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Transformers: The Movie Toys!
by: Protoclown

It's no secret by now that, like many oldschool fans, I believe the Michael Bay Transformers film will be a tremendous pile of mold-ridden shit. I've seen the trailers, and though it does appear there will be lots of action and visual spectacle, the characters look laughably horrible. I'd be willing to bet that five-year-old kids could come up with more interesting character designs. Rather than the blocky Transformers I know and love from my childhood, we have instead been given the spindly bug robots of Klendathu, which bear almost no resemblance to any Transformers I know save for the Insecticons. Yes, I've heard the excuse that they tried CGI models of the blocky designs and "they didn't look right", so their apparent solution was to come up with alternate designs for the characters that also don't look right.

With the release of a movie based on a line of toys comes the inevitable release of a toy-line based on said movie. I figured that taking a look at the toys would give me the opportunity to discuss not only the crappy quality of many of the action figures, but why some of the character designs are so embarrassingly bad as well. So here's an extensive rundown of all the characters in the movie, along with a few bonus toys as well:


Fans of the original Transformers series will no doubt remember Prowl, Optimus Prime's right hand man who turned into a police car. Well, in this movie, the shoe is on the other foot, for the police car is actually a Decepticon, with "to punish and enslave" instead of "to protect and serve" written on his side. I've got no problem with his car form; in fact, it looks pretty cool (though I can't recall ever seeing a cop car with that much more black than white before). What's lame is his robot form, where he apparently has steam shovels for arms. Hey Barricade, I hope you never have a need to pick anything up beyond scooping it off the ground and tossing it over your shoulder.


This guy doesn't look half bad, especially in his helicopter mode, though he does look like a bit of a hunchback in his robot form. Every time I see his hands though, I can't help but think that he's wearing little white butler gloves, and that he's about to say something like "Shall I fetch your breakfast, sir?" Also, this is probably just present on the toy, but what's with that odd golden growth on his chest? Perhaps our friend Blackout should go to the doctor for a cancer screening... just to be sure.


Is it just me, or was there a significant dip in quality between this one and the last two? His vehicle mode looks like something out of a Tonka playset, and as for his robot mode, where do I even begin? Most of the new Transformers look like insects (the Decepticons in particular), but for some reason, ol' Bonecrusher here looks more like a proud and regal lion... a lion wearing water wings. Seriously, this is the kind of pitiful, misshapen thing you'd expect to come crawling up and begging you to kill it after you break into some recently deceased mad scientist's secret laboratory. I don't recall seeing much or any of this guy in the trailers, so we can only hope that the movie version looks nothing like this.


The original Brawl was a Decepticon tank who formed the left leg of Bruticus. This new Brawl a completely unrelated tank, and he doesn't look half bad, but for some reason he reminds me of a crab because of his face and his snapping claws. Or maybe his face looks like some kind of Chinese demon mask. Either way, he doesn't look too menacing.


Ugh, what a hideous piece of shit. I always used to think the original Volkswagen Beetle version of the character was one of the lamest Autobots, but I'd take him over this monstrosity any day. Apparently Michael Bay wanted to change him to a Camaro so people wouldn't confuse him with Herbie the Love Bug. Yeah, cuz when he transforms into a twenty-foot tall robot and starts shooting at other giant robots, I'm really going to have trouble making that distinction. Also, the original rumor was that he was going to be a mute character to show that he and Spike Witwicky's relationship goes "beyond words", but they have a voice actor listed for him, so hopefully they've scrapped that horrible idea.


Instead of Soundwave in this movie (and his absence is no doubt a cause of relief for Soundwave fans everywhere), we get Frenzy, who was originally one of the cassettes housed in Soundwave's chest. Now, he's a stand-alone CD player. But he looks almost exactly like one of those pit droids from the pod race in The Phantom Menace, and anything that reminds me of that film cannot be a good thing. Also, bizarrely (and I don't know if this is just for the toy or not), he pops out of Barricade's engine block, which makes perfect sense, because that's where I know I keep my CD player.


Ironhide is one of those ridiculously oversized pickup trucks that I hate just as much in real life (because I always expect clowns to come pouring out of them). His design isn't so bad in itself, even though he bears no resemblance to the original Ironhide character. What I don't like about it though is that he's so fucking dark all over that I can't even tell what I'm looking at. His face is just some dark blob in which I can't make out any detail whatsoever. Does he even have a face? Is he sporting an eye patch and smoking a cigar? Who can tell?


Ratchet's vehicle mode doesn't look half bad except for the sickening pea soup color. I guess an ambulance just wasn't badass enough for him, so they had to make him a search and rescue hummer. Unfortunately for Ratchet, who is supposed to be a surgeon, his arms look as if they don't have the range of motion to allow him to scratch his nose, let alone work to fix the wounded and dying. Also, is it just me, or is he sporting a Fu Manchu moustache there?


The original Jazz, on top of being a Porsche, just happened to be sleek looking and cool in his robot form as well. This new Jazz is a Pontiac Solstice, which is just a bit of a step down from a Porsche, and in his robot form he looks more like a short fat man who likes to munch on chips and guzzle beers while "watching the game" than any kind of warrior I've seen. And unlike the original Jazz with his eye design giving the appearance of simulated sunglasses, this visor shade thing looks more like something that you thought was cool for about five minutes in an MC Hammer video, until you decided it wasn't, but it was too late then because you'd already blurted it out to all your friends and they made fun of you for the rest of the school year.


This is by far the most horrible looking Transformer design out of the new movie. Not only is his jet form carrying so much baggage underneath that he looks pregnant, but his robot form looks like a fucking gorilla. You might expect a jet to turn into a robot that's at least vaguely sleek looking (like the old Decepticon jets), but no, he turns into a giant ball of suck on spindly little toothpick legs. Seriously, how in the hell are those little tiny legs supposed to support the gargantuan lumpy mass that is his body? And he doesn't appear to have anything even remotely resembling hands (what is it with the Decepticons and lack of hands?), apparently stuck with soft serve ice cream dispensers instead. Starscream may have always been a bitch back in the day, but at least you could say that he looked cool if nothing else. Now he looks even more annoying than he's likely to sound once he opens his mouth and starts whining.


You might expect the leader of the Decepticons to look somewhat menacing, but you'd be wrong, unless you find the color combination of white, pastel baby blue, and pastel pink to be synonymous with death and destruction. Granted, I don't think he's colored like this in the movie, so why on earth did they make the toy this way? Even if you do take into account the more metallic color scheme shown in the movie trailers, he still looks more like a giant bug who could be defeated with a large can of Raid than any kind of actual threat. Also, like many of the other Decepticons we've looked at, his hands and what pass for "fingers" don't look like they'd be remotely useful in picking anything up at all.

Optimus Prime

I don't think commenting on the gay flames adorning Optimus Prime's chassis is really necessary at this point, since people have been making fun of that from day one. At least they got the trailer right though, which I'm kind of shocked about. I half expected them to put something "X-TREME" on the side like bolts of lightning, or snowboarders flying through the air and catching cans of Mountain Dew. At the very least, I'm amazed they resisted the urge to use the side of his trailer as potential ad space. The robot mode of this toy isn't that offensive, and actually looks better to me than the movie version, but it's still far too "busy". There are just too many damned parts sticking out every which way for him (or any of the Transformers) to be iconic or easily recognized in their appearance.


Okay, so his scorpion mode isn't half bad, but the robot form isn't even trying to look convincing. It's like he just got lazy and only switched halfway to his robot form. Or perhaps his scorpion mode is merely sitting up and begging for a treat. Granted, the original purple and green Scorponok wasn't exactly a bastion of realism either, but at least his robot form looked better than this. His robot mode had a fucking face instead of arachnid eyes and mandibles in both forms.

Optimus Prime (Protoform)

Apparently this is supposed to be Prime's original Cybertronian form, but to me it just looks like he's wearing gray pajamas. Apparently his vehicle mode is supposed to be an amorphous, featureless blob, or maybe a tear with fire coming out its ass. I'm not really sure.

Starscream (Protoform)

Starscream is the only other "protoform" to be made in toy form, though you would think that Megatron would have been chosen as the obvious protoform foil for Optimus Prime. But since Megatron already resembles an "alien jet", I guess he's kind of already in his protoform. In any event, he looks less blobby than Prime in his vehicle form, though still not even close to air worthy. His robot form looks about a million times better than his Earth robot form (I can believe this one's legs could support him), but he's still saddled with useless lobster claws instead of hands.


I hear that Swindle is not in the movie, but they made a toy out of him anyway, simply "inspired by" the movie or some such nonsense. Like Brawl, he used to be part of the Combaticons that formed Bruticus, and he was one of my favorite characters because he was always wheeling and dealing and trying to screw people out of their Energon. He used to be a tan army jeep, though now he's an ugly orange car (with decals). Like most of the movie Decepticons, he has no face so he looks even less human than the Autobots. This way we stupid audience members would more easily be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys. He looks far more like Shockwave than the robot for which he is named.

So, you think that's all the toys, hotshot?
Well you're wrong. DEAD wrong!

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