Deluxe-class Autobot Jazz
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The great evil leader of the Decepticons, Megatron, has been resurrected on Earth! Using a stolen key card modified by the legendary All Spark to rebuild his old body into a new form, he finally sheds his repulsive guise as an “Autobot” in front of his long-time and ignorant companion, Professor Isaac Sumdac, within his private lab in Sumdac Tower, and blasts through the Autobots’ defense. Entering their small maintenance ship for the second time in fifty years, Megatron finally claims the true All Spark as his own after millions of stellar cycles of searching, and immerses it within his chassis, making him near-unstoppable. But through determined teamwork and trickery, Optimus Prime recovers the key card, and uses it to make the All Spark in Megatron’s chest explode! Though with only minor injuries, Megatron kidnaps Professor Sumdac, and escapes with the other Decepticons. Then finally, the Autobot Elite Guard arrives on Earth a few days later, with the great and noble commander of the Autobots aboard, Ultra Magnus. Though initially doubtful of the claims of Optimus Prime’s small Space Bridge maintenance crew, he sees that they are telling the truth, and tells them to keep up the good work, and continue to hold Earth safe as Decepticons throughout the galaxy rise up from word that their leader is still alive. Meanwhile, it is discovered that the All Spark was not destroyed, but rather fragmented and dispersed across Detroit. With new un-allied Cybertronians being created randomly across the city from All Spark fragments, Megatron on the loose, and Sumdac’s young daughter, Sari, wrongfully evicted from her only home, Bulkhead, Bumblebee, Prowl, Ratchet, and Optimus Prime have their hero work cut out for them... but they’re up to the challenge.
While the self-fulfilling and arrogant Sentinel Prime was filling Ultra Magnus’s audio receptors with horror stories of potential organic contamination from this Earth, and great mistrust & doubt of his former Academy classmate Optimus Prime, Jazz was more open-minded on both subjects. Though hearing troubling tales about giant organic alien spiders from Sentinel, Jazz was quick to realize that even though Earth and humans were vastly different from Cybertronians, they had their own ways of doing things that strangely struck a chord in him. Of particular interest to him was the fact that each human is created uniquely from all others- whereas all Autobots share similar structures and forms with unique Sparks. Trained in a higher level of Cybertronian martial arts than Prowl, this makes him equally sensitive and open-minded to things that others would not immediately recognize. And no matter what he does, he always puts a personal flair into it. This also certainly applies to his fighting style: cool, fast and impressive with his twin Energon-powered nunchaku- with which he can deflect energy shots, and slice through hard metal. Otherwise, the way Jazz figures, it just ain’t worth doin’ if he can't do it in style.
The voice of Autobot Jazz is performed by cartoon and television actor Phil LaMarr, as his only character in “Transformers Animated”.
Jazz’s vehicle mode (back) may no longer be a Porsche 935 Turbo, but it sure invokes the feeling of his original G1 disguised form, particularly with the red and blue stripes along the rounded nose. While no longer a racing vehicle, he retains the look of a sports coupe, though with the exaggerated styling of the “...Animated” line. The passenger section is lower than you might expect, and is flanked on either side by stylized extended side-view mirrors. Believe it or not, the front and side windows are actually made of the same transparent-turquoise ABS plastic, but for whatever reason, they have been completely blackened out [by whatever method]. Rather than being placed in back, the four exhaust pipes are located prominently on either side of the two doors. And in back, the tail lights are raised on high flairs above the back wheels.
One obvious paint error is found here: on the character’s vehicle mode in the series, the red and blue stripes continue all the way up and over the car, but on the toy they occupy only the hood. The reason this was done, however, is because when Jazz is transformed, he has no blue and red stripes along the front of his lower legs... which are made up from the roof of the vehicle mode. (So, if this toy is true to the character’s appearance in that regard, then does this mean his transformation is different in the series...? I’m inclined to say “No”.)
Unlike most of the figures I’ve reviewed so far from “Transformers Animated”, Jazz is one of the very few that does not have an assisting Auto-conversion feature. Not to spoil anything here--
“Spoil what exactly...?”, you ask.
--but the only ‘special feature’ he has is his robot mode’s weapon. Beyond that, you do it all yourself. (Of course- sarcasm aside- there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!)
One thing about his transformation I will comment on, though, is that it’s rather difficult to get the bottom panels of the lower legs to slip past the windshield when transforming him between either mode. While bending the hips helps a little bit, I’m afraid that someday that windshield might declare it’s had enough, and finally crack or warp. (Unfortunately, the panel on the lower leg cannot be trimmed down by you because he needs it to stand upright!) So you’re just gonna have to deal with it as is, and be aware that’s you need to be both careful and patient.
Oh, also, you don’t have to store his hands folded inwards 90° when he’s in vehicle mode; they’re just fine stored as if they’re extended for robot mode.
Jazz’s robot mode (back)- unlike his disguised form- does not nearly as closely resemble his G1 counterpart from 1984. Perhaps the closest comparison might be that the car’s nose, wheel wells, and hood become his upper torso, and that’s about it. While the roof and back of the car still become his legs, they are reoriented to point downwards and are placed on the front of his legs rather than the back. His head, while an original design, does carry one familiar trait- the light blue visor. The visor is transparent, so that when light shines on the back of his head, the visor will glow. (Does it work? It’s a “Transformers Animated” figure- of course it works! And quite clearly too!) While he carries the now-trademarked large chin that all characters do in this series, his gray face is narrow with sharp features, similar to Prowl’s. Because Jazz always appreciated hip-hop and pop culture, one awesome detail they added was a pair of black headphones molded directly into the sides and top of his head over his even more-subtle white flat cap-shaped forehead! Perhaps the most stand-out features of the arms other than their flexibility is the storage clips for the upward-pointing nunchaku on the outside of his elbows, and that his hands are opened up a little rather than being solid fists [which, notably, transforming toys in the “...Animated” line do not utilize nearly as much as its predecessors did].
Notice also that, not only is Jazz the first character toy to have a red Autobot symbol on his chest (all of the Autobots' are red on-screen), but he is the first release to display the winged Autobot logo created for the series which designates him as part of the Elite Guard.
As Jazz is a smooth operator in everything he does, his range of motion is equally fluid and impressive, with ball-&-socket joints in his neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips, and everything else twisting freely, including a waist joint! Perhaps the only objection I have with Jazz is that his ‘headphones’ bump into the back of his neck when turned side-to-side; so when he looks to either side, his head tilts downwards quite a bit, and he can’t really look upwards. The proportions of the figure, also, are only slightly off from his on-screen counterpart- his lower legs are slightly longer than they should be, and his upper legs aren’t long enough, but there is no interruption in style or function to be a problem. While the clips for his nunchaku do indeed shift to that upwards-position in the series, the weapons themselves do not appear- stored internally instead until needed. But here, since they are big enough, their correct orientation has them rising quite a bit beyond the elbows. While poseability is in no way a problem, if you wish, you can remove the weapons and leave their clips open to recreate the more series-accurate look. Perhaps this would be the only consideration of “kibble” I would apply to this figure other than the windshield on his back (which really doesn’t get in the way of anything anyways).
. . .
Jazz has only one weapon feature- two pairs of nunchaku (aka nunchucks), which are stored on the outside of his elbows. They can be easily separated from each other- each pair being tied together with small pieces of white string- and placed in both of Jazz’s hands, though the curved sections will not fit at all.
This is another first for me in the world of Transformers®- I have never own any character by this name before (though I would certainly like to get a G1 ver of him). But I can tell that, like many of the characters from the first season, this one was crafted with a little TLC by the good folks over at Takara, and was brought to life by the wonderful animators over at Cartoon Network. You cannot look at this guy and deny that he is a tribute to the classic hip-hop-bot from the ‘80s, but now with a crafted body to match his personality and legacy. The poseability is awesome, and though he doesn’t have any shooting weapons, the nunchaku, I thought, were a nice change from a blaster or missile launcher or- heaver forbid!- a sword; we haven’t really seen that kind of weapon on a Cybertronian before. Even more-so than some of the other figures I have, the proportions chosen by the animation development team translates very well into toy form. I mean- headphones on a robot? That is an awesome idea, and, again, it fits the character! So, complaints? Other than having a difficult time getting his legs past that windshield when transforming him, not really. So, I give full marks and a high recommendation for the Deluxe-class Autobot Jazz figure. I hate to sound clichéd, but seriously... he rocks!
--Renewing the Charge--
[DISCLAIMER: This last section is not supported, advertised, or endorsed by either Hasbro, DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures, or Warner Brothers Records. It is a fan-supported effort completely independent from all companies affiliates with the 2007 film "Transformers".]
Not even a week after "Transformers" entered theaters on July 3rd and became a blockbuster, scores of fans were clamoring for a copy of the original musical score by Steve Jablonsky. However, WB Records said in an official statement that the score would not be released for the foreseeable future. In protest, a fan-supported online petition was set-up to persuade the record company to reconsider. By the end of two months, over 5500 signatures had been recorded (your's truly at #1112).
Victory for the signers was claimed when “Transformers: The Score” was released in October that same year, containing just-shy of one hour of the original score. Jablonsky also personally wrote to the creators of the petition thanking them for their efforts. The CD would go on to become the 32nd best-selling soundtrack on Amazon.com at the time of its release.
However, victory was short lived. Because the CD was so popular, it disappeared from shelves rapidly, and was not restocked. By the end of 2007- a mere two-and-a-half months later- new CDs were no longer being produced, but were still being sought after. Reports of online price scalping were not uncommon when stores ran out, easily selling for double the original prices. (Don't worry- I got my own copy in October, and loved every minute of it!)
. . .
Well, the folks at The Knight Shift who brought you the first petition have come back, and they are saying "Give the people what they want". I recently learned that a new Petition 2.0 is now up, and is accepting signatures once more. This new effort is directed at Warner Brothers Records, and is asking for an extended reissue of "Transformers: The Score", with the potential for additional original tracks to be added.
(Yours truly is petition signer #563.)
If you signed the original petition, I both thank you and ask you to put forth your effort on this new petition as well. If you did not sign the original petition, but got the CD, please sign this new petition. If you are a fan of Steve Jablonsky, please sign this new petition. If you are long-time Trans-fan, or you simply enjoyed the film the movie, then please sign this new petition. I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the original CD release, and I want others to share in it as well.
|Posted 2 September, 2008 - 11:42 by EVA_Unit_4A|