By Dave B.
The Autobots and Decepticons are reaching the final stage of a war that has ravaged their homeworld. The Autobots are on their last legs. When they learn of a Decepticon plan to decisively end the war once and for all, they throw the last of their resources into a desperate gamble that may save their race, but destroy their species.
I had high expectations for Siege when I found out it was being produced by Rooster Teeth, the studio behind the marvelous series, RWBY. Rooster Teeth has a reputation for interesting animation and fantastic storytelling. Siege largely lives up to my expectations.
While I wouldn’t necessarily call the animation quality great, it’s incredibly detailed and has lots of bright colors to break up the overwhelming gloom of war-torn Cybertron. The action sequences are also usually decent. Overall, from a visual perspective, I would say that Siege is solid with occasional moments of being somewhat impressive. Where Siege truly shines, however, is in it’s storytelling. Lots of people are relatively familiar with the general background of the Transformers universe: a civil war devastates the Transformers’ homeworld, and the Autobots flee to keep from being wiped out. What Siege excels at, is filling in the details about how and why the war came to be and how the Decepticons gained the advantage in it. Basically, the conflict started as a class/race war, where the Autobots, despite being the heroes, are not blameless for the conditions that led to the war, by any stretch of the imagination. In other words, the Decepticons are presented in a more sympathetic way than they ever have been in any other Transformers movie or television show.
I don’t have any significant complaints about Siege, but at times it had trouble holding my full attention. Part of that is because I’m familiar with the outlines of the story so, despite the increased depth of storytelling, the plot was predictable. This isn’t a new take on Transformers; it’s a more in-depth telling of an existing story. Further, the pacing isn’t always great. There’s a bit too much unnecessary conflict among allies and foolish decision-making for my taste. While not egregiously common, the occasional overly convenient and fundamentally ludicrous decisions of some of the characters don’t seem plausible and evoke more of a mild eye-roll than a feeling of excitement and intrigue.
Overall, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Chapter One: Siege is a good, but not great addition to the Transformers universe. What that means is that it’s far superior to any of the live-action movies. What would push the remainder of the trilogy into the “great” status, is telling a story in the Transformers universe where we aren’t already aware of what the result will be. Chapter Two may indeed head in that direction. I look forward to it’s release so that we can find out!
Approx. Episode Length: 24 Minutes
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.