually take visual inspiration from cinema and literary monsters.

    Megatron: A decaying Frankenstein's monster. Rebuilt using parts from his troops in RotF, head blown half off, and by DotM he's rusting and falling apart.

    Alice: Confirmed that Medusa of Greco Roman mythology inspired her look.

    The Dreads: Confirmed that the Predators inspired their looks.

    Shockwave: I'm not really counting the eye as being inspired by a cyclops, since he's always had that, but that rib cage is monstrous looking. I've heard a lot of people compare him to Lord Zed.

    Laserbeak: Bears a striking similarity to "The Giant Claw," an old monster movie about a giant killer bird.

    Igor is named Igor.

    Feel like I'm forgetting some, but you get the idea. I don't want to turn this into a thread about Optimus' brutality (so damn sick of those threads), but when I stepped back and realized how the Decepticons were being portrayed in these movies, I likened them more to a zombie or monster horde than I would an army of intelligent soldiers with minds and thoughts and desires and everything else that makes a character a character. When I saw them in this light, I pictured Optimus Prime as Bruce Campbell from the Evil Dead movies, and remembered how I would cheer him on when he mowed down wave after wave of skeletons and evil demons.

    Okay, enough of that! That's already treading too close to old morality debates.

    I did say that some of the conflicts were necessary to the plot. But only some. A good deal don't provide any real substance to the story except to remind us that there's some bad robots out there.
     

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