Revisiting BEAST WARS

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Mako Crab, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    The series that needs no introduction. Beast Wars is my personal favorite Transformers series of all time, so this is going to be fun. It's the show that rekindled my interest in Transformers and caught me off-guard so many times, I lost count.

    Before I get into the retrospective, please have a look at the REAL opening credits. For some reason, the shortened version was used on the dvd box set. The quality of this video isn't great, but it's the only one I could find. Is the original intro simply lost to time (and degrading vhs tapes) now?
    YouTube - BEAST ERA INTRO

    And if your're really curious, the hilarious japanese version.
    YouTube - Beast Wars Japanese Opening


    Beast Wars (part 1)
    written by Bob Forward

    The plot is bare bones, but here's what's happening. Two ships emerge from a transwarp rift in space locked in battle. Enjoy it while you can, because it's the last time you'll see both of these ships in flying condition. The lead ship, manned by a crew of Predacon criminals, cripples the pursuing Maximal ship, but rather than finish them off right there, the Predacon commander decides to have a little fun taking potshots at the helpless vessel.

    Except that it's not so helpless afterall. The Maximal ship, the Axalon, ejects several stasis pods into orbit containing their dormant crew members, and prepares for one last round. Hehe, the ship lists and comes around, delivering the full force of its canons into the Predacon ship. Oh yeah! Direct hit! Those Predacons are going down! Both ships are pulled into the gravity of a nearby planet and careen towards the surface. If you look closely during this scene, you'll notice that the planet has two moons. Oooh, mysterious!

    The ships crash but everyone survives. The Axalon lands in a moutainous region of stone and waterfalls. The river feeding the waterfall run directly below the Axalon. Very picturesque. I wouldn't mind visiting them at all.
    The Predacon ship crashes into a volcanic region. The ground is black, punctuated by cracks that reveal flowing lava just beneath the surface. Not the greatest place to vacation, but they probably love the inhospitable nature of it.

    Bad news all around for everyone. The planet is teeming with raw energon crystals. Usually this would be good, since Predacons and Maximals run on energon, but there's so much of it that they require some protection from its unique radiation (unique in that it seems to have no effect on organics at all). The answer? A new fur coat! Both crews adopt alternate forms based on the local animals, and now... now we get one of the more painful scenes in the entire series.

    Cheetor: "Hey, look at me! I'm a cheetah! No, no, I'm Cheetor!
    Rhinox: Ease back, Cheetor. Livin' large is for forms like me, Rhinox.

    Wha... what are they doing? Naming themselves? Did they just change their names because they got new beast modes? I mean, it's not unheard of. Seems like any time someone gets a new coat of paint they have to go changing their name (Goldbug, Galvatron, etc.). But still, these introductions (except Rattrap) are on par with the horrible introductions of Beachcomber and Perceptor in G1. Well... maybe not that bad.

    Oh yeah, so our valiant crew of Maximals now consists of:

    Optimus Primal- a gorilla
    Rhinox- a rhinocerous
    Rattrap- a rat
    Cheetor- a cheetah

    Back at the crashed Predacon ship everyone's picked up new beast modes as well. We now have:

    Megatron- a tyrannosaurus rex
    Scorponok- a scorpion
    Tarantulus- a tarantula
    Terrorsaur- a pteranodon
    Waspinator- a wasp
    Dinobot- a velociraptor

    The creativity that went into these names is just mind boggling. It's okay though, it's okay. Moving on! It seems Dinobot is raging about something. He's got the stolen golden disc in his hands and flings it away in anger. Seems they've landed on the wrong planet. They were looking for Earth but the two moons in the sky clearly indicate that they're on the wrong planet. Not to mention the lack of human civilization. Everything else screams out that this is Earth (the plant and animal life), but two moons! Two moons! No explanation! It can't possibly be Earth!

    Dinobot immediately challenges Megatron for leadership of the Predacons. The big T-rex chuckles at this and has Scorponok blast Dinobot with a missle that sends him flying over the horizon. Who cares what planet they're on as long as there's butt-loads of energon to be had, right? That's Megatron for you, always looking at the big picture. Makes me wonder what Dinobot's big hang-up about it not being Earth was if that's the case.

    Shortly thereafter we find the Maximals all hanging out and getting used to their new beast forms. Wonderful conversation between Rattrap and Primal on their whole predicament. Sets Rattrap up nicely as the pessimist (and realist) of the group. I like that he's not just automatically agreeing with everything Primal says and even questions his ability to step up to the plate as commander. We also get the first mention of the Great War and an explanation of why the golden disc is so important. Apparently it gives the location of a major source of energon. Well, that's been confirmed already. Doesn't stop Rattrap from complaining about something else.

    Primal: "Just no pleasing some people"

    Cheetor spots a couple real cheetahs sprinting across the vast, vast stretch of flat, textureless grassy plain. Aww, you know, this old, archaic CGI has a strange charm that way. More on that later.

    Primal: "They're fast alright. You picked a good form, Cheetor."
    Cheetor: "You think that's speed? You ain't seen the golden rocket!"

    The... golden rocket? *smacks forehead*
    So Cheetor goes chasing off after the cheetahs and manages to scare them off. And hey, he runs into a giant wasp. Based on nothing other than the reactions of the other cheetahs, he figures it's a Predacon in disguise. He transforms and starts shooting! OMG, Cheetor, what are you doing!!! Okay, so it really is a Predacon, but what flimsy reasoning!

    It's Waspinator and he goes on the counter-attack! He's actually doing a pretty good job of keeping Cheetor on his toes, which is something considering how much of a bungler Waspy turns into later on. The Maximals see the explosions off in the distance and charge in to help.

    Primal: "Take cover, Cheetor! We'll swat that pesky Predacon!"

    Ehhh.... what can I say? It's the first episode. Things were... stupider back then. :)  But no! There will be no swatting of Predacons today, pesky or otherwise! All the other Predacons have assembled on a ridge opposite of the Maximals with Cheetor stuck in the valley below! Time for some stern words! Primal tries to reason with Megatron and maintain the peace, but the big T-rex informs Primal that sometimes an enemy that looks peaceful is merely biding its time. And it's on!

    Megatron takes a hit right to the face from Cheetor! That stupid kid again. He's going to get everyone killed. Well, no backing down now. A battle erupts and we learn that boulders are the perfect cover against plasma blasts. Rocks are so awesome. Anyway, Cheetor's still in trouble and Rattrap has no qualms refusing to save him. Primal dives into the valley himself, taking several hits along the way, before delivering the kid back to safety. They make a hastey retreat and before the Predacons can capitalize on their (small) victory, they're all hit with a wave of searing, crippling, energon radiation; the price of staying in robot mode for too long.

    Later that evening... ooh, I like the nice, dusky lighting of this scene. Primal and Rattrap are riding on top of Rhinox back to the Axalon. Heh. Cute. He scolds Rattrap for disobeying his orders, yadda yadda yadda. Rattrap isn't exactly repentent, and tries to reassure the boss monkey that everything's fine.

    Except that the only way back to their base is being blocked by Dinobot. Remember him? Yeah, the whole battle for leadership of the Predacons didn't work out so well, so now he's here to battle for leadership of the Maximals. Gotta' hand it to him. When he gets an idea in his head, he's persistent about it.

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    Some thoughts:
    - I like how they conveniently set up for the introduction of new characters by ejecting the stasis pods into orbit. We won't have to worry about new guys just popping up with no explanation or have a bunch of guys all accidentally crash on the same planet as well.

    - The CGI, oh my god, the CGI. It's very rough and dated looking, but at the same time it's kind of charming in that it's a sign of the times. As the show progresses, the CGI does get better but wow. For right now it looks a tad on the archaic side.

    - The golden disc. If you take a good look at the golden disc, you'll see already that the writers are setting up something grander in scope.

    - The Maximals get some good exposition in this pilot episode, but the Predacons are practically non-existent save for Megatron and Dinobot. I personally have typically always favored the villains in any piece of fiction, so it's a bit disappointing at the moment to see the Preds relegated to background fodder.

    - No mention of Autobots or Decepticons, but we do hear mentions of the Great War and Primal asks Megatron why he would want to start all that up again. So connections to G1 are made, but as of this episode all we know is that there is *some* connection. I know the chief editors of the show always placed the era of the Maximals and Predacons 300 years post-Great War, but no mention of that is ever made within the show itself. Of course, it is just the pilot episode and I'm sure they didn't want to bog it down with any more details than was absolutely necessary.

    And that's all for now. Wow, what a rocky start. :p 

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  2. AutobotMarine

    AutobotMarine Banned

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    Beast Wars is the best TF series in my opinion. Sure I love G1, Animated, and Galaxy Force; but this in my opinion is where TF REALLY began!
     
  3. ian5555

    ian5555 Well-Known Member

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    As far as storyline and fights go Beast Wars was #1 imo.
     
  4. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    About 2 years ago I created a tiny little tribute website to Beast Wars. Under the character guide section I provided links to info about the animals that everyone turns into. Most of them went to the National Geographic site, but a few were unique. The T-rex page is my personal favorite. I always thought it would be cool and was surprised that no major sites did anything beyond the usual tech spec info. But anyway, here they are! Just the original cast for now.

    Link to the character guide (pics are down, voice clips still work)
    beastwars1

    Optimus Primal is a GORILLA!
    Rhinox is a RHINOCEROUS!
    Rattrap is a STINKY RAT!
    Cheetor is a CHEETAH!
    Dinobot is a VELOCIRAPTOR!

    Megatron is a TYRANNOSAURUS REX!
    Scorponok is a SCORPION!
    Tarantulus is a TARANTULA!
    Terrorsaur is a PTEROSAUR!
    Waspinator is a WASP!
     
  5. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    :lol  Stinky Rat. I love Rats, that's why I love Rattrap. I had a pet rat. He was adorable, and brilliant. He could do all kinds of cool stuff.

    I second the statement on the dated CGI, especially when working backwards from BM. Though it is surprising how fast it picks up.

    Though Cheetor is really a stupid kid, but it's great because everybody knows he's a stupid kid.:) 

    Also, I agree with AutobotMarine and Ian5555: BW is #1.
     
  6. darksage78

    darksage78 Maximal

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    Gotta love Beast Wars, absolutely astounding in story telling and character development. Not to mention, the upgrades in characters and stasis pods as a means to introduce new characters was very innovative. Just watch some of the interviews with Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio, they had no idea what they were doing with the extra moon and the Golden Disk. Nice to see everything pan out and end up neat and pretty much tidy =D
     
  7. ArmedonLSD

    ArmedonLSD TFW2005 Supporter

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    My sister loves pet rats. She actually buys specific breeds with little tails and some kind of special floppy ears or something but those rats are amazing. They have a cage but she leaves it open 24/7 and the rats roam around her room. each one is trained to only use the bathroom in their cage and each one knows its name. They remind me of little dogs and are clearly very intelligent
     
  8. Reflector Unit

    Reflector Unit Cameracon

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    THEY KILLED TERRORSAUR!

    THOSE BASTARDS!

    Terrorsaur was, imo, the epitome of a wasted character. He had such potential, he could've gone on to be more than just Starscream-lite. I was such a fan of his, and imo, he had the best looking robot mode of the season 1 Beastformers. He would have made a great tool for the Vok, and that would've left Tigatron and Airrazor free to remain individuals and develop their relationship more. I was always more interested in how their fledling romance would've panned out since Silverbolt/BA never interested me. It was all basically just a vehicle to facilitate BA's reform anyway.
     
  9. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    I still wonder to this day how many "haters" there are out there that base their whole opinion of Beast Wars on the cheesetastic craptacular two-part pilot. :) 
     
  10. kllrwlf

    kllrwlf Well-Known Member

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    Beast Wars is definitely my favorite.
    G1 for nostalgia.
    Animated right behind them.
    And Armada behind Animated.
     
  11. MilkManX

    MilkManX TF Comicbook Fan

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    Im a convert. When I first saw the toys and show(I had not been into Transformers for about 5-6 years when it first came out) I hated them.

    Fast Forward to 2002 or so. The DVD's were out. People kept telling me how good it was. I was back into TF's thanks to Car Robots.

    I got season 1. Loved it! Bought Season2 the next week. Then season 3!

    I was floored. Yeah the CG starts kinda lame but by season 2 its pretty nice and season 3 is good too. Still not as fluid as Beast Machines but I like the BW story better.

    Overall my all time favorite TF era for both Show and Toys.
     
  12. Magelite

    Magelite I make stupid look good

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  13. SKowl

    SKowl Rubber Golem

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    Beast Wars is still the best TF series and is responsable for some of the most interesting and multi-dimensional characters in all the TF Universe - I mean REAL characters, not just toys that were dropped into a cartoon with a flat "tech spec" style, one-dimensional personality. I didn't give a flying crap when Megatron killed all those bots in the '86 movie, but I cried when Dinobot died, that's saying something.

    Not to mention the series single-handedly saved the entire franchise from what was going to be certain doom in the mid 90s.
     
  14. Reflector Unit

    Reflector Unit Cameracon

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    Nurt evun Ahrn Haad? He nevur gart ta burst dem Decepterchawps

    Seriously though, you didn't care about Wheeljack dying? He was WHEELJACK! He builds Dinobots and miscellaneous stupid shit that only works when it's required for plot resolution!
     
  15. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    Wheeljack didn't die. He was in Victory. He rebuilt Ginrai into Victory Leo.
     
  16. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    That was actually Energon Downshift. ;) 
     
  17. AutobotMarine

    AutobotMarine Banned

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    Is this a joke?
     
  18. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    Ah, that explains the gold rocket launcher or whatever.:wink: 

    Nope, it's Takara and Beast Wars. You would not beleive the stuff they did.

    Here's two words that sum up just a few of the worst:

    Metals and Jointrons.
     
  19. AutobotMarine

    AutobotMarine Banned

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    And would the jointrons be?

    Also, you wouldn't find out what I discovered:

    YouTube - Beast Wars Metals last End/Closing

    The Japanese dub for Beast Wars was awful, looks like Japan can screw up stuff that comes into their country too?
     
  20. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    The Japanese versions of the Tripredacus combiner dudes. Horrible Mexican stereotyps and Cidacon is a disgusting robot.


    No kidding. Though I think so of it stems from the fact that Airrazor was a dude, Megatron became a squealy idiot, BA became a whimp and Rattrap became... something horrible. Also, the Beast Wars shows were designed specifically with western VA's and expressions in mind.
     

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