Thursday, August 19, 2021

Transforrmers Closes the New Time Loop

Netflix released the final part of their Transformers War For Cybertron Trilogy:  KINGDOM.

Yeah, spoilers are coming.  
We Transformers nerds watched it all already, and the rest of the world doesn't care.

I watched all six parts in two days during a work week.
I probably would have watched it all in a day if it was the weekend, but I had to finish He-Man first.

I want to lay that out there before I start complaining about things, which everybody knows is inevitable, as evidence that I did enjoy it.

If anything it's even more beautifully animated than the previous seasons, mostly set on a lush and detailed prehistoric earth, and bringing in the Beast Wars characters.

The deep dives into the the mythology and the mystical parts of Transformers lore was wicked cool.

Having the formerly hand drawn Generation One Transformers rendered as great looking  CGI was fantastic again.

But since computer animation tends to age worse than hand drawn, the technology updates on the Maximals and Predacons were absolutely gorgeous.

Also, the writing on those characters and their personalities was a much better match (for the most part) to the previous shows than the Generation One characters have been.

If I were a betting man, I'd wager the creative team were bigger fans of the Beast Wars era than the original Transformers cartoons.

And therein lies the problem, connected to what is the "fundamental flaw" of the War for Cybertron version of the franchise.  Optimus Primal was a more inspiring, competent and effective leader than Optimus Prime was.

Side question for those who know the shows. I know it is a new continuity, and I know its an altered timeline, but did anyone else find it really weird having the Maximals and Predacons about the same size as the Autobots and Decepticons when the original Transformers were MASSIVELY larger than the Beast Mode ones in the original show?

Overall the first five episodes told a cool arc. Time travel is common in Transformers, and it was great seeing the two eras of 'bots together.  There were more robots walking, talking and worrying about things scenes, but there was also a higher percentage of fun action stuff.  The climax of Episode Five had an awesome twist that I did not see coming. (That one I'm leaving unspoiled.)

The references to Unicron, and how he takes over Megatron- forming Galvatron in the future were well used, and provided an interesting drive for Megs and the others who knew about it, with particularly cool moments for Starscream.

I am not a fan of the idea of Unicron reformatting Optimus into an evil Nemesis Prime, and having the entire plot, including that future transformation based on the HUGE MISTAKE Optimus made that drove the whole show was worse. (Fundamental Flaw)

Galvatron and Nemisis Prime actually showing up from another timeline for the final episode battle across a nearly destroyed Cybertron, although they were vanquished by the combined efforts of all four factions,  brought a downer feel to the whole thing.

Optimus Prime's lack of leadership, confidence, and being the reason for the disasters is the "Fundamental Flaw."  Yes, I do know he went through a self doubt arc in the comics, but:
A) It was an arc, that he got through
B) I can't get into the Transformers comics (except crossovers which seem to work best in that medium). I need to see them moving I guess.

It's like the "Injustice" franchise in DC and all the other versions that pretend to be cool and edgy by making Superman turn bad.

The whole point of Superman and Optimus is, even though they are the most (or among the most) powerful characters, they NEVER would turn bad, and ALWAYS try to do the right thing even when it means avoiding the easy path.

They are heroes to be aspired to, not ones to be knocked down to be more relatable.

No matter if they fix it somehow in a later show, the fact remains that almost everyone on Cybertron is dead, and its Optimus Prime's fault. 

Like Superman, he's not supposed to be a tragic hero, driven by doubt and failure.  He's  supposed to be the one that inspires others to rise up, do good and succeed.

And it sounded too much like Megatron led  a rebellion of the opressed Decepticons against higher stationed Autobots in the past. Making him a noble individual who has fallen to more and more unpleasant methods.  

I want my evil robotic despots to stay evil robotic despots, so they can be vanquished by the noble heroes, thank you.  If I wanted deeply psychological dramatic conflict, I wouldn't be watching a franchise built on giant robots that turn into vehicles beating the snot out of each other.

Final thought, the best version of G. I Joe are the Larry Hama comics. This is due to the writing.  One thing those comics have always done is embrace the fact that there's eighty gazillion characters in the franchise.  Yes there is a main group usually in the spotlight, but there's always room for cameos, side missions and random appearances.

Transformers have similar numbers from their own years of toy waves.

That's going to be hard to do in this version when most of the Cybertronian population is dead.

No comments: