Final Battle Jazz (Deluxe-class)
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
A boy’s first car should be a special event in his life. Finding the right girl is also important, and to do that, he needs a special car. But for Sam Witwicky, he is completely unaware of how special his car really is… until it drives away from his house all by itself… and changes into a giant robot! Sam soon finds himself as the key to ending an intergalactic battle between two factions of a race of alien robots which can change shape at will- the peaceful Autobots and dangerous Decepticons- as they fight to find and retake the powerful AllSpark Cube that created their race. But enemies lie in wait on Earth as well. While the Decepticons are already on our planet looking for their long-lost leader Megatron, the United States secret government organization Sector 7 already knows about the alien robots, and will do anything to keep them hidden. It is not until the great & noble Optimus Prime and several other Autobots crash-land on Earth in their search for the god-like Cube that the 10,000 year-old stalemated war begins anew- with the fate of both races in the hands of these intelligent, powerful alien robots in disguise… and a boy and his car.
The Autobots have been searching long and hard for the AllSpark Cube since their leader, Optimus Prime, desperately cast it into space to prevent Megatron from getting his metallic claws on it and bringing a new order of domination and suffering to the already-demolished planet of Cybertron. Before then, both Autobots and Decepticons waged a long war against each other for possession of the Cube. Among the Autobots’ ranks, Jazz was noticed early on by the high command for his smooth style in both peace and war. In addition to being a smooth talker and sharp thinker, his small size also lent to his unique agility on the battlefield. Eventually, he was noticed by Optimus Prime as having leadership potential, since he could get along very easily with both fellow warriors and superiors. Though not particularly strong physically, Jazz- with his love of life and culture- was selected by Prime to stand by his side as they searched the galaxy for the AllSpark. Upon hard-landing on a planet thought to contain the ancient life-giving artifact, Jazz was quick to pick-up on the native culture, and assumed the disguised form of one of their smaller sports vehicles- certain to draw attention to himself even if they don’t know what he really is. At the time, only the similar-sized Bumblebee could match Jazz’s interest in the primitive biological species. Though the shortest of the Autobots- standing only 13’ (4.3m) tall- Jazz is also a brave and competent warrior- spotting a small plasma cannon hidden inside his shield, and adjustable magnetic grapplers on his arms for clinging and leaping from Cybertron’s metal-faceted towers and bridges. For his trip to Earth, he studied many of its languages through a planet-wide information network, and so he is fluent in English- even to the point of being able to understand and use the nuances & slang from the streets of America! Jazz’s voice is performed by the young and multi-talented Darius McCrary.
Jazz’s vehicle mode (back) is that of a Pontiac Solstice™ GXP street roadster designed and manufactured by General Motors Corporation™ under their Pontiac™ brand-name. Though it debuted as a convertible automobile with a retractable fabric roof in 2006, Pontiac’s first attempt at a roadster was rather small comparatively to other companies’ designs in the past. For its appearance in “Transformers”, several small modifications were made to the prop vehicle(s) used for Jazz’s disguised form, most notably the new hardtop cover for the passenger area, and a spoiler along the back. The 2009 production version- a coupe- will officially feature the hard top as well; though it was custom made by the production team for the stunt cars used at the time the film was being made before 2007. The toy version is very faithful to the real car, also seamlessly incorporating the [external] changes that the production team made to the stunt vehicle: rounded nose with low split front grills, and painted domes for both the parking and headlights; low-sitting passenger section with seat backs and steering wheel featured inside; and the thin spoiler hanging above the red painted brake lights above the merged back bumper, license plate, & exhaust ports. More for the sake of the transformation, the spoiler can be repositioned either all the way raised up, or flattened down. Also, because the hardtop was added to the stunt car(s), the raised shapes behind the passenger and driver’s seats remains- though the back windshield itself is not featured or painted in.
Unlike the standard [undamaged] version of the Deluxe-class Autobot Jazz which has plain transparent blue windows, this Final Battle version uses turquoise transparent plastic instead to differentiate it from the regular one since they are identical otherwise in vehicle mode- right down to the small red painted Pontiac logo right on the nose! Also, this Final Battle ver. features a larger removable weapon different from the regular version’s. However, it can still clip onto the spoiler in the same fashion in vehicle mode. (I’ll cover the weapon in detail a little later…)
‘Automorph Technology’ is a new special feature that is fairly unique to the 2007 movie figures. What Automorph does is when one specific section moves, there is an internal system of gears and levers which moves another part in the same region. (Although, I’m sure a similar function has presented itself in the other lines from the various anime-inspired series. I do know for certain that the huge “Transformers Galaxy Force” Primus figure had such function(s) in his back armor, leg weapon units, and chest/head.) In the Deluxe-class Final Battle Jazz, there is one Automorph function:
- As the windows and passenger section are flipped downwards, the head is flipped upwards 90-degrees. At the same time, the center section of the nose is nudged forward slightly, and the parking lights on either side slide inwards a little bit.
This moving of the three sections of the nose is so slight that it hardly makes any difference, and sometimes you even have to assist the Automorph function by helping those side sections move inwards since there doesn’t seem to be enough leverage via the internal mechanism for it to work properly. (And to be honest, it doesn’t really change the look of the nose that much, even though this is how it works on the movie’s CG character model as well.) The neck section is on a spring, but it doesn’t really come up that whole 90-degrees and just kinda hangs there. But fortunately, it isn’t that noticeable when all is said and done. Also, to start it all off, raising those hood panels out of the nose section is really hard to do since you have to twist the arm while it’s still transformed in vehicle mode… which it’s not designed to do! Even though they fit fairly well, you can’t just pry them out; you have to wiggle the retracted shoulders to get the arms released in order to change them.
Jazz’s robot mode (back) only partially resembles the awesome Autobot from the film. However, this is the Final Battle version of Jazz. While this is not a repaint, many changes have been made despite identical transformations. The torso, arms, and back all remain untouched, and contain all of the original’s paint applications and plastic coloring. But due to how the toy is made, new parts were created to emulate what Jazz looked like in his final moments in the film as Megatron quickly dispatched the brave Autobot by literally tearing his robot body in half. Jazz’s head- including the transparent blue visor- and legs show signs of armor being blasted away, parts having been torn off, and blue-colored Energon leaking from him. None of this damage, however, appears on the car parts, his arms or torso. Unlike just about every single set from the movie, Jazz’s lower arms have no internal substance to them, and are made from just the hood of the vehicle mode folded over which gives them quite a weak and hollow appearance; the three-fingered hands cannot grab anything and merely fold out like tiny stubs at the ends of his arms. (BTW, in the movie, Jazz had four fingers on each hand, not three…) Though Jazz has two wheels inside his lower legs in the movie that he can skate around on (notably in the movie-adaptation “Transformers: The Game”), the toy’s are located behind his knees. But what I can’t figure out is what these two twisting thingies do on the outside of his ankles. They serve no purpose, and don’t really move except when transforming him.
Poseability is rather on the poor and uncoordinated side. So I’ll just get the one small good thing out of the way real quick: his head uses a ball-and-socket joint, and is very flexible; more-so than just about any other transformable figure in the line! There. Now for the rest… His elbows can only shift forwards about 45-degrees. Unfortunately, they can twist backwards further than they can forwards; and because of how bulky his shoulders are, it’s hard to tell (unless you own him) whether-or-not he’s bending his arms at all! His knees have a similar problem, though I can’t figure out why they did it this way. The lower legs can bend both forward and backwards about 45-degrees; all other transformable figures in the 2007 line- not including repaints from past lines- can bend their knees at least 90-degrees backwards. This makes posing him even more limiting. The shoulders, hips, and ankles, however, are helpful and are more on the standard side of flexible.
If you’ll notice in the movie, Jazz uses a small crescent-shaped shield with a cannon mounted in the middle of it. He uses it not even a handful of times in the movie, and we never get a clear picture of it. The regular non-damaged version of Jazz used an extendable-barrel rifle that was curiously advertised as a sword. (Why? Beats me…) Not even in official production artwork did Jazz carry such a weapon. The Final Battle ver. solves this, though in an odd way. Rather than a small sub machinegun-like weapon, we get this whole honkin’ buster launcher-inspired rifle with a spring-loaded transparent-turquoise plasma missile included. What makes this movie-accurate is the horseshoe-shaped shield that folds over the front of it, and the barrel of the cannon matches the multiple-barrels of the ‘real’ weapon. But why this long stock was included on it, I don’t know. And, like the extendable ‘blade’ weapon from the original set’s, this plasma rifle is not gripped by the hand, but rather pinned awkwardly between the two halves of the lower arm! (If the lower arms had been better designed, I would have said this was pretty cool looking-!) For kicks, the original had a shield made up of the top back-half of the trunk that could disconnect from the robot mode’s back, and attach to the wheels on the shoulders. The Final Battle ver. can also do this, as well as hook the plasma rifle onto it in the same way that it does in vehicle mode. (Question- what is that extra swinging section used for that covers the back-half/stock section of the rifle in vehicle mode? It has a post on it, but it’s not used for anything…)
Going into it, I knew that he was a little disproportionate with the smaller arms and thicker legs… but, honestly, what Transformer usually isn’t in some way? That’s not what I’m complaining about here. What I’m complaining about is how inflexible he is at the elbows and knees. I mean, every single original Deluxe-class figure can bend their elbows 90-degrees forward. No exceptions. And really, only Autobot Bumblebee, Decepticon Barricade, and Jazz came from the movie and are to-scale with the rest of the line. The head being able to move around is really nice, and the hips and ankles are… okay. But the rest of it…? I’m not really impressed. It was nice to have that movie weapon also, but why’d they make it, like, 10-times bigger than it needed to be, beyond accommodating the missile launcher mechanism? On the other hand, it was nice of Hasbro to provide us with not just another repaint, but a significantly-altered figure that actually appeared [to a degree] in the movie. The damaged sections look good, and the bluish Energon ‘blood’ was a nice touch too… since we don’t often think of giant robots as leaking anything when damaged other than lubricants, sparks, and smoke. Now, I’m gonna be a completist here for a rare occasion, and get the regular-ver. of the figure. As for the Final Battle ver., I’d treat it as a repaint even though some of the parts are different. You can live without it if you want to; no big loss. However, because it wasn’t just another repaint, I’d say go for it. And- as I’m going to do- when you get this version, you can swap the weapons on it to make the regular version a little more movie-accurate. Overall, I give Final Battle Jazz a 3-out-of-5; and not a very strong recommendation at that.
|Posted 12 December, 2007 - 03:06 by EVA_Unit_4A|