RFC News Desk 126 – Our Mostly Spoiler-Free review of Netflix’s Transformers Earthrise

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Summary: This is the RFC News Desk minimally spoiler review of Transformers Earthrise. We will have a full in-depth review with spoilers on Wednesday’s RFC 707. Or not, we haven’t decided yet. <br> <br> <br> <br> Review by Brian Kilby<br> Please note that the text review is a transcript of the podcast.<br> <br> In the first episode of Earthrise, early on into the plot, Megatron interacts with a group of down-on-their-luck Decepticons stationed at a desolate and remote post. The interaction hints at new depths of characterization and heart, and I was genuinely excited about where the series was going. <br> <br> By this point, a couple of friends who were also reviewing the series reached out to let me know that they thought that the series was a definite step up from Siege. And based on what I was seeing, I fully expected it to be.<br> <br> Little did I know that this would be the last hint at heart or real characterization that we would get from Earthrise. <br> <br> Yes, the pacing of the story is better. It more or less feels like the story is supposed to go somewhere. The technical aspects of the story are more refined, but the execution lacks any real artistry. <br> <br> Like with Siege, I really don’t know who the audience is for this series. I know that some people liked Siege. I’ve come across them on Facebook comments. This is not for kids, and it’s not really for diehard Transformers fans either. The characters on-screen resemble characters who have come before in earlier series, and they usually even bear the same names. But the words they speak, the actions they take, the essence bears little resemblance to any previous iteration of the character. <br> <br> Earthrise is incredibly boring, and I don’t get the point. Surely kids aren’t going to try to play out the Cybertronian politics with the toys that Santa brought them Christmas morning. Little Billy isn’t going to prostrate his Optimus Prime in front of Little Johnny’s Megatron and beg for forgiveness. Sally isn’t going to have her Bumblebee give monotone commands to her imaginary crew of the Ark. <br> <br> I have a hard time believing that this is the muse that the design team draws inspiration from as they design awesome transforming robots. The toys do not spring to life on screen. This is not some visionary realization of the Transformers mythos. The characters are given limp life and plod along toward whatever the goal is. I don’t even really know. It has something to do with the AllSpark. <br> <br> The series lacks passion and steadfastly deprives you of any. As consistent as it is, it has to be a conscious choice that is deliberately executed scene by scene.<br> <br> Several new characters are introduced, but three stand out as exceptionally disappointing. If you know me pretty well, you’ll recognize that two of my all-time favorite Transformers are introduced, and I couldn’t have been more disappointed. The other character will be pretty evident once you watch the series. <br> <br> If you watch the series, it’s a short 200ish minutes in total, so it’s not a huge time commitment. If you liked Siege, you’ll probably like this. If you didn’t like Siege, you’re probably not going to like this either.<br> <br> One final aside, the next series is Kingdom, which we can expect to feature Beast Wars characters heavily. Please, please, please. Just don’t feature Beast Wars characters. Focus on some other planet somewhere else in the galaxy. I love G1 and most of the characters featured in Siege and Earthrise. Watching these characters, which I love, move lifelessly across the screen like some stop-motion taxidermy horror is bad enough. Please spare my precious Beast Wars. I don't think I can bear it.