Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

"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"

Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby Onslaught Six » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:54 am

*And so Rattrap goes to Megatron for weapons. This is one of, if not the biggest mis-characterization moments in the series. The whole planet is shut down and Rattrap hears the Diagnostic Drone say it'll take half a solar cycle for Megatron to recover before they know he's in the room. If he really wants a weapon there are literally millions of deactivated drones he could pilfer outside with hours to spare. And he was a resourceful guy in BW. There is no reason for him to turn to Megatron here.


Yes there is. Rattrap just spent half a season as a rat, and once he does transform, it's into a paraplegic. Without a gun. Rattrap is the guy who, even in BW, said he felt naked without a gun. And none of the other Maximals--none of his friends--really trust him or understand what he's going through at this point. Them being douchebags at the beginning is a perfect example of this. They were being irrational and harsh because of Rattrap's actions, and he was hurt because of that.

He has every reason to turn to Megatron.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby Sparky Prime » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:57 pm

Onslaught Six wrote:Yes there is. Rattrap just spent half a season as a rat, and once he does transform, it's into a paraplegic. Without a gun. Rattrap is the guy who, even in BW, said he felt naked without a gun. And none of the other Maximals--none of his friends--really trust him or understand what he's going through at this point. Them being douchebags at the beginning is a perfect example of this. They were being irrational and harsh because of Rattrap's actions, and he was hurt because of that.

He has every reason to turn to Megatron.

Rattrap in Beast Wars also wasn't above "fighting dirty" and/or improvising something else in the event he didn't have or couldn't use his gun for whatever reason. He knows the entire planet is shutdown and will remain shutdown for half a solar cycle with millions of drones he could much more easily pilfer than strike a deal with Megatron. And as we see with the deal, despite feeling hurt by his friends, the point of getting the weapons was still to help their cause. It makes no sense for him to go to Megatron just for weapons. Rattrap is smarter and more resourceful than that. And like I pointed out with "Revelations Part II: Descent", he somehow has a bomb to throw at Tankorr that he didn't get from Megatron.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby Sparky Prime » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:50 pm

Survivor
*Why is it that none of the treatments to purge Megatron's beast mode have worked? We've seen the transformers have technology to change their alternative modes. I'd guess it's something to do with him being a Transmetal but then couldn't he 'devolve' himself and then rid himself of his beast mode?
*Interesting to note the schematics of the Giant Head body Megatron uses in season appear on the screens behind the Diagnostic Drone as he suggests just transferring his spark to a new body. It even appears to have a robot mode although this is the most we ever see of it in the show.
*Rattrap discovers Nightscream has a built-in DNA scanner. Nightscream explains everyone on Cybertron had upgraded so they all have DNA scanners and junked the stasis pods. Seems unnecessary for every Transformer to have a DNA scanner built-in when not all of them are going off world or even have the need/opportunity to scan for a beast mode. Furthermore, isn't the point of a stasis pod to conserve resources on a long exploration trip by keeping the majority of the crew in stasis?
*More arguing among the Maximals.
*Optimus takes the 'seeds of the future' thing a bit too literally with a seed from the tree Rattrap saved.
*Tankorr/Rhinox reveals his plans to topple Megatron and take over in his place. Just like he tried to do when he was forcibly reprogrammed into a Predacon during Beast Wars. Hrm.
*"What are you waiting for? Take him out!"? Apparently Cheetor doesn't care about saving the other Vehicon generals sparks anymore.
*The fossil cave.... It really doesn't make sense for Cybertron to have such an immense cave of fossils with such a diversity of animal species in it. Although I do like the idea that maybe these could have been the remains of the Quintesson built Trans-Organics. Of course Beast Machines gives no indication to that effect but that would actually explain the wide diversity of animals in a sealed chamber below the surface of Cybertron.

The Key
*Rhinox doesn't contain a receptive spark, preventing him from entering the Oracle but of course that doesn't stop the sparkless Diagnostic Drone. Inside we find Vector Sigma and... what happened to it having it's own chamber? Why is it inside the Oracle now?
*I like the idea of the Key being a computer code that can become a physical object. Adds to the degree of how advanced a super computer it is. Although it begs to question why Alpha Trion had to sacrifice himself in G1.
*The Maximals are drilling for water but not all of them are convinced they'll find any on the barren planet. However, in season 2 we find out there is a waterfall on the surface that Nightscream says he and his friends used to go see all the time.
*More conflict between Optimus and Cheetor's difference of opinion on what they should be doing.
*Suddenly magic plot solving organic goop!
*Megatron modified buildings to fly? What practical purpose does that have? And he never uses this ever again.

The Catalyst
*Rhinox says he alone holds the key to a new Cybertron at the end of the last episode, and then he hands the key program to Megatron. Seems odd but Megatron doesn't buy it, which is good to see Megatron isn't fooled by such a flimsy story. Rhinox should be smarter than this. But still, I love this scene as Rhinox coaches the Diagnostic Drone in what to say. "Driving you mad." "No, no! Don't say that!"
*Why does Blackarachnia think the organic goo would have any effect on Thrust to bring out Silverbolt's personality? And how would a computer catalyst program that Rattrap discovers work on it? It must really be magic plot solving organic goo! It can do everything they need it to!
*Thrust turning out to actually be Waspinator is a nice way to tie-up that loose end from BW. And funny to see Blackarachnia's reaction to Waspinator asking if she wants to go steady.
*One second Waspinator talks about enjoying being Thrust partly because he doesn't get blown up as often, but when the drones come in, how come he doesn't remember he's got drones under his command? And its strange Silverbolt shows no signs of knowing what happened to him when Waspinator remembers.
*Doesn't it occur to Cheetor the Vehicons will be able to follow the giant plant back to their base at the fossil cave? His command decisions really aren't any better than some of the ones Optimus makes.
*And then they run into a bigger problem with the drones shooting the vines with the Key, which they realize will contaminate the magic plot solving organic core. But the goo has been shown to reverse the effects of the key so... How does that work?

End of the Line
*Rattrap has invented plant grenades, showing a bit of that old resourcefulness he had in BW and also becoming the teams local inventor to replace Rhinox.
*Optimus learns someone has tampered with the Oracle in the last episode, so why does he so blindly trust this vision he suddenly receives about the Plasma Energy Chamber?
*Optimus plan to use the Plasma Energy Chamber has a bit of a flaw... The Maximal's bodies are techno-organic now, so even though he claims they're safe, being organic, wouldn't it still effect the techno part of them?
*Cheetor ends up the sensible one of this episode suggesting a plan that doesn't involve technological Armageddon.
*Optimus ironically enough is the first to unleash his doom's day weapon, much to the surprise of Rhinox and Megatron neither of which thought he had it in him.

Couple post season one comments that I didn't feel belongs to any particular episode:
*I've noticed usually when the Maximals get knocked out in robot mode they automatically revert to beast mode which makes sense with their new transformations being a conscious effort. However this isn't always consistent as sometimes they do stay in robot mode even when knocked out.
*The characters rarely, if ever show damage in this series. In Beast Wars, if a character got shot you'd see bullet holes, scorch marks, parts broken and so on. But in Beast Machines, a character can take a shot point blank or enveloped by an explosion and they still look perfectly fine afterwords. Really, after all these episodes I can only recall seeing a Maximal with physical signs of damage once, and that was Nightwing's wing which he quickly healed from draining Tankorr's energon.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby BWprowl » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:13 pm

Sparky Prime wrote:And like I pointed out with "Revelations Part II: Descent", he somehow has a bomb to throw at Tankorr that he didn't get from Megatron.

And see, there you go! This is a point I’ve been meaning to address for a while now, and here’s an opportunity to do so: That once ‘The Weak Component’ is out of the way, Rattrap goes back to being Rattrap and everything’s hunky-dory. Seems like the haters hone in on that episode first thing every time it’s time to criticize Beast Machines, like Rattrap was forever ruined because of that one episode, but it’s ONE EPISODE. Out of twenty-six. It’s not like Rattrap’s backstabbing his friends and buying weapons from Megatron for every episode after that, no. Once ‘The Weak Component’ is over he goes back to being the bomb-chucking, wisecracking, short and whiny Maximal we all know and love. ‘The Weak Component’ doesn’t ruin Rattrap or the entire show, it’s one arguably out-of-character episode in a whole series, and is pretty inconsequential in the long run. You can complain about its particular handling of things, but it drives me crazy when people lead off a “Beast Machines sucks because it’s not the same as Beast Wars” rant by acting like this isolated 22 minute chunk means the whole show is ruined from the get-go. He’s perfectly Rattrap-tastic for all the episodes after that, how come no one ever talks about them?

And here’s the other thing: You know why Rattrap acted that way in the episode? I mean, we can come up with theories and justifications all we want, but you know the real reason? For the same reason any character does anything in any fictional story ever: Because the plot required him to. The story the writers wanted to tell in that episode needed someone to go to the bad guy to try to bargain for weapons, and Rattrap, having been trying to transform and fight for six episodes straight, fit the criteria to be the guy to do that. And I’m glad they went that direction, because if they’d kept him completely close to what whiny BW-fanboys like to claim is ‘in character’ for him, then instead of the interesting examination of a sudden handicap on someone’s morals, and personal loyalty between a small group in a high-stress situation, we would’ve wound up with, I dunno, a generic plot where Rattrap builds bombs and comes in to SAAAAAVE THE DAAAAAAY for his mean ol’ friends after they bad-mouth him for having a lame robot mode. Then they admit how wrong they were and how cool and purchasable Rattrap’s toy is and they all laugh and the screen freeze-frames and the credits roll while Megatron shakes his fist and declares that he’ll definitely get those meddling Maximals next week!...yeah, I’d much rather have the poignant parable of a handicapped soldier so desperate to be useful to his allies in a conflict that he’ll temporarily fight for the enemy just to make himself feel useful again.

This all goes for pretty much the entirety of Beast Machines as well. People spend so much time complaining about how their favorite Beast Wars characters got changed that they miss that the ‘changes’ happened to facilitate the story we got, and that the story itself was pretty great. A lot more interesting than if we’d just gotten a straight retread of Beast Wars ON CYBERTRON!

Sorry, this has all been needing to come out for some time.

Also the inconsistent amnesia the Maximals experience is easily explained as the amnesia itself being spotty. The virus didn’t totally wipe their memories, just punched a bunch of holes in them, leaving them with a lot of gaps. ‘s why different characters have different bits missing from their memories.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby andersonh1 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:48 pm

"The Weak Component" is a crisis moment for Rattrap, and it's hardly surprising that he did some desperate things while under pressure. Nor should it be surprising that he and he friends mended fences and returned to fighting their true enemy. We all have a bad day, and Rattrap is no exception.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby Sparky Prime » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:16 pm

BWprowl wrote:Seems like the haters hone in on that episode first thing every time it’s time to criticize Beast Machines, like Rattrap was forever ruined because of that one episode, but it’s ONE EPISODE. Out of twenty-six. It’s not like Rattrap’s backstabbing his friends and buying weapons from Megatron for every episode after that, no.

I believe the reason people point out that episode so much isn't because it 'ruins Rattrap forever' but because it's one of the best examples of mis-characterization that unfortunately is seen through-out the series among all the characters to various degrees.

And here’s the other thing: You know why Rattrap acted that way in the episode? I mean, we can come up with theories and justifications all we want, but you know the real reason? For the same reason any character does anything in any fictional story ever: Because the plot required him to.

And that is just terrible writing. You can't make a character do something totally against the grain of their established characterization just to force them to suit the requirements of the plot in one episode. It'd be like the Hulk calmly sitting down for a cup of tea in one issue because the plot strangely calls for it and then back to full out fighting rage mode the next. It just doesn't make sense for the character to break out of their established background like that.

Also the inconsistent amnesia the Maximals experience is easily explained as the amnesia itself being spotty. The virus didn’t totally wipe their memories, just punched a bunch of holes in them, leaving them with a lot of gaps. ‘s why different characters have different bits missing from their memories.

I'm sorry, but there is nothing easily explained about it at all. There's nothing spotty about their amnesia in the first episode. They talk about remembering each other, fighting the Beast Wars, even being on the way home. Really the way its set up is that the only gap in their memories is the same as what the viewers have seen and the only thing we hadn't seen was the actual trip home or how they ended up being on the run from the Vehicons back to their original bodies. Forgetting Rhinox and Silverbolt is inexplicable. They're too involved with the events from the Beast Wars for the Maximals to not remember.

andersonh1 wrote:"The Weak Component" is a crisis moment for Rattrap, and it's hardly surprising that he did some desperate things while under pressure.

How is he under pressure? The whole planet is shut down for half a day and he knows it. He could take his time finding weapons anywhere else on the planet... taking them from drones... whatever. There is no reason *at all* he needs to go to Megatron and strike a deal for it.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby BWprowl » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:23 pm

Sparky Prime wrote:And that is just terrible writing. You can't make a character do something totally against the grain of their established characterization just to force them to suit the requirements of the plot in one episode. It'd be like the Hulk calmly sitting down for a cup of tea in one issue because the plot strangely calls for it and then back to full out fighting rage mode the next. It just doesn't make sense for the character to break out of their established background like that.

Would this hypothetical Hulk story be interesting or compelling to read? If yes, then I DO NOT FUCKING CARE HOW ACCURATELY IT ADHERES TO THE HISTORY OF A FICTIONAL CHARACTER. As long as the story the writers are telling at that point works within its own contexts to get its point across and keeps my interest while doing so, then I can hardly be assed to worry about whether or not they got a character 'right', so long as they used them for something worthwhile. The writers of 'The Weak Component' needed a crippled, underpowered veteran to tell their story, and Rattrap, who in this series had been reduced to just that, fit that bill, and they did a good job with it.

Incidentally, isn't that Hulk miniseries 'Gray' about Bruce Banner calmly sitting down and chatting with someone before going into full out fighting rage mode at the very end?
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby andersonh1 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:04 pm

Sparky Prime wrote:How is he under pressure? The whole planet is shut down for half a day and he knows it. He could take his time finding weapons anywhere else on the planet... taking them from drones... whatever. There is no reason *at all* he needs to go to Megatron and strike a deal for it.


All his friends are berating him mercilessly and talking about him behind his back, and his new robot mode is a "lemon", as he tells the sleeping Optimus. Yeah, he's having a very bad day.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby Sparky Prime » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:11 pm

BWprowl wrote:Would this hypothetical Hulk story be interesting or compelling to read? If yes, then I DO NOT FUCKING CARE HOW ACCURATELY IT ADHERES TO THE HISTORY OF A FICTIONAL CHARACTER. As long as the story the writers are telling at that point works within its own contexts to get its point across and keeps my interest while doing so, then I can hardly be assed to worry about whether or not they got a character 'right', so long as they used them for something worthwhile. The writers of 'The Weak Component' needed a crippled, underpowered veteran to tell their story, and Rattrap, who in this series had been reduced to just that, fit that bill, and they did a good job with it.

Maybe that works for you, and that's fine, for you, but it doesn't work for everyone. It is possible to tell a compelling story, yet stay true to the characters you know. That's what good writing should do rather than forcing a character to fit the part.

Incidentally, isn't that Hulk miniseries 'Gray' about Bruce Banner calmly sitting down and chatting with someone before going into full out fighting rage mode at the very end?

I dunno, really not a fan of Hulk personally. But key word there is Bruce Banner.

andersonh1 wrote:All his friends are berating him mercilessly and talking about him behind his back, and his new robot mode is a "lemon", as he tells the sleeping Optimus. Yeah, he's having a very bad day.

Bad day, sure, but that doesn't mean his only option is 'go to Megatron to blackmail him for some guns' when he's got a whole defenseless planet worth of alternatives to choose from.

I would have started posting season 2 by now but honestly I'm not feeling it after reading some of these posts today... That one point I wouldn't even call that my strongest criticism of Beast Machines.
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Re: Revisiting BEAST MACHINES

Postby Onslaught Six » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:05 am

Sparky Prime wrote:
Also the inconsistent amnesia the Maximals experience is easily explained as the amnesia itself being spotty. The virus didn’t totally wipe their memories, just punched a bunch of holes in them, leaving them with a lot of gaps. ‘s why different characters have different bits missing from their memories.

I'm sorry, but there is nothing easily explained about it at all. There's nothing spotty about their amnesia in the first episode. They talk about remembering each other, fighting the Beast Wars, even being on the way home. Really the way its set up is that the only gap in their memories is the same as what the viewers have seen and the only thing we hadn't seen was the actual trip home or how they ended up being on the run from the Vehicons back to their original bodies. Forgetting Rhinox and Silverbolt is inexplicable. They're too involved with the events from the Beast Wars for the Maximals to not remember.


The first two characters who meet each other are Primal and Rattrap on the train. To begin with, Primal doesn't say anything to the Vehicon drones--he doesn't try to talk to them. He doesn't try to tell them to stop. He doesn't do anything, he just runs away. For all we know he doesn't remember he's a Transformer.

The way Rattrap says "Optimus?" it sounds like he literally just remembered who the hell he was. He sees Primal and suddenly some memories start flooding back. By the end of the episode, sure, he remembers Primal and Cheetor and Blackarachnia, and that maybe they fought in this thing called the Beast Wars, but he doesn't even remember that the rat body he's in at first isn't his Transmetal body. None of them seem to even acknowledge that they lost their Transmetal forms. Amnesia's screwy like that. Blackarachnia doesn't remember Silverbolt either. It's questionable how much the Maximals remember about the Beast Wars 'throughout the series.'

How is he under pressure? The whole planet is shut down for half a day and he knows it. He could take his time finding weapons anywhere else on the planet... taking them from drones... whatever. There is no reason *at all* he needs to go to Megatron and strike a deal for it.


I have seriously never even thought of this "planet shut down for half a day" thing before because it doesn't seem like it's a big point.

Also, I showed Beast Machines to my girlfriend, who has never seen Beast Wars (and possibly never will), nor Beast Machines before, and in fact hasn't seen a lot of TF in general. But I said, "This is cool, let's watch it," so we did. I had to explain some simple backstory elements ("These guys went back in time and fought on prehistoric Earth, but now they're back on Cybertron in the modern day, the end," basically) but otherwise just let it go. When The Weak Component came up, I didn't say anything. I asked her what she thought.

"That was actually cool."
"You didn't think it would be 'out of character' for Rattrap to go to Megatron, the bad guy, for weapons?"
"The furry guys were being assholes. And they've 'been' assholes to him the whole time because he can't transform, because he doesn't want to get into this stupid pseudo-mystic bullshit Primal is talking about. That whole thing is seriously kind of getting on my nerves about this show. I actually sympathize with Rattrap. Screw shooting energy out of my hands, give me a gun!"
"That's all I needed to hear."

Also! Something very few people bring up. Rattrap was CONSTANTLY talking about how he couldn't wait to get back to Cybertron in BW. He might be the most homesick of all the Maximals in the show. (I actually typed Autobots at first. Wow.) Sure, he deals with it like everybody else, but he's ALWAYS talking about Cybertron, and how great it was, and how he can't wait to get back there and look at strippers. And then he gets there, and the whole place has been shut down and taken over by Megatron, and everyone he ever knew is probably dead. Oh, and now he has to deal with Primal being a mystic for some reason and he can't just transform with a voice command like he used to, and he's a paraplegic, and everyone is giving him shit for it. That'll break anybody. (Or should I take over Earth and kill everyone you've ever known, Sparky? Would that help you sympathize with him?)
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