I thought I’d check out the first couple of episodes of this latest incarnation of Transformers on the small screen (now via Netflix) but turns out that wasn’t enough for me and I binged all six episodes. Being an old fan from way back I was pleased to see the direction taken and what it might mean in the future.
Though the Michael Bay Transformers movies succeeded in bringing the characters into a live action setting I felt one of their flaws was straying too far from what fans wanted to see leaving them feel like a hollow interpretation of the source material. Admittedly the story side was originally created to tie a couple of toy lines together under a single brand (go watch The Toys That Made Us) but many of the people responsible for it created some cracking work over the years that really defined the universe they lived in. It’s worth adding that my experience with the franchise is from the early years and apart from the movies I’ve not been exposed to any of the newer comics or shows so I might have missed a few things. Call me “old school” I suppose!
This new tale is broken up into three parts (hence the trilogy) with the first part covering six episodes. The Decepticons are in control of their battered planet Cybertron with only the last vestiges of the Autobots resistance left to deal with. The Autobots however learn of a plot that may finish them but stopping it may also signal the end of Cybertron itself.
Warning: spoilers follow!
What I like
- The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons goes deeper than just good guys versus bad guys. As hinted during one episode it sounds much like an uprising from the worker classes and the Autobots aren’t entirely innocent either.
- Megatron has some dimension to his character. Seeing him be the one to initially offer peace and Optimus Prime refuse is certainly unexpected. Having both spout the same rhetoric from different perspectives was a great moment and was handled really well.
- Fans of the original TV series will be pleased seeing that the characters share a good resemblance to those designs. Even Jetfire and the vehicle forms of Starscream, etc pull from that.
- Impactor! One of the key characters from the awesome Target: 2006 storyline from the Marvel UK run makes an appearance and is given his time.
What I don’t like
- Not all the characters fit well. Arcee (first seen in Transformers: The Movie) is probably the worst offender as her design doesn’t really fit in at all with the boxier look of the others. It was probably a little too much fan service.
- There’s not as much transforming going on as you might hope. Many of the new characters you don’t even get a chance to see in their vehicle forms which seems a waste.
I’m not sure if it will take off in the same way as Voltron: Legendary Defender, at least initially, but to me it does feel like the old Transformers I grew up and loved. Best thing is it’s smart enough to build on the best parts without taking too much away from what worked. I’m excited with what I’ve watched so far and am looking forward to the next two chapters when they arrive. 🙂