Deus Ex Railgun

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Coolhand, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. Coolhand

    Coolhand Spiff's Stunt Double

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    Deux Ex Railgun.

    I’ve been thinking about this, and I think that the Railgun is possibly the thing that irks me the most about ROTF. (I love some of the film, and hate other aspects of it)
    Basically, it’s one huge Deus Ex Machina.
    For those not in the know (from Wiki dictionary):

    In terms of writing a plot, relying on a Deus Ex Machina to solve a problem or save your hero is considered a MASSIVE no no, and is a surefire way of getting your book/filmscript/whatever rejected by an agent or publisher if you are an aspiring writer. It is considered to be a major rookie mistake, lazy and uncreative.

    If the Railgun doesn fit this description, I don’t know what does.

    Out of the blue, Simmonds makes a call to a ship we’ve never heard of, gets a weapon we’ve never seen before to fire a magic bullet that kills in one shot the big bag monster we’ve been waiting all the movie to see with no battle or struggle. Horrifically anti climactic, and totally unjustified in terms of the previous story and setup. (That’s setting aside the ludicrous idea that a US Navel captain could be talking into firing a Top Secret Weapon of Mass Destruction into a Foreign Nation’s territory by an unknown guy on a phone with no clearance codes and whos line of argument is basically “Now, I know you don’t know me from Adam, and I’m outside of your command structure and have no authority or access codes, but this is REALLY serious. Trust me. Shooting Egypt is the right thing to do.”
    Yea Gads, I hope that Captain was court-marshalled and scraping bird poo off the deck for the rest of his life after the movie ended.)

    What’s annoying is that the damn thing could, with just a bit more effort, have actually worked very well. First of all, drop hints beforehand that the thing exists. Doesn’t have to be much, just a few throw away lines from senior military guys that “Project BFG is complete,” or “The Autobots might leave Earth, but we’ve still got Project BFG in case more Decepticons show up.” Things like that.

    Then, when Devs shows up, it becomes apparent that the Autobots and NEST cant take him down on their own and they start to lose the battle. At this point the humans unveil “Project BFG”. The Railgun. But there’s a problem. The Railgun can’t target Devastator. Perhaps they have no line of sight, or the Railgun can’t lock onto a moving target. Queue a running battle full of heroic actions from Prime and his Autobots as they fight off the Cons and heard Devastator into the firing range of the gun, maybe plant a homing or targeting device on him, or slow him down long enough for the railgun to get a lock, the climax of this exciting, heroic struggle being a Bay-splosion-tastic Railgun slug to the brain. A hard won victory for the Autobots and a satisfying climax for the audience.

    It would be a nice example of the Human and the Autobots working together to accomplish what neither side could do alone, and would give Devastator the dignity of being a formidable opponent, rather than a lumbering oaf who bumbles around a quarry, fails to eat Mudflap and then falls off a pyramid. But as it stands, it’s one of the worst examples of anti-climactic Deus Ex Machina I’ve ever seen, in film, TV or the written word. If it was written that way by Orci and Kurtzman, then I’m stunned that they didn’t know better (or didn’t care). I’m much more likely to believe that it was Bay’s idea, but even then, I’m amazed that Captain Kaboom chose a one shot railgun kill rather than a running battle with a 150 foot tall behemoth.

    Maybe they were running out of budget, but as I understand it, Bay brought the film in with 5 million still in the bank. Maybe it was an issue with running time, but quite frankly, are we honestly going to say that Sam’s college life and party, his mum on drugs and the Screaming Room mate’s scenes were more important to a Transformers film that a full on Devastator battle? IMHO, it’s some of the worst writing I’ve seen in a movie in terms of plot logic, and I cannot bring myself to believe that it was genuinely written to appear the way it did in the final product.

    Anyway, I’ve got that off my chest. Can anyone else think of ways to improve the Devs scene, or validate the Railgun?
    OR: Did anyone here LIKE the Railgun scene the way it is and care to defend it (in a reasonable, non-shouty way of course?):) 

    (P.S I’ve looked through the forum and can’t find another thread on this exact topic, but apologies if this is indeed a duplicate thread. I was thinking of posting in the "Gravity Defeats Devastator" thread, but that thread was more about the details of the kill, rather than the Railgun as a plot point.)
     
  2. RedWolf

    RedWolf Well-Known Member

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    Fact is the US military is developing a railgun. But from what I've heard it is still in experimental prototype stages. So a railgun in the US arsenal is plausible.
     
  3. Malikon

    Malikon Well-Known Member

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    yeah. but he's talking about the railgun as a plot device, not whether or not it could or does exist.

    _________________

    I like your ideas of how it could have worked better, that would've been an interesting scene.
     
  4. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    I don't think he's doubting the existence of a railgun, it's the whole "coming out of nowhere" part that he's talking about.

    And i have to agree. It was the most disappointing part of the movie. One shot? From the middle of nowhere? I think Devs was the main reason so many people went and watched the movie, and to have it all end like that was a big letdown.

    Plus, not one person really got hurt from Devs. Heck, Mudflap (i think it was him, mighta been Skids, not sure) even managed to survive being "eaten". It seemed the individual components of Devs were more of a threat than Devs himself.

    EDIT: Darn, now i need to use a quote...Thanks, Mailkon. j/k
     
  5. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    Instead of a 'deus ex railgun' and the USAF flying in to save the day, the ones bringing the rain should have been the Aerialbots. Then we could have had a spectacular Devy versus Superion smackdown, with the pyramids as backdrop. What a finale that would have been.
     
  6. nkelsch

    nkelsch Do you know this Icon? TFW2005 Supporter

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    Fact, They had a functional Prototype in 2008.

    Since Simmons is an Internet Nerd who probably kept up on this stuff he (like many of us movie goers) knew the navy had one and basically called them out on it. And when the Navy saw a giant robot where he said there was one, they used it.

    Calling it a magic bullet or claiming it was a 'moving target' is just angered up blood and other stuff that has been beaten to death and proven pretty much as Nitpicking.

    I bet if someone who didn't know how a cellphone worked saw a movie where an actor used a cell phone to advance the plot they would freak out too and claim a Magic 'talkin box' saved the hero.
     
  7. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Could the navy see Devs from where they were? (don't have such a great memory)

    Anyways, i think i would much have preferred a "seeker" group, led by Jetfire to help. After all, he did disappear for a while for no reason, that would help explain it.
     
  8. Malikon

    Malikon Well-Known Member

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    This isn't nitpicking.
    ___________________________
    Quote:
    deus ex machina (plural dei ex machina or dii ex machina or di ex machina or dei ex machinis or dii ex machinis or di ex machinis)

    1. Any resolution to a story that does not pay due regard to the story's internal logic and that is so unlikely that it challenges suspension of disbelief, and presumably allows the author, director, or developer to end the story in the way that he or she desired (Ex. the protagonist waking up, realizing it was all a dream. 2nd Ex. another hero coming in out of an unexpected place to save someone at the last second).
    "Oh, now I'm backed into a corner, and can't devise a way out. I could sure use a deus ex machina right about now!"

    2. (literally) A god from the machine.
    __________________________-

    He makes perfect sense. I mean hey I really liked the movie myself, but when he points out something being used as a literary device which pretty clearly everyone agrees that's what it was, and has posted a definition just in case you don't understand what deus ex machina actually is,...to turn around and say basically, "No. You're just bitter." Makes absolutely no sense. Much like the cell phone analogy you tossed in there.

    I don't think the argument/comment is on whether or not it was used as a weak plot device, it obviously was. The question/comment is on: "How could they have done it better and more fully utilized Devastator as the monster he was?"

    Honestly your post read like:
    OP: "The sky is blue and here's some proof of what I'm saying"
    Poster: "No. You're just bitter because you wanted rain."

    Kinda doesn't really make sense, you know?
     
  9. nkelsch

    nkelsch Do you know this Icon? TFW2005 Supporter

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    The sky isn't blue, The technology seems implausible because he was unaware of it. If they had dropped a Patriot missile on his head, everyone would have gone "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh I know what those are from 10 years ago"

    The real beef is people wanting Devastator used as a bigger monster and have a better role instead of a vacuum removing legos from the pyramids. That is a totally different gripe.

    The Human Military doesn't challenge disbelief or the story's internal logic. The military *KNEW* there was a robot fight in Egypt, the Military sits in the middle east NEAR egypt with long range weapons ready to take on hostilities, and Simmons, a previous Government agent used his knowledge to give coordinates to the Navy which checked out as they could see the giant robot and they decided to shoot it. Simmons wasn't OH NO! I am trapped ont he Pyramid! " and then saved byt he military, he entered the scene and the situation knowing full well he probably would die and this was a long shot.

    And so what? let's say they cut that scene out, Devastator would be sitting up there with Megs and the Fallen, and JetPrime would have cut off his head in one blow and everyone would have cried *BOOOOO he died to easily!*... Or would they? If Prime's blades kill him in one blow, then that is TFs killing TFs and the disdain for humans int he plot by some unreasonable moviegoers who don't want humans able to fight TFs would be fulfilled.

    What people don't like is Humans overcoming transformers and want a Transformer-based solution to the problems. Calling the Railgun a magic bullet or disregarding the military as has been done in many threads shows this.

    Call a spade a Spade, people had expectations of only transformers should be able to fight transformers and they want Humans completely ineffective. Humans had hundreds of ways they could have destroyed devastator as we do have weapons that long range, that accurate and that powerful. They could have used any of them but they used something that is based upon real-life technology with a smidge of science fiction. That hardly challenges disbelief, unless your expectations are unreasonable and won't accept anything but robot-on-robot action to move the plot forward.

    Simmons not being killed by the falling debris is more of a suspension of disbelief than anything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  10. Scooby.Smokescreen

    Scooby.Smokescreen Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with the first post. It was lazy and just a quick way of getting Dev off the screen.

    You can hear it now - someone shouting "We have to have big big big this time people!" I'll let you guess who.

    Then someone else shouting "Yes guv, but how do we get big big big off screen when we need to"

    Cue lots of foot stamping and toy throwing and then someone further says "We'll have the hoomies win the day again by having a dirty great weapon stashed in their slacks"

    If the railgun existed why not tell prime et el to push off when they had the chance and we'll handle the 'cons with the railgun.

    Massive disappointment.
     
  11. TankRizzo

    TankRizzo Well-Known Member

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    It's not nitpicking, it's just bad storytelling. To pull out a magic gun with no prior set up is just an extremely cheap way to explain something away.
     
  12. Coolhand

    Coolhand Spiff's Stunt Double

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    Cool. But I'm not questioning the technology, I'm questioning its implementation as a plot device.:) 

    Yes but its the implementation as a dramatic device that I have issue with.
    I'll illustrate: Both the Allspark in the first film and the Railgun in the second serve the same basic function: They kill the big bad. But at least with the Allspark it had been introduced before the finale, and the characters had discussed how merging it with a spark could kill a TF, and it was taken into the final battle by the heroes and carried around by Sam until he used it.
    So it was a Maguffin that killed the big bad but at least the plot spent time setting it up. Sam didn't just suddenly pull this odd cube out of his pocket that the audience hadn't seen before, and didn't know that he had or what it was, and kill Megs with it with no explanation. But that is exactly what happened with the Railgun.

    Hell, even if they'd just mentioned it a couple of times in cryptic dialog during the film, and then kept the end exactly as it was, I'd have been happy with that. But they didn't. It totally comes out of nowhere and is a true, stark Deus Ex Machina in the worst way possible.
    IMHO.:) 

    That would have been SWEET!

    That's a good point as well. Devestator should have been 7 times the trouble of a single Constructacon, but in the film it seems like the individual Constructacon squad at the pyramids actually pose more of a threat than Devs. I mean, if Devestator can't eat two rookie Autobots and two squishy humans, what good is he? (I'm not saying he SHOULD have eaten them, I'm just...y'know, makin' the point.)

    Yeah, the Seekers were one of the REALLY nice ideas in the movie that didn't seem to get more than a throwaway nod. That would have been so cool, to see a squad of old, outdated vehicles appear on the horizon, a load of Model T Fords, Spitfires, Rolls Royce Phantom II's and Sherman tanks let by Jetfire! lol!
    "Stand aside you young whipper-snappers! This is how we kicked arse in MY day!"
     
  13. Covenant

    Covenant Mr. Roboto in Disguise

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    But such isn't the case here. Did you read the definition of a "Deus ex Machina"? This person's particular gripe isn't about a top secret weapon that's been spoken of and seen earlier in the film finally being utilized after its setup in order to take down a monstrous robot, its about - and in exactly in the OPs original words - "Out of the blue, Simmonds makes a call to a ship we’ve never heard of", following with "the ludicrous idea that a US Navel captain could be talking into firing a Top Secret Weapon of Mass Destruction into a Foreign Nation’s territory by an unknown guy on a phone with no clearance codes and whos line of argument is basically 'Now, I know you don’t know me from Adam, and I’m outside of your command structure and have no authority or access codes, but this is REALLY serious. Trust me. Shooting Egypt is the right thing to do'", so that "a weapon we’ve never seen before can fire a magic bullet that kills in one shot the big bag monster we’ve been waiting all the movie to see with no battle or struggle".

    It came out of the blue, there was no story or indication of how Simmons knew of this, you're a fan that's attempted to circumvent this bad bit of lazy plot in order to defend the film, but the fact is it's a very WTF moment, and yet another waste performed in the final sequence of the film, another rushed ending. It's not about if the Railgun is real, obviously a good deal of us know that it is, but that's us, not the general audience, and regardless of who you are its a fact its a weapon that came out of nowhere for a quick fix on what to do to end that monstrous Devastator's sad little role in the film.
     
  14. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    @nkelsch:

    Y'know, why are we talking about all this 'transformer v transformer only' and 'disregarding the military' thin anyways? We all know that was not what the original post was trying to (and it did pretty well, imo) say.

    I don't even think you've gotten the point of this thread. We're not disregarding the military and wanting transformer v transfrormer only solutions, we're just discussing the fact that it does fall into a specific category with a negative connotation, and how we could improve it.

    Sure, some of that may be 'TF instead of military' ideas, but the main point is the fact that it came out of nowhere, and how Simmons never exhibited knowledge of this massive superweapon before, but somehow knows about it at exactly the right time.

    So again, it's not the "humans will never beat TF's" that is a problem, it's the "why were we fighting in the first place if we had this thing" problem. Also, It was never used against Megatron. Sure, you could say that it was only to be used in the most dire of circumstances, but i'd say a massive evil alien robot mecha that turns into a tank fits those criteria.
     
  15. Poho

    Poho That's MISTER Poho to you

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    while i agree that it was a silly thing to put in, i don't think it was a deus ex machina. they could easily have killed off devastator with any other means, they just chose the rail gun because it's cool.
     
  16. nkelsch

    nkelsch Do you know this Icon? TFW2005 Supporter

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    All I see are:

    *Fans who spoiled the movie and knew devastator was in the movie before seeing it and expected a TF they liked to have a bigger, stronger role.

    *People who don't follow technology or Military news.

    It was not like the whole movie they were like "we will unleash our ultimate soldier, Muhahahahah" they didn't build up to devastator at all. If you were not a TF fan or knew about TFs then you really had no idea the significance of 'construction machines'. If anything, Devastator was the Ex Deus Mechanica as he appeared out of no where, with no priorlogic to the story to fulfill a plotpoint for the decepticons to uncover the sun-blower upper.

    But no... TF fans liked and knew what Devastator was therefor he is peachy keen to them because they *love* him even though other movie goers have no idea who or what he is and were not expecting him to exist at all.

    I just see fans who don't want humans to have any signifigant role in future TF movies. That is all it boils down to. The correct way to make the movie 'good' would have been to remove Devastator 100% from it and have the fallen use his antigrav powers to uncover the pyramid. That would have been the 'sound, logical, believable solution'.

    But could you hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from fans if Devastator was removed? They can't win unless they write fandom-approved fiction with robot only plots.
     
  17. Poho

    Poho That's MISTER Poho to you

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    actually, after reading this:
    i don't think it's ridiculous at all.
     
  18. TankRizzo

    TankRizzo Well-Known Member

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    Was it though?
     
  19. nkelsch

    nkelsch Do you know this Icon? TFW2005 Supporter

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    Apparently we have to explain the offensive capacities of the US military int he movie to keep people happy. I wasn't aware you had to explain every US weapon system to the moviegoing public or where they are deployed int he world for it to be believable.

    That is the issue. It is not unreasonable to expect the audience to know the military exists and the military is capable of firing very destructive weapons.

    And considering an alien robot contacted the world governments and everyone knows this, and they had prior approval for entering Egypt, I see nos suspension of disbelief for a Navy commander, who is aware of all this who can physically see a giant robot to decide to take a shot on him with *ANY* weapon. This is not like this situation in Egypt or these robots were a secret no one knew about.

    So yes, I see no issue with a Military ship, in a time of extreme chaos and uncertainty with alien invaders shooting a weapon at a confirmed threat in the sovereign country of Egypt, as well as I would see there is no reason Egypt would be upset as it would be quickly found out that thier pyramid is an alien death ray to destroy the sun.

    It makes sense to anyone who has any expectation about the military, but to people nitpicking, apparently we needed a scene at the beginning where the military did a roll call of every location they are deployed with a list of offensive weaponry so we could hear "a ship in the middle wast with an experimental Railgun".

    If the militarys hot him with a Conventional Weapon like a missile would there still be the same complaints? I wasn't aware real-life non-fiction things like Geography, and the US military needed the same amount of explanation as a magic Macguffin cube in a movie.
     
  20. AximusPrime

    AximusPrime Well-Known Member

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    Wait, so you take issue with the railgun going as far as to label it Deus Ex Machina saying it had no build up but are perfectly fine with the idea of a group of Autobots showing up at the final moments of the movie with no build-up or introduction what-so-ever to save the day? I think Nkelsch is pretty much on point with the whole anti-human sentiment from a lot of the fans.
     

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