Cartoon Episode Reviews: Beast Wars [completed]
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2010-01-30, 12:10 PM
Location: behind a monitor
Beast Wars (Part 2)
21 April 1996
"Beat the Destrons!"
Dinobot challenges Optimus Primal to a one-on-one combat over the leadership of the Maximals. Primal tries to negotiate to Dinobot, welcoming the Predacon to join the ranks of the Maximals, though not as leader. Dinobot refuses these conditions, and the two battle. As the Maximals watch, as Primal knocks Dinobot onto his back. Dinobot tells Primal to finish him off, but Primal, being Maximal and all, refuses. Dinobot returns the favour by taking a cheap shot at Primal. Primal stumbles and nearly falls off the rock bridge, but Dinobot saves him, saying that it would not be an honourable victory if Optimus was defeated by slipping.
Optimus Primal and Dinobot continue their duel. The Predacons arrive, and opened fire on the two combatants. Primal pulls Dinobot from harm's way, although that leaves the two of them dangling precariously on the edge of the rock bridge. Dinobot, suffering from energon build-up, tells Primal to drop him so that the gorilla could save himself. Primal refuses. As they began to fall, Rhinox arrives and pulls them up. Seeing that all four Maximals (plus Dinobot) are on the rock bridge, the Predacons attack, blowing up the rock bridge. The Maximals make it in time across the chasm, although Rattrap needed to be saved by Primal.
As Megatron takes out his frustration on Terrorsaur, Scorponok points out that some of the Predacon missiles had blown up a mountain, revealing energon crystals inside. The Predacons head for the mountain, eager to mine the energon for themselves. The Maximals notice them, and decide to follow. In the process, Dinobot is grudgingly accepted into the Maximal ranks, although Rattrap is very unhappy with their newest recruit.
En route, they spot an odd stone circle, obviously not natural. However, before they could do anything, Terrorsaur and Waspinator arrives and strafes them. Optimus Primal transforms into robot mode and flies up, driving the two Predacons away. Dinobot joins the battle, firing with his optic lasers at the Predacons. However, he accidentally blasts a rocky ledge, nearly crushing Rhinox with it. Rattrap is convinced that Dinobot was intentionally trying to kill Rhinox, but Optimus tells him to stand down.
The Predacons arrive at the mountain, although the severe energon radiation forces them to remain in their protective beast modes. The Maximals soon arrive after the Perdacons. The two sides meet each other and clashes. Megatron bites a chunk out of Primal's leg, but he was thrown aside by the Maximal leader. Megatron tries to take out Primal with a missile, but Dinobot intercepts it, saving Optimus Primal from certain death. However, the missile detonated some of the energon crystals, causing a chain reaction to occur. Both sides evacuate the area, just in time for the energon cache to blow up.
Dinobot claims that saving Primal was the payment of a debt (Primal had saved his life earlier). The Maximal leader notes this, stating that it would be good enough for the moment, then proclaims that the Beast Wars have begun.
: Dinobot, Optimus Primal, Rhinox, Cheetor, Rattrap, Megatron, Scorponok, Waspinator, Tarantulas, Terrorsaur
(Seven out of ten)
This episode plays off the plot threads from the first episode nicely, developing the Maximals' characters. The main thing which happened in this episode is Dinobot's defection from the Predacons and his subsequent integration in the Maximal army. Unlike Skyfire from the G1 cartoon, who joined the Autobots with little to no dissent from the other Autobots, Dinobot was not welcome with open hands. Rhinox and Rattrap were practically ready to blow him up after the rock bridge incident, and throughout the series Rattrap would keep bickering with Dinobot. Primal and Dinobot gets some of the better dialogues in their fight scene early on in the episode. The slight friction between Optimus and Rattrap early on in the series is evident as well, although you could see that Rattrap is getting used to the idea of Primal leading the Maximals.
Animation is mediocre, but then, this is an early episode. The battle scenes were nothing spectacular, but at least it delivers an impact, as well as physical contact, which the first part did not. The energon cache thing seems to be an overdone reuse of the plot 'Decepticons head off to an energy source', only that a mine of energon crystals would make a more interesting target for alien robots compared to, say, an oil rig. All in all, this episode is rather entertaining, and a nice introduction for the main characters. It's a shame that most of the Predacons are sidelined into brutish, dimwitted thugs.
Megatron says 'yesss' several times in this episode, playing on from his vaudevillian self from the first episode. 'Yesss' would be later immortalized as the Predacon leader's catchphrase of sorts.
Again, this episode emphasizes that the Beast Warriors cannot handle energon radiation in their robot mode. Spending a long amount of time in their robot modes also shorts out their circuits, forcing them to revert back into beast modes.
This episode marks the first appearance of energon crystals.
This episode is also the first debut of Optimus Primal's 'Prime Jets', which makes him the only Maximal who could fly in Season One until Airazor comes along.
At several points during the episode, some animation, like transformation scenes or Tarantulas firing his machine-guns, are re-used from the first episode, albeit with different backgrounds and whatnot stapled in.
Again, as in the first episode, Waspinator's black stripes are at times mapped vertically instead of horizontally, although in this episode it's not so noticeable.
Scorponok tells Megatron to look at the missiles before they impacted (and revealed the energon cache). Unless Scorponok is a psychic, there was no way he could know that the mountain would have energon inside it.
Megatron bites quite a chunk out of Optimus Primal's leg in the last battle. However, this damage disappears when the Maximals retreat, as well as all subsequent scenes after that.
During close-ups of Primal and Dinobot during the end of the episode, the other Maximals disappear from the background. This is made worse by other shots showing Rhinox and Rattrap standing behind the two during long shots (as well as during their respective dialogues). The rubble from the destroyed energon cache are visible on the scene featuring Rhinox and Rattrap, but said rubble all disappears when Primal and Dinobot talks.
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