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Jazz

Transformers
by yo go re

As good as the Transformers movie was, the robot designs worked much better as part of a film than as toys. Robo-Vision Optimus Prime was cool and all, but none of the others really jumped off the shelf. Kind of a shame, too, since I sort of wanted Jazz. If only he had a more interesting paint scheme. Oh, look, he does.

During the long process of being rebuilt by Ratchet, there was a lot of time to think. G1-deco Jazz Jazz digs his Earth vehicle form, but the silver paint job got scratched too easily, and dust stuck to it like cyberflies on old oil. Also, it wasn't nearly eye-catching enough. Just because he's supposed to be in disguise doesn't mean he can't be noticed. With help from Bumblebee and Ratchet, he picked this color scheme as the one most likely to get him appreciative looks from all the humans he passes on the freeway.

You've gotta love how, despite his rather unambiguous fate in the movie, this bio just picks up where the film left off. "Yeah, that thing you thought you knew? You just imagined it. We say this is how it goes, now. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia." Down that path lies Electroshock Kiwi Batman, thank you very much. Beware! Beware!

In the movie, Jazz was a Pontiac Solstice, which is a sporty (yet surprisingly affordable) roadster. Its base price is about $10,000 less than the similar Honda S2000, which may be attributable to the fact that the car is pretty much kitbashed - 'S'mofo butter layin' me to da' BONE! Jackin' me up... tight me! other than the body, the parts are pulled from dozens of other GMC vehicles. Cadillacs, Chevys, Pontiacs, Saturns, Fiats, Hummers and more all donated different parts to the Solstice.

The car is looking good. It has the deep curves of the real thing, though this particular model has a fixed roof and a spoiler. The doors don't open, but Hasbro still made a half-hearted attempt at designing an interior. Provided the interior of your car is filled up to the bottom of the windows with a solid lump of black plastic. Still, the half-seats and tip of a steering wheel are better than nothing.

Jazz is a Deluxe class figure, so his transformation is fairly simple. Legs in the back, arms in the front, what have you. His automorph feature isn't covered on the instructions, What it is, big mama? My mama no raise no dummies. I dug her rap! which can cause some problems: when you push the windshield and roof down to raise his head out of the engine, it also moves the grill forward and allows the headlights to slide in toward the center. Which would be fine, except that the natural place to brace your fingers when you're pushing down the roof? That's right, against the grill. So here you are, trying to move one piece down into place, and you're also keeping another stuck that's supposed to move with it. Nice planning, guys.

The problem with the TF movie figures Eh. Yo knock yourself a pro slick, gray matter live performas down now take TCB'in man. is simply that no matter intricate or complex the transformation, no matter how detailed the sculpt, there's just no way for a plastic toy to duplicate every inch of the movie's design. Ironhide's gun alone has 10,000 pieces - imagine how many must be in a full robot! Even keeping that disparity in mind, though, Jazz is a goofy-looking TF. His legs a good 75% of his entire height, which means that his waist is right under his armpits. The figure has a balljointed head, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, balljointed hips, balljointed knees and hinged ankles. His eyes are a actually a light-piped visor, and his face is entirely unearthly.

For this Target Exclusive, Jazz has been repainted in colors that mimic the original G1 toy: the car is white, rather than silver, and features the red and blue stripes down the center of the car (but not over the wheel wells). Heck, they even got the big blue 4s on the doors, though he no longer has the "Porsche" labels behind them - those have been changed to say "Jazz." It's not a direct copy of the old paint apps, but close enough that everyone can get the joke.

Jazz also includes a weapon which, for some reason, Hey, you know what they say... See a broad, to get that booty yak 'em. the packaging calls a "telescoping sword" despite it quite blatantly being a rifle. Early concept art showed Jazz with a sword, but thre's no question this is a gun. The blaster can either plug into the robot's arm or onto the car's spoiler. The trunk of the car can be left in place against the robot's back, if you so choose, or plugged into his shoulder as a "shield." However, an undocumented feature is that the shield and gun can be combined into something more closely resembling the weapon seen in the film.

So, can a new paint app honestly make a figure worth getting? Not really, no. Jazz still looks short and fat. But at least this is more of a change than the "Final Battle Jazz" offers. This is a Target exclusive, so you can't even shop around for cheaper deals. However, if you've been on the fence about the movie toys, Jazz's G1 colors might be enough to tip you over the edge. Jazz isn't a bad toy, he's just not quite as good as he could have been. Certainly don't pay above the $10 retail for this one, but don't hesitate too long, either: Target's exclusives have a habit of selling out.


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