Episode 3 'The Duel' of the Hasbro / Machinima animated series Transformers Combiner Wars is now available to watch via the Verizon go90 app - and shortly for most non-US fans on the Machinima YouTube channel too! UPDATE: If you are a non-US viewer, the episode should now also be available for you, check it out embedded below.
Keep your optics tuned to Seibertron.com for an episode review soon - and read through our thoughts on episodes one and two in the meantime, too.
Via a number of different sources, we have some behind the scenes tidbits concerning the Machinima Transformers: Combiner Wars animated short series, currently airing on go90 and the Machinima YouTube channel every week. The first is an interview with Amy Johnston, the voice of Maxima in episode 1 'The Fall', via ComicBookMovie. Snippet below, and full piece here!
CBM: How did you get involved with Combiner Wars?
Amy Johnston: "I got involved with Transformers: Combiner Wars through Bat in the Sun whom I had worked with previously on their show "Super Power Beatdown".
CBM: Were you a big Transformers fan growing up?
Johnston: "I have definitely been a Transformer's fan so when I found out about the role of Maxima I was super excited! How cool to have my own Transformer character! I love her!"
CBM: How did you find the right voice for Maximia?
Jonston: "Maxima was described to me as a strong female character who had a relationship wtih Windblade so I made sure to give her strength and passion yet retain a femininity about her."
The second is some further insight into the series with producer Eric Calderon, via ComicBook.com, discussing a number of aspects on the creation of the characters, their interactions and the story as a whole. Full piece here, and a selection below!
Is there a challenge that's inherent to doing something like this? When you look at web series, you have a lot of like "Okay, we just grew up this property that you like" and it's mostly played for laughs. Is there a challenge to doing this seriously and not feeling like another kind of web series that's trying to take a fun?
The great thing is, both Machinima and Hasbro, they have never used that word with me. They said "You are making a series." They always put it at a higher level, and the show is budgeted, and distributed in a very sophisticated way, that to me, is not like a webseries at all.
So I think about this as an adaptation, I just go "Hey, it's my job as a creator to make the best work I can" and I don't think about "Oh it's only for this category so let's have fun", I want to tell this combiner wars story, and I'm going to tell it in 40 minutes. That's almost a movie, so I really treat it like that. There's act breaks, there's a solid structure to the character development, there's resolution. That's what I'm worried about.
Seibertronians, it's review time! As reported on earlier, Machinima's Combiner Wars series now has a second episode, and it's now online! After a less than satisfactory first episode, this episode will really tell the fate of the series. Yay or Nay? Let's break it down to find out.
We start on Cybertron this time, as apposed to Caminus in the first episode, and we quickly change to a shot from what I'm assuming is Starscream, as it cuts back and we see him flying just a moment later. Starscream is on a reconnaissance mission, to gather information on the state of Cybertron. On his flyover, he witnesses some bombs going off on the surface below.
From this vantage point it almost looks like Starscream was the one that dropped the bombs, but I seriously doubt this is the case.
We pan backwards, as mentioned before, to see the Decepticon fly to a large silver building. Here again we have an issue with the choppy animation. As mentioned previously on the boards, Starscream appears really choppy, while the background moves fluidly with the camera.
Starscream enters the building
Starscream enters the building from a top landing bay, and slowly descends using the thrusters on his feet. He lands and meets with Rodimus and, randomly, the Mistress of Flame. These bots are apart of the "Council" we've been hearing about.
They discuss the state and threat of the combiners, and how word of Computron and Menasor's fight has broken out on Cybertron. This is why there's so much unrest on the planet. Peace has been achieved between the AutoBots and Decepticons - and the council doesn't want to ruin that. They all consider using the "Enigma of Combination" for one reason or another. Rodimus wants to use it to take over an army of combiners, turning a threat into an asset. The Mistress wants to use it to wipe out all the combiners in one felled swoop. Starscream has an objection to this, as the combiners are transformers, too. Wiping them all out would be genocide. Besides, some of the Combiners have been loyal to, even fought for, the council.
Rodimus and the Mistress of Flame are introduced to the series
The Mistress feels it isn't Starscream's place to talk about killing other transformers, given his past. We also learn in this discussion that not only is Optimus Prime in hiding, but Megatron as well.
See, now we're getting somewhere. Now we have a story to work with. One that plays with the original concept that was proposed, and not too terribly I might add. There are still some issues, such as some of the lines delivered are a bit stiff, and the mouth-movement-to-actual-voice-and-words is way off and not ignore-able, but it goes leaps and bounds above episode one. But we're not done yet.
We start to view the council meeting through the scope of a sniper rifle. It targets Rodimus, Starscream, and the Mistress. The council walks over to the Enigma of Combination, and agree they should study all it's powers before making any brash decisions.
A sniper sets up an attack on the council
The sniper is revealed to be Windblade, set on stopping the council one way or another. She decides to fire at the Enigma, and somehow misses. She hits Starscream in the shoulder, and he falls. Another problem I have is right here. There's such a weird, delayed reaction to Starscream being shot by the rest of the council. There's a good two seconds before they really do anything. The Dialogue and sound effects become a little clunky here, as the Mistress raises the alarm and Rodimus checks on the former Decepticon.
The Enigma of Combination
We return to Windblade. She hears a noise behind her and immediately jumps and turns around. It's revealed to be Optimus Prime, now out of exile. He still doesn't say anything, and the episode ends pretty much on the same shot as the previous one.
Overall, episode two is a lot better than episode one. It gives us actual emotions, and actual dilemmas for the characters to face. It still suffers from that 5 minute time constraint, and trying to make people understand a whole new continuity with a new story line in 5 minutes in near-impossible. My only wish is that the past to episodes would have had a bit more of each other in them. Meaning, episode one, the hard-to-follow action-feast that it was, could have definitely used a little more (or, a lot more) story. And, on the flip side, episode two could have used a bit more battles and action. But, all in all, you're starting to win me back Machinima. That Wheeljack name-drop didn't hurt, either.
Thanks to the BatInTheSun's YouTube channel and an alert from Seibertronian Madeus Prime, we bring to you a new video commissioned by Machinima showing off some behind-the-scenes work for their Combiner Wars show! The video includes an interview with both Jason Marnocha (who voices Megatron) and Amy Johnston (who voices Maxima), and shows off the voice cast in the recording booth. Check out the video below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Hey Seibertronians! A bit of Rescue Bots news for you tonight. We saw it at Comic Con, we saw it online, but for some reason no one had seen the Rescue Bots Griffin Rock Fire House Playset at a brick and mortar store!. But wait no longer! It's been spotted by Yours truly at the Council Tree Target in Fort Collins, Colorado. Check it out below!
What are your thoughts on this playset? Does that cool spacebridge sway your opinion one way or another? Have you already seems this at retail? Let us know below!
Hey, Seibertronians! The first episode for Machinima's Combiner Wars Animated series is now online, have you seen it? I know I have! I've made a quick review of it for you, followed by the link to watch the series, so check it out below!
Machinima's Combiner Wars series, centered around characters from the toyline of the same name, held some promise for me when we saw the trailers and screencaps from various conventions. It's premise looked good, original, and tied in nicely with the rest of the current fiction. I was hopeful. However, after watching the first episode, that hope is fading. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, perse, but there's a formula when it comes to a good series opener based off of the gigantic robots we know and love: It has to have Good Characters with good development, a good setting and premise, a nice production quality, and it should set you up well for what the rest of the series is going to bring. This is what made cartoons like Beast Wars, Prime, and, in some of those cases, the original G1 Cartoon so close and unforgettable to a lot of us. Combiner Wars fails on most of these grounds.
Let's break down the first episode.
The series starts off with a fight through a space bridge between Menasor and Computron. Menasor literally tears Computron to shreds, and the autobot combiner ends up "dying". We hit our first road block here. We're immediately thrown into a intense action sequence without any backstory at all. This would be completely fine by me if the rest of the episode tried to explain what's happening, but it doesn't. However, the episode is only five minutes long, so I will let this slide in hopes that future episodes will go into more detail.
Maxima and Windblade take on Menasor
Windblade and new fembot Maxima show up to try to defeat the remaining combiner. We get a small bit of exposition here, but it's only a few lines, and it only explains that Windblade used to be a "City Speaker", meaning she could talk to "Titans" (Metroplex, Fort Max, Etc.) We already knew she could do this, but it's nice to see Machinima try to keep this new series grounded in existing fiction. However, Menasor delivers this dialogue in the new "I will start yelling at random intervals for no reason" voice Machinima gave him, so it's not very easy to listen to. Roadblock #2 comes in the form of the animation. It's pretty good on the whole, but sometimes it's really smooth and fluid, and then sometimes it's broken up and choppy like a motioncomic. So, during the fight between Windblade, Maxima, and Menasor, due to this mix of the two, it's hard to keep track of what exactly is happening.
The series tries to pump some tension into the episode by having Windblade get caught by Menasor, and Maxima feels the only way to save her is to make the Ultimate Sacrifice. She becomes the embodiment of the "Friend/mentor/parent/sibling dies" trope to give Windblade a bit of a backstory and a reason to hate combiners. This doesn't work mainly because she already hates combiners. It's not like she had this drastic change of heart only when her (Friend? Sister? Pupil? We don't know. We never find out) dies. The tension comes across as forced and doesn't get any emotion out of the viewer, especially since the character dying is completely new and we know nothing about her.
Maxima, a new Female Autobot, does two minutes in.
Windblade, now freed, takes on Menasor alone. This isn't a problem, however, because somehow she takes him down in literally two swipes of her sword; about 5 seconds. This would also be excusable if she watched her friend die and went into a Anakin Skywalker-style fit of rage and just started beating up Menasor, but no. She just randomly gets this power with no real change in emotion. This image is finally revealed to be Windblade, cutting Menasor in half, winning a fight that was much easier than it should have been
She kills Menasor after he worries her for a moment, talking about how he and her are alike, both killers. It's just that she uses a good cause to justify it. This story ark holds promise, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. After Windblade leaves, Computron starts waking up. The episode ends with a still shot of Optimus Prime, in the desert we saw him in in his spotlight video.
Windblade leaves after smashing Computron's Autobot badge
All and all, the series does have its flaws, but it's the first episode. I'm willing to give it a chance, and I recommend you do, too. It's only five minutes of your time, and it gives us the Transformers action we all know and enjoy.
Our by-now old friend 52Toys from the Weibo social network has uploaded a video from Cybertron Con 2016, which features a clip from the upcoming Combiner Wars animated series from Machinima and Hasbro! The clip, shown during the event, shows a fight between Megatron and the Contructicons, in an arena looking location. Check it out embedded below!
Seibertronians, we have another Machinima Designer video, similar to the Victorion-centered one we reported on a few days ago straight from the official Transformers instagram. This time it's on the topic of everyone's favorite (not so) jolly green giant, Devastator! The video, embedded below, confirms Devastator will have a part in the show, and his design seems to be based off of the Combiner Wars iteration. Check it out!
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