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The Fallen

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

During the production of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Bay, the writers and the producers undertook a (rather half-hearted, let's be honest) disinformation campaign, designed to keep real spoilers to a minimum. For instance, they specifically said that Megatron wouldn't be in this one, so it was a surprise when he started showing up in the trailers. When his presence was revealed, I wondered if perhaps he was the titular "Fallen," given that he was rising from the Laurentian Abyss, and if the rumors of the herald of Unicron were the misdirection; nope, I was wrong again.

For millennia, he has waited. Thousands of years have dragged by as he recruited proxies, one by one, to scour the cosmos for the artifact he required. Now he finds he must return to the primitive, flesh-slug infected planet on which his quest began. Nothing will stand in his way this time. If need be, he will scour the surface of this disgusting world clean in the fire of his rage, and search through the blasted rubble for that which he seeks.

If you recall our review of the 6" Titanium "Cybertron Heroes" figure (or perhaps our recent Figuretoon), you know that The Fallen is a multiversal singularity: that means there's only one of him anywhere ever. This Optimus Prime and this Optimus Prime are two different characters, but the Fallens they fought are 100% the same, understand? He was one of the 13 original Transformers, and can transport himself between dimensions at will, something that's only hinted at in the movie.

The Fallen is packaged in robot mode, which is unusual for a Voyager-class toy. And yes, even though the movie's title is Revenge of the Fallen (lower-case t), the character's name really is The Fallen (upper-case T). Go figure. Apparently zapping into the movie-verse fundamentally redesigned him: no longer is he a giant blocky furnace, but the interior of his new spindly body still contains a raging fire; whenever he moves, you can see the telltale glow of internal magma. There are weird little ribs stretching from his waist to his forearms - they restrict the range of motion, but you can uncouple them if you want.

The designs for most of the villains in the first movie tried to make their heads look vaguely like the Decepticon logo, and The Fallen does that, as well. Of course, his face already looked like the Decepticon logo, so he's undergone a few other changes. To suggest his age, his head is also detailed with the robotic equivalent of a nemes headdress and a pharaoh beard; are they suggesting that the Ancient Egyptians patterned themselves after some barely-remembered visit from Transformers in the past? Yes, probably, no matter how silly that seems.

It's hard to judge The Fallen's articulation, picking between what's used to change modes and what's used to pose him. Like his minion Megatron, his toes are spring-loaded, and curl shut when you lift them. There are definite ankle, knee and hip joints, and a waist that sits high on his torso. There are swivels and hinges for the wrists, ditto for the elbows, and if you unhook the connectors like we told you before, you can use the shoulders to raise his arms.

The Fallen is a dark green color, with orange highlights in the cracks to suggest his burning fires. There are also translucent red panels that can fold out of his upper arms, and armor that slides around when you flex his knees. Sadly, he doesn't include the giant spear that was his trademark weapon in the film - if Jetfire can have his walking cane, Hasbro could have found a way to make the spear. However, its absence doesn't really detract from the toy.

Though he never transformed in the film, The Fallen does get an alt mode for this toy. He doesn't turn into a tank, like he used to, but is instead a Cybertronian Destroyer. What's a Cybertronian Destroyer? Some kind of plane, whatever. This mode is a good 8" long and 10" wide, and has retractable landing gear; little skids, not wheels. The instructions fail to mention two features: 1) the armor on The Fallen's forearms moves forward to cover the otherwise-visible robot hands, and two hooked spines fold out near the front to make the vehicle look more vicious.

Not that it really needed the help, though. With the dark colors, the sharp hooks all overthe place and the curved, segmented domes, this thing looks like what the Aliens would fly if they designed ships rather than organically converting asteroids or being ferried around by Predators. There's a bit of an "unfinished" section right near the center of the ship, but it just adds to the alien look. That's "alien" as in "inhuman," not "alien" as in "Alien." At least it doesn't have any launching missiles or anything.

Considering that The Fallen was apparently killed in the comics when he tried to wake up Primus, he's looking pretty spry in the movie. Maybe he's got that evil immortality thing going on. It was an interesting decision to bring such a recent character into the film franchise - it'd be like if Mr. Negative was the villain of Spider-Man 4. Still, the movie design works for The Fallen, and this is a fun toy.

-- 07/07/09

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