Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise

Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise

Monday, December 28th, 2020 6:59am CST

Categories: Cartoon News, Reviews
Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 22,922

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Target: 2020
A Review of Transformers: War for Cybertron, "Chapter Two: Earthrise"

Spoiler Free-ish
Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise
Images in this review courtesy of Netflix

With much closer timing to its namesake toyline, the next part of the Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy known as "Chapter Two: Earthrise" is due for release on Netflix in only a few days' time. Picking up where "Chapter One: Siege" left off, Earthrise finds the heroic Autobots adrift in space in search of the Allspark which they themselves sent out there. For a little bit more, here's the official synopsis provided by Netflix:
The WAR FOR CYBERTRON continues with the second chapter, EARTHRISE! With the Allspark gone, Megatron is forced to confront the harsh reality that his Decepticons are trapped on a dying Cybertron while also fighting off the persistent threat of Elita-1 and her Autobots. Meanwhile, lost in the darkest reaches of space, Optimus Prime and his team embark on a desperate mission that will push them to the breaking point as they travel to uncharted new worlds to face spacefaring mercenaries, enigmatic figures from long ago and even their own creators…the Quintessons.

How does this chapter stack up to the first, and to expectations in general? Read on to find out.

Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise
Siege II: Siege Harder

The initial episode ignores the cliffhanger at the end of "Siege" and returns the action to Cybertron. While this does result in the first of many questionable pacing choices, it helps set up the basis for the plot lines to follow effectively while continuing to build on the character of Megatron. It will also serve as a good reset of expectations for any viewers that expect a dramatic shift in tone, acting, or even the quality of production for "Earthrise", in that it really is a sequel to "Siege" and feels like it right from the beginning. Any problems a viewer had with respect to animation, voice acting, or the Tron: Legacy copycat score (my biggest sore point from Siege) will remain in Earthrise. Plan accordingly.

Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise

Based on early trailers and promotional images, many fans are looking forward to the new "faction" known as the Mercenaries, featuring some franchise standards like the conehead Seekers alongside new or sparsely used characters such as Exhaust and Doubledealer. They're only especially present within one episode, but they bring some fun and even humor to the mix and help break up the generally slow pace of the first 2/3 of the show. While not given especially deep characterization, they serve a purpose in the story and do so well.

Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise
Pictures taken moments before tragedy

The writing isn't a huge departure from Siege, but there are a few lines throughout that feel like they'd be more at home in a soap opera or low budget horror film. When these occur for the purpose of levity, such as Red Alert mentioning how he's "always... alert", that's ok and it ultimately provides some welcome personality. When it's in a serious moment and the show follows it up by having the characters within take it especially serious, then I just feel insulted. Some of the new characters introduced see their plot progress too quickly without earning it, while others still are some of the more egregious uses of "they're here to sell toys" that we've seen in a while. Characters appear who speak lots of words that end up not meaning anything which makes the experience more somniferous than stimulating.

Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise

That leads to the big offender with respect to the overall problems carried over from Siege into Earthrise: pacing. Just as the first four episodes of Siege felt like they dragged on, so do three of the first four of Earthrise. Saving almost all of the good stuff for the third act isn't very surprising, but the relative dullness of what comes before it was for me. Some viewers are likely to disagree with this sentiment, and there's definitely an argument to be made that Earthrise does much better at making sure to include action scenes on a regular basis. Unfortunately, when these are padded out with a nearly six minute long conversation between Optimus Prime and Megatron, that loses its luster.

Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise
Not lacking in pretty lights

The show looks very nice, and even downright incredible in some scenes, with the texture artists once again providing a visual treat for Transformers fans. More variation in the environments helps here too, with the backdrop of a galactic journey providing more opportunity for variation than the constant scenery of war-torn Cybertron. Sure, characters still move too much while talking, not enough of them transform, and the cost-saving recycling of CGI character models is completely frustrating at times, but within the framework put forth Polygon did an outstanding job. A particular one on one battle in episode five even added characterization through the action for someone familiar to Transformers fans but wholly obscure to casual viewers that only caught the live action movies, which was an impressive feat and part of the show that I really enjoyed.

Verdict
Transformers News: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise
All Earthrise for the honorable judge

If this review feels very negative, there's a very good reason for it - reviewers were not allowed to mention details about the final episode. This is a really bizarre thing as it's the strongest episode in the series to date and that's really about all I'm allowed to say about it until December 30th. You'll just have to take my word for it that the end of this show was very good and saved it from a much worse numerical score. The rest of it is quite boring. How boring? To be genuinely honest, I haven't had to actively struggle to pay attention to a Transformers show like this since Transformers: Energon. What was being laid down was clear and nothing went super far off the rails, but a good bit of Earthrise just did not land for me. Eventually it was worth it to have made it through, but I don't see myself coming back to this one anytime soon.

Final Score
. :BOT: :BOT: ½
out of
:BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT: :BOT:


Seibertron.com was provided with complimentary advance screening access to Transformers Chapter Two: Earthrise by Netflix for the purpose of this review. "Thank you" to Netflix and Hasbro for this access!


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Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090820)
Posted by Quantum Surge on December 28th, 2020 @ 9:14am CST
Funny how this popped up as I was just about done with my review on Earthrise Runamuck and Runabout. I mentioned that if Earthrise sucks then I'd be at least binge-watching Beavis & Butt-Head given how fans associate those two with the animated duo...if it's easy to find it on a good streaming service, that is. But something that I'm starting to realize is that given how Kingdom's next, I fear that the Beast Wars characters would sound like or be written like these WFC characters. I wouldn't want to imagine Cheetor or Rattrap sounding like Bumblebee or Mirage in this show.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090825)
Posted by morganprime on December 28th, 2020 @ 11:58am CST
The designs too look like toys is a huge mistake IMO it has always been the other way around. It just looks like a super serious Toy Story movie with the budget and engineering limitations in the toy design translated to the screen is very visually off putting. WFC, Siege and ER have been some of my favorite TF releases of all time but I can pass on these toons easily.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090829)
Posted by o.supreme on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:02pm CST
I'm still looking forward to it. While I wont be waking up early before work this time. I'll enjoy binging on Wednesday evening. I was reading a review on another website and something has me a bit concerned.

The reviewer states "Scorponok! Not classic toon size…" (I take this as he is not a giant City Bot, although I could be wrong). This would defeat the whole purpose of being a Titan Class toy in the ER line, and would go against all other portrayals of his Classic personna in Animation (I know the comics are different), but while this is a whole new continuity, I think most viewers tend to skew it closer to the original animated series than any comic book continuity. A non-city bot Scorponok would definitely be disappointing.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090830)
Posted by Sabrblade on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:08pm CST
o.supreme wrote:I'm still looking forward to it. While I wont be waking up early before work this time. I'll enjoy binging on Wednesday evening. I was reading a review on another website and something has me a bit concerned.

The reviewer states "Scorponok! Not classic toon size…" (I take this as he is not a giant City Bot, although I could be wrong). This would defeat the whole purpose of being a Titan Class toy in the ER line, and would go against all other portrayals of his Classic personna in Animation (I know the comics are different), but while this is a whole new continuity, I think most viewers tend to skew it closer to the original animated series than any comic book continuity. A non-city bot Scorponok would definitely be disappointing.
Maybe he could still be big but not city-sized big. Like, Combiner-sized big.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090832)
Posted by o.supreme on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:16pm CST
Sabrblade wrote:
Maybe he could still be big but not city-sized big. Like, Combiner-sized big.[/quote]

To me, That would still not really make sense. I mean when you look at the amazing artwork on his Titan Sized toy box, and how they portrayed Omega Supreme in Siege...Scorp should be about the same size. The only size/scale anomaly I noticed in Siege was Astrotrain (taking notes from Cyberverse for who knows why). Especially if FJ DeSanto is the fan of Headmasters Anime he claims to be, I would think Scorponok is one character he would not mess up. Of course all this worry will be dismissed, and I apologize in advance if it is revealed that he in fact accurate to the size he should be.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090833)
Posted by ScottyP on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:16pm CST
Sabrblade wrote:
o.supreme wrote:I'm still looking forward to it. While I wont be waking up early before work this time. I'll enjoy binging on Wednesday evening. I was reading a review on another website and something has me a bit concerned.

The reviewer states "Scorponok! Not classic toon size…" (I take this as he is not a giant City Bot, although I could be wrong). This would defeat the whole purpose of being a Titan Class toy in the ER line, and would go against all other portrayals of his Classic personna in Animation (I know the comics are different), but while this is a whole new continuity, I think most viewers tend to skew it closer to the original animated series than any comic book continuity. A non-city bot Scorponok would definitely be disappointing.
Maybe he could still be big but not city-sized big. Like, Combiner-sized big.
Mild spoiler but I'll tag it anyway: it's more or less toy scale used when Scorponok's in bot mode. He may be a little smaller than toy scale in scorpion mode, there's a scene I'm thinking of involving Optimus where I feel like OP's toy would be too small if recreated. Particulars aside, he's very big but not huge/city-bot sized. For what they do with him, it really doesn't matter, tbh.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090834)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:19pm CST
o.supreme wrote:I'm still looking forward to it. While I wont be waking up early before work this time. I'll enjoy binging on Wednesday evening. I was reading a review on another website and something has me a bit concerned.

The reviewer states "Scorponok! Not classic toon size…" (I take this as he is not a giant City Bot, although I could be wrong). This would defeat the whole purpose of being a Titan Class toy in the ER line, and would go against all other portrayals of his Classic personna in Animation (I know the comics are different), but while this is a whole new continuity, I think most viewers tend to skew it closer to the original animated series than any comic book continuity. A non-city bot Scorponok would definitely be disappointing.
I understand why you would say that. Most fans prefer the version you also do, but I am partial to the other version, since that one was a big part of my favorite TF continuity. So I'm looking forward to seeing my favorite version in animated form. :-D

As for the new installment, I was really hoping the creators would listen to the criticisms on Siege and make adjustments to ER accordingly. But I guess they think they know what they're doing. I'll still watch ER, just for the sake of following the story, but as it's been advised, I'll have very low expectations.

As for a 6-minute convo between Prime and Megatron being a downer, I wouldn't consider it that as long as their interaction gives exposition and furthers the story along in an interesting way.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090837)
Posted by ScottyP on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:27pm CST
Rodimus Prime wrote:As for a 6-minute convo between Prime and Megatron being a downer, I wouldn't consider it that as long as their interaction gives exposition and furthers the story along in an interesting way.
It does further the story, ymmv on it being interesting. My biggest issue with it is that it could have been done four times faster and gotten the same job done.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090838)
Posted by o.supreme on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:28pm CST
Thank you RP To be fair though...I'm not sure which version is preferred overall. It seems like fans of Animation vs Comics are pretty split. I'm just voicing my concerns based on the tone created for this series thus far. If from the outset this series was heavily inspired by Marvel Comics or IDW, while it wouldn't exactly be my cup-of-tea, I would fully expect Scorponok to be the slightly-taller-than average bot consistent with how he was shown in those comics, and not have a city mode.

Also, thanks Scotty for your clarification, much appreciated. ;)^
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090841)
Posted by o.supreme on December 28th, 2020 @ 1:47pm CST
Without getting spoilery, how well do you who previewed it early think the ER toyline was represented? I mean obviously from the outset, they are not 100% beholden to what toys are in what series (BB and Elita was planned as Mainline and became Netflix exclusives, then you have Selects like Bugbite showing up, you also have at least ONE Kingdom Character showing up in ER etc...)

For Sige, I thought the line was represented well. While no Battlemasters or Micromasters appeared (aside from a couple cassette minions of Soundwave & Soundblaster). Pretty much everyone from the Mainline appeared except: Sixgun, Brunt, Crosshairs, Springer, & Apeface.

However due to budgetary constraints, I know only a fraction of the characters from Siege will be appearing in ER, but still, it feels like a LOT of ER characters are going to be left out, unless the previews we've seen have done a really good job of holding back.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090856)
Posted by Seibertron on December 28th, 2020 @ 9:17pm CST
Sabrblade wrote:
o.supreme wrote:I'm still looking forward to it. While I wont be waking up early before work this time. I'll enjoy binging on Wednesday evening. I was reading a review on another website and something has me a bit concerned.

The reviewer states "Scorponok! Not classic toon size…" (I take this as he is not a giant City Bot, although I could be wrong). This would defeat the whole purpose of being a Titan Class toy in the ER line, and would go against all other portrayals of his Classic personna in Animation (I know the comics are different), but while this is a whole new continuity, I think most viewers tend to skew it closer to the original animated series than any comic book continuity. A non-city bot Scorponok would definitely be disappointing.
Maybe he could still be big but not city-sized big. Like, Combiner-sized big.


He's still big. Combiner-sized big is a good comparison. When Optimus Prime was attacking Scorponok in scorpion mode, it seemed very much in scale with the physical Earthrise toys to me. I'm fairly certain he was comparable in size to Omega Supreme, but Mirage's hologram of Omega Supreme that attacked Scorponok might be throwing me off on that.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090857)
Posted by Seibertron on December 28th, 2020 @ 9:21pm CST
Rodimus Prime wrote:I understand why you would say that. Most fans prefer the version you also do, but I am partial to the other version, since that one was a big part of my favorite TF continuity. So I'm looking forward to seeing my favorite version in animated form. :-D


I'd really like to see Leader Class versions of Scorponok and Fortress Maximus at some point in the future. They really need both versions! It'd be a great way to keep two main Transformers on shelves and give us a new way to have those characters in our collections.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090859)
Posted by Quantum Surge on December 28th, 2020 @ 9:42pm CST
While the size of Scorpy would be one understandable complaint, I'd be more concerned if Earthrise actually improves on Siege or not given how I hated Siege.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090860)
Posted by Razorbeast88 on December 28th, 2020 @ 9:44pm CST
I wouldnt mind some of the city bots as leader class or commander class
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090867)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on December 28th, 2020 @ 11:50pm CST
Seibertron wrote:
Rodimus Prime wrote:I understand why you would say that. Most fans prefer the version you also do, but I am partial to the other version, since that one was a big part of my favorite TF continuity. So I'm looking forward to seeing my favorite version in animated form. :-D


I'd really like to see Leader Class versions of Scorponok and Fortress Maximus at some point in the future. They really need both versions! It'd be a great way to keep two main Transformers on shelves and give us a new way to have those characters in our collections.
In the comics both of them were about a head taller than Powermaster Prime IIRC, so maybe Commander Class might be more suitable, if we're going for accurate scale. Good thing is in the comics they didn't have a city mode, so their alt modes and transformations don't have to be compromised. I wonder, would we get a smaller version of TR Maximus or the original '87 version?
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090868)
Posted by Seibertron on December 28th, 2020 @ 11:53pm CST
Rodimus Prime wrote:In the comics both of them were about a head taller than Powermaster Prime IIRC, so maybe Commander Class might be more suitable, if we're going for accurate scale. Good thing is in the comics they didn't have a city mode, so their alt modes and transformations don't have to be compromised. I wonder, would we get a smaller version of TR Maximus or the original '87 version?


For a "head taller", I'd be fine with Leader Class. Commander Class would be too big. I just want to see them at the standard Leader Class size along the lines of Double Dealer or Overlord. No need to be that specific with scale. Head-to-head with Super Ginrai / Powermaster Optimus Prime is fine with me.

Though, after looking at some of the old school Marvel Comics, I'm not sure that Fortress Maximus and Scorponok were taller than Powermaster Optimus Prime. You might have mis-remembered this, as it seems in one example below, it's the other way around. In the others, Scorponok is shown as the same height as Optimus. Either way, I wouldn't take this scale that serious. Just a Leader Class toy comparable in size to Powermaster Optimus Prime would be sufficient.

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Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090869)
Posted by william-james88 on December 29th, 2020 @ 1:17am CST
Seibertron wrote:
Rodimus Prime wrote:In the comics both of them were about a head taller than Powermaster Prime IIRC, so maybe Commander Class might be more suitable, if we're going for accurate scale. Good thing is in the comics they didn't have a city mode, so their alt modes and transformations don't have to be compromised. I wonder, would we get a smaller version of TR Maximus or the original '87 version?


For a "head taller", I'd be fine with Leader Class. Commander Class would be too big. I just want to see them at the standard Leader Class size along the lines of Double Dealer or Overlord. No need to be that specific with scale. Head-to-head with Super Ginrai / Powermaster Optimus Prime is fine with me.


I agree. Leader would be fun for Scorponok and Fort Max. And instead of making them toy accurate, their designs would take cues from the comics (G1 comics for Scoponok and IDW Comics for Fort Max).
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090872)
Posted by Rodimus Prime on December 29th, 2020 @ 1:49am CST
Yeah I guess I did get it wrong, it's been a while since I read the comics. I just remembered them being bigger than most other bots. Willy-J, as for Maximus, I would like to see the original version. IDW Max looks good, but if we only get 1, it should be the OG.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090873)
Posted by Seibertron on December 29th, 2020 @ 1:52am CST
Rodimus Prime wrote:Yeah I guess I did get it wrong, it's been a while since I read the comics. I just remembered them being bigger than most other bots. Willy-J, as for Maximus, I would like to see the original version. IDW Max looks good, but if we only get 1, it should be the OG.


Yah, I'd want to see the same style on both. Either a hybrid look or a G1 miniature look. I'd also be good with a simplified Titan Class bodies as Leader Class. Only requirement I have is that they look like Fortress Maximus and Scorponok and that they retain Spike and Lord Zarak headmasters with Titans Return compatibility.
Re: Review of Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Chapter Two: Earthrise (2090874)
Posted by william-james88 on December 29th, 2020 @ 2:01am CST
Netflix sent us a whole slew of stills from the first two episodes of Transformers War for Cybertron Trilogy Earthrise. You can click here to be sent to the full gallery or on any image below. We also have a review of the series.

The gallery features screen captures from the first two episodes of Earthrise. Some of the primary characters featured in the stills are newcomers Mercenary Doubledealer, a Quintesson named Deeseeus, and previous Siege characters Optimus Prime, Megatron, Elita-1, Jetfire and others.

The series comes out tomorrow, December 30th, 2020. Be sure to let us know what you think on our forums.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #267 - Netflix Earthrise Reviewed
Twincast / Podcast #267:
"Netflix Earthrise Reviewed"
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Posted: Monday, December 28th, 2020

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