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
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
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
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Well you're wrong. DEAD wrong!
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