Revisiting BEAST WARS

"What? Transformers made from animals instead of vehicles and stuff? Doesn't sound so great, throw it to Kenner division, maybe they can make a quick buck or something."
Beast Wars, Machine Wars, Beast Machines... seeing a pattern? Coming soon: "Wars Wars"

Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby Mako Crab » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:42 pm

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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?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyJD2PL6408&feature=related

And if your're really curious, the hilarious japanese version.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGDOzMTpXpM


Beast Wars (part 1)
written by Bob Forward

on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-3X4A-QFV8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdoVtqra39s&feature=related

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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http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW12.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW14.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW17.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW18.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW110.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW111.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW112.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd160/MakoCrab/BW113.jpg
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby onslaught86 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:37 pm

Heh, yeah, those first few eps were reeeeally stretching it. EXTREME 90s guitar riffage and AWESOME catchphrases and WOAH it's CG. Truth be told, I was 'so' put off by those first few episodes (And a few others I caught later) that I dismissed the show in its entirity for years. I kid you not, and maintain that they're really pretty bad for those first few.

And we shall call it the blah blah blah. Yay for late S1 and S2, is all I can say.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby BWprowl » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:05 pm

No one should watch Pre-'Trigger' Beast Wars. That should just be the law.

I mean seriously. In ten years, how are we going to explain to new fans, just starting out watching that *this* was the greatest TF show ever? They just aren't going to believe us.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby onslaught86 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:18 am

BWprowl wrote:No one should watch Pre-'Trigger' Beast Wars. That should just be the law.


And we shall call them..the Beast Laws!

Okay, 'I' think I'm funny.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby Gomess » Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:28 am

"No... I'm CheeTOR!"
COME TO TFVIEWS oh you already did
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby Dominic » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:35 am

Good post. I just pinned it. I am not sure about the pics though. I will let JT know when he gets back from SDCC. There may be band-width concerns.

Dom
-remembers the heady days of the mid-90s.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby Onslaught Six » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:06 am

Dominic wrote:Good post. I just pinned it. I am not sure about the pics though. I will let JT know when he gets back from SDCC. There may be band-width concerns.

Dom
-remembers the heady days of the mid-90s.


Bah. It's 2008. If you don't have DSL or Cable, you're either poor or a sucker.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.


People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby Dominic » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:29 am

First off, I like pre-"Trigger" BW. "Call of the Wild", "Law of the Jungle", and "The Spark" (despite introducting a concept I have grown to hate) are amazing.

As for band-width, I am wondering about JT paying for it. I will leave this up. But, I will let JT know, just to be on the safe side.

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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby JediTricks » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:41 am

Dominic wrote:First off, I like pre-"Trigger" BW. "Call of the Wild", "Law of the Jungle", and "The Spark" (despite introducting a concept I have grown to hate) are amazing.

As for band-width, I am wondering about JT paying for it. I will leave this up. But, I will let JT know, just to be on the safe side.

Dom

The only concerns here are user's download speeds, and DSL should make that cake, these popped right in for me here at my friend's place. These are being hosted on photobucket which is a free host, so no problem for my wallet.

BTW, thanks for posting, those still look great after a decade, I had forgotten.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST WARS

Postby Mako Crab » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:53 pm

You're welcome and glad you like. :D
If bandwidth is an issue, I can always post direct links to all the pictures instead. It's no big deal, really. Just let me know.
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