Modernisations and faithfulness in Transformers designs

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Nathanoraptor, May 28, 2020.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Posts:
    609
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +754
    When the Bayverse designs are discussed, one common statement from people who don't approve of them (or some of them) is "the designs need to be more faithful to the originals" (by which they mean the G1 designs). Whilst I agree with this in principle, what happens when some G1 designs are more equal than others? It's not true that all the G1 looks are good - some of them are actually pretty bad.

    Now, most of the '84 Autobots are pretty much all brilliant designs - there's almost no improving on them. They all look different (because they all have unique vehicle modes) you can tell what each of them turns into from the kibble and each character's design conveys their personality. These designs are iconic - and for good reason.

    And that's what you see with most of the Bayverse Autobots - Optimus and Jazz look almost exactly like their G1 counterparts and, whilst Bayverse Ironhide and Ratchet don't really resemble the originals, their designs still convey the characters fairly well. If you saw a picture of Bayverse Ironhide not knowing who he was, you'd probably be able to identify him as Ironhide.

    Bayverse Bumblebee is an incredibly odd case where the new look has actually started to replace the old one, in much the same way as Carol Danvers is starting to become the definitive Captain Marvel. Most post-2007 Bumblebees take a lot of design elements from Bayverse Bee; TF: Prime/RID 15 Bumblebee, Cyberverse Bumblebee, the IDW G1 Bumblebee and, of course, Movieverse 2.0 Bee. Now, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, since G1 Bee was a little too "cute" for the new, more badass interpretation of the character.

    The '84 Decepticons, however... pretty much suck when it comes to design, with the exception of the Seekers and Soundwave. The '85 Cons are better - however, let's be realistic here, we probably won't be seeing them in the films any time soon.

    Now, this is a controversial opinion, but the Bayverse designs for Megatron, Ravage and Laserbeak were actually better than the G1 designs; Bayverse Megatron's design makes him look more intimidating and scary, whilst Ravage and Laserbeak's Xeno-panther/vulture designs convey the essence of their characters, whilst being scary and unique and alien at the same time. Just because the G1 designs came first doesn't mean they're better.

    Now, Bayverse Starscream and Soundwave are modernisations of the original design gone wrong - the essence of the characters has been lost. Yes, there are good elements in the designs, but pretty much the basic look of Starscream and Soundwave has been lost. Having said that though, Starscream gets props for actually acting like his G1 counterpart - and being just about as threatening as him too (i.e. not at all).

    DOTM Shockwave is more like what should have happened with Starscream and Soundwave - take the basic outline of the G1 character and tweak it - either to make it look scarier, account for scale issues or, in Soundwave, to put kibble on for a new alt-mode.

    A good comparison for DOTM Shockwave is MonsterVerse Mothra. There's a vague similarity to Showa Mothra, but there's multiple aspects changed - smaller head, greater wingspan, changed wing patterns, praying mantis-like forelimbs, more hornet-like abdomen, as well as the stinger and the ability to spit webs in the Imago form... it's vaguely similar to the Toho Mothra, but it's markedly different in many aspects, mostly to make it look like a real insect.

    And that's what you see when you look at DOTM Shockwave - put him next to G1 Shockwave, you can see they're different incarnations of the same character. There's more commonalities between DOTM Shockwave and G1 Shockwave than there are differences.

    Now, I love it when films take outdated or ridiculous designs and make them into something actually compelling - for example, KOTM, which took the ridiculous Toho designs and ran them through the prism of real animal anatomy, or the MCU, which took the ridiculous comic costumes and made them somehow practical/functional. However, this can only go so far - it needs a passable original design to modernise.

    Now, I wholeheartedly believe a mixture of old and new is the best way to go forward. However, the application of old and new needs to vary with the character - we shouldn't be afraid to start from scratch if we need to.

    TL;DR: For characters whose original design is pretty good (e.g. the '84 Autobots, the Seekers, Soundwave, Shockwave), go more for old, whilst for characters whose original look was shit (e.g. Megatron, Ravage, Laserbeak), go more for new.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Posts:
    9,337
    News Credits:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Location:
    Slaughter City
    Likes:
    +7,060
    Who decides whose original design is 'pretty good' or 'shit'? Also once again, the MonsterVerse designs (At least from the legacy characters) completely goes against what you've argued since all the designs are very faithful to their original counterparts, whereas the majority of the TF characters in the movies are just names slapped onto non-existent characters with random designs.

    Also also I don't think the MCU is the best argument either since they also seem to have an issue with being faithful and a lot of the time it seems their reasons for just arbitrarily changing characters has nothing to do with 'realism', like their shit version of The Eternals who mostly look nothing like who they're meant to represent and the new designs for the Celestials which just look like giant robots rather than the superior design from their cameo in the first Guardians movie. One of my favorite unnecessary changes was changing the Ancient one from a Tibetan man to a white woman was cuz they didn't wanna offend China's sensibilities.

    Realism is in quotes cuz I don't think it's a great argument when focusing on Fantasy or Science fiction in general and I don't think it should be pursued if it actively stifles the story or creativity. Godzilla couldn't exist in reality because he's too big and wouldn't be able to survive on land, plus he'd have plenty of biological issues due to his massive size, would need to eat constantly to survive and would probably collapse in on himself with the first step he took on land because gravity and his own weight would crush him. But this is ignored because it wouldn't give us a great Godzilla story. Interesting? Perhaps! But maybe not good for an adaption unless it's being hyper real on purpose.

    [​IMG]

    This is a good representation of a celestial, but for some reason the galaxy brains at Marvel Studios decided that wasn't enough, so they went with these instead:
    [​IMG]

    Oh I'm sure they'll look impressive on screen, which will distract people from realizing they don't really look like the original characters .. at all. Except for a handful of small elements.

    It's shitty because in a lot of these cases they're taking characters designed by Jack Kirby, and rather than respecting what he created and trying to recreate it as faithfully as possible they just don't do that and make something different instead. Given how the Celestials all mostly have the same body-type anyway they could've easily just repurposed Eson's design and made the others, but nope giant generic mecha.

    "Bayverse Bumblebee is an incredibly odd case where the new look has actually started to replace the old one, in much the same way as Carol Danvers is starting to become the definitive Captain Marvel."

    This is a really bad analogy because that's definitely not the reason why Carol Danvers (A character whose books continuously undersell and are canceled, only to be relaunched only to be canceled again..) has basically stolen Mar-Vell's identity, who was an infinitely better character. It's a decision from the top-down, not at all natural or organic. They want her to be popular so they continue to use her, which amusingly seems to mostly have the opposite effect. Mar-Vell will always be remembered for being a great hero who loved humanity and wanted to protect them, only to eventually succumb to a very human illness and die from it. Carol Danvers will always be remembered for behaving like a villain, having a stupid hair-do and being in one of the absolute worst MCU movies to date.

    "Now, this is a controversial opinion, but the Bayverse designs for Megatron-"

    Lemme stop you there, Megatron's design from the first film is easily one of the absolute worst designs that has ever been conceived for any movie character. His design is incoherent and messy looking somewhat like a crumpled tin can that's been mangled into weird shapes, he's given superficial elements such as sharp gnashing teeth, and snarls like an animal to basically trigger our Darwinian senses and tell us he's a villain with visual cues rather than create a compelling antagonist, it's a hilariously easy thing to do when designing a villain. Just make him look 'scary' or ugly and gross and that'll immediately work for most of the audience.

    You don't gotta try to make him intimidating through his actions and demeanor, just have him behave like a savage, that always works!

    "Just because the G1 designs came first doesn't mean they're better."

    I love how this argument just keeps being repeated and repeated, like if we hear it more it'll make more sense. Once again, who decides which designs are fine and which need to change? What's the grading system look like? What quota's do each design have to meet before they're considered passable? Surely it's possible to just use the original designs as a baseline and still do something modern / new with them? You're right that just because one thing came first doesn't' mean it's better, but in this case it's almost overwhelmingly true that the Geewun designs are superior in almost every way. :lol 

    "Having said that though, Starscream gets props for actually acting like his G1 counterpart - and being just about as threatening as him too (i.e. not at all)."

    He doesn't act like his G1 counterpart, and which one are you referring to? His hilariously out of character Sunbow incarnation? His wily and cunning Marvel iteration? You can't just say "Geewun" and not specify which you mean, since there's quite a few pieces of G1 media. Often people will say "Geewun sux" and they're exclusively referring to the Sunbow cartoon.

    "Now, I love it when films take outdated or ridiculous designs and make them into something actually compelling - for example, KOTM, which took the ridiculous Toho designs and ran them through the prism of real animal anatomy"

    Again, the designs from the MonsterVerse don't defend the Bay designs since they're so fundamentally borked from the outset. You're using actually good adaptions of iconic characters to defend hilariously poor ones, that doesn't make any logical sense. Words like "ridiculous" and "compelling" are also hugely subjective, also "outdated"? Oh so I guess anything that came from before 2000 is 'outdated' now? I'd say a proper term would be retro, outdated is something you wouldn't want to return to, much like the Bay movies. :^)

    "Now, I wholeheartedly believe a mixture of old and new is the best way to go forward. However, the proportions of old vs. new needs to vary with the character - we shouldn't be afraid to start from scratch if we need to.

    TL;DR: For characters whose original design is pretty good (e.g. the '84 Autobots, the Seekers, Soundwave, Shockwave), go more for old, whilst for characters whose original look was shit (e.g. Megatron, Ravage, Laserbeak), go more for new."

    Here's the thing: you aren't wrong about that first part. That's mostly what the Bumblebee designs attempted to do with each character, to lesser or greater success. 'Starting from scratch' should never really be necessary if you have good enough designers working on a film, it can be done, basically any Transformers character could be put in a film accurately, we have that proof.

    And again, who decides which designs are 'good' and who decides which ones are 'shit'? Would you feel this way if you learned you wouldn't be one of the members of this council deciding which designs need to be altered or not?
     
    • Like Like x 6
  3. Magnum Dongus

    Magnum Dongus Stupid Idiot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2017
    Posts:
    413
    Trophy Points:
    132
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Likes:
    +683
    I swear, it’s like people who are against making the designs recognizable have only seen the G1 Megatron toy.
    1442CFD8-4B0E-40D4-B15C-16E4D22244AE.jpeg
    NOBODY wants to see this on the big screen. What people do want is the important design elements of the classic cartoon/comic design with an updated look. No need to just “throw it away” and “start from scratch.”
     
    • Like Like x 12
  4. cybeast

    cybeast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Posts:
    1,062
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +1,135
    Why do we need another thread instead of just continuing on the "in defense of Bayverse design"?

    Ironically (or unironically), both version of Carol was widely hated (although different reasons), MCU's Carol was hated because of it's actor... and more or less that she didn't do anything meaningful in Endgame (should've keep her out and make her movie the start of new phase, imo). And comic Carol was hated because in the badly written Civil War II, she's basically just being stubborn and "NUH UH I'M RIGHT" while trying to fill in Capt's position as Tony's Opposition.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    • Like Like x 5
  5. TheSoundwave

    TheSoundwave The Fox

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Posts:
    5,431
    News Credits:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Location:
    Spanish California
    Likes:
    +6,858
    I think having some faithfulness is definitely nice. But I'm generally more concerned with whether a design is visually appealing over accuracy. If a design looks good to me, accuracy isn't really on my mind.

    For instance, most of the movieverse Constructicons barely resemble their G1 counterparts. But I really adore those designs. Interestingly enough, the one Constructicon that does bear some similarity (Long Haul) is probably my least-favorite of the bunch. I still think he looks cool, but he's the most boring to me. On the other hand, the designs from the new Netflix show are very G1-faithful and I find them super ugly.

    My ideal design is something like BB Optimus Prime...a design that looks fantastic and is very faithful. If I were to make a Transfomers movie, I'd probably try to lean into an aesthetic like that.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Not Blitzwing

    Not Blitzwing Nameslapped Seeker

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2020
    Posts:
    278
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    112
    Location:
    Keystone
    Likes:
    +839
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 8
  7. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Droppin' Space Colonies

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Posts:
    36,132
    Trophy Points:
    392
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    Likes:
    +17,172
    And that's all people want, not hot garbage where the alt. mode is eviscerated into a billion nigh-unrecognizable fragments on the robot form.

    I must have missed the part where G1 Jazz was silver. Not that it matters that much given Movie Jazz was barely in the film.

    Dude, nobody likes Carol Danvers.

    You need to back off and take stock about what exactly Transformers was: two toylines about transforming robots, with completely different aesthetics, smashed together to form a new toyline. The good guys got all the ones that turned into cars, and the bad guys were literally everything else. So stop talking shit about the designs like there actually was a conscious choice to use them, because they only were able to work with what they had, which was a bunch of toys from the late 70s era.

    But he looks like an aluminum can fed through a garbage disposal. "intimidating and Scary" isn't exactly hard to do, as proven with the fact the version in ROTF looks like a one armed mutant potato but still is generally better than the walking pile of sharp edged metal that is the 2007 edition.

    Ravage turns into nothing and Laserbeak is the biggest non-AoE cheating transformer in the entire franchise when it comes to mass shifting. Hell, none of his toys even turn into anything that he was in the film!

    Shockwave looks like Lord Zedd on steroids.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is not exactly a good thing.

    Could you please stop with all these Godzilla comparisons? Very few people here actually follow Godzilla AFAIK and I personally have had no interest in that series, so I honestly have no basis for comprehending what your point is about Mothra here.

    And you'll find that when it comes to people complaining about characters not looking like who they're supposed to be, generally DOTM Shockwave is not one of the names brought up.

    He's one of the rare exceptions.

    Now, movie Soundwave? He has a face with eyes and a mouth. I mean, as far as Soundwave goes, that's already two strikes.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  8. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Posts:
    609
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +754
    Basically, that thread had devolved into discussions about whether Bayverse Starscream looked like a kite, a Dorito or a roof tile.

    Yes, obviously, there's artistic license.

    Whilst all the things you've said about Godzilla's "existability" are true, it's still good to take the outlandish Toho design and run it through the prism of real animal anatomy - that's what they did with Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah in KOTM. It's fun to take these things and make them look like they could exist in the real world - I don't think that stifles creativity at all.

    Hate to say it, but Kirby's dead. He won't care. And more to the point, how do you know the designers aren't massive fans of Kirby's work and took the job because they wanted to honour what he did, but also understand the differences the things necessary to transfer the designs to live-action?

    This was 2007 CGI, mind you - there was worry that audiences wouldn't be able to connect to CGI characters as they would human ones because this hadn't really been done before.

    Except, the Bay designs aren't all equal - the '07 Autobots are very good adaptations of these iconic characters. And, in hindsight, yes, retro was the right term - the point I was saying is that people are getting kinda sick of the rampant G1-true updating and want something new.



    I'm not convinced - there are some Transformers designs I cannot see working in live-action, without being considerably altered. And, of course, the views of whoever's making the film.
     
  9. Minibots

    Minibots The New Order.

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2019
    Posts:
    380
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Canada
    Likes:
    +918
    That was my first thought after reading what the OP posted here.

    Just... why exactly is this a new thread? Weren’t we all having a similar discussion in this thread?

    In defence of the Bayverse designs

    I'm not trying to be a party pooper here... but it seems as if we're discussing the exact same topic that was being discussed in the previous thread. Everything that has been said here could easily apply to the previous thread.

    Okay, as I was writing this post I refreshed the page and read this. I can see why you would feel the need to create a new thread but you could've just posted what you typed up here into that thread and the conversation would’ve shifted away from the whole Dorito thing. I'm not trying to make a big deal out of it. I just think it's strange having two ongoing threads pertaining the exact same subject. Maybe a moderator could merge them or something??
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Droppin' Space Colonies

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Posts:
    36,132
    Trophy Points:
    392
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    Likes:
    +17,172
    Agreed, not to mention if that thread went wildly off topic, what would prevent what is effectively a thread reboot from going the same route?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Rumblestorm

    Rumblestorm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Posts:
    3,496
    News Credits:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +3,860
    I feel like I'm the only here who loves Captain Marvel and finds the hypocrisy behind most of the criticisms against her hilarious.

    Lets close this thread lol.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. ObakaChanTachi

    ObakaChanTachi someone please return the slab

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2018
    Posts:
    4,396
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    212
    Location:
    Jakarta
    Likes:
    +13,695
    Please elaborate on this. If I did not know who Ironhide was, I can't see how these two are supposed to be the same character:
    81xYsgk4lRL._AC_SL1500_.jpg edd7766e4a62657186fa17327ae33d2b.jpeg

    I think this is the problem with your thread, everything is based on opinions. You just go around picking stuff you like and don't like without explaining why you think so. I think this is great! I think this sucks! Why don't you try presenting facts to explain why?

    Honestly seeing y'all debating whether Bayverse designs were good or not seems kind of tiring. You guys just keep endlessly repeating your opinions, and if there's anything I've learned about debates based on opinions, they go nowhere and do absolutely nothing.

    At the end of the day, this one guy will still think AOE designs were garbage, this other guy will still think BB was a shitty "prequel", I'd still maintain all my opinions on the Bayverse to myself and go on with life, and business will go on as usual.

    It's nice to talk about Bayformers. I love talking about Bayformers. It just seems kind of pointless to me writing endlessly for weeks about why Bayverse Starscream looks like a Dorito and should be banished to Hell.

    And also I think you forgot that Shockwave is an '85 Transformer and he's been in 2 live action films already.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  13. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Posts:
    13,015
    News Credits:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    California
    Likes:
    +29,485
    Yeah, I don't think we need two threads going at once about the same thing.
     
    • Like Like x 5
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.