I don’t mind the first Transformers movie. I didn’t like the way the Transformers looked, especially the Decepticons who all looked the same to me; and I didn’t like Optimus Prime saying “my bad”, or Bumblebee pissing on a guy’s head, or Jazz’s hip hop inspired attitude. But there was some funny jokes, some cool effects, a few genuine geek-out moments, and a serviceable story. I’ve rewatched it a few times since and still enjoy it. It used to be the default bluray I’d put on to show everyone how crisp bluray looked a few years back when it was still a cool new format. I was willing to give the strange new world of bug looking Transformers a go. But I didn’t buy any of the movie related toys. I like my Transformers a little boxier. The movie based versions were all jagged and uber-detailed but lacked personality. I did however collect the movie-universe prequel and sequel comics and I was actually looking forward to the second film.
Then the second film came out. I f**king hated it. And I hated the third one even more. I’ve only seen them each once so they blur together in my mind but they offended me to my core with their extreme crappyness. They were bloated non-sensical garbage. I hated all of the new characters they introduced and they ruined every classic Transformer they brought into the fold. Jetfire? Devestator? yeesh. I did actually end up buying one of the toys based on the third movie though. Shockwave was always a favorite of mine and a classic looking version of him had yet to be released at the time and his movie version actually was kinda cool. At least he was still purple and cycloptic. Beyond that though I vowed never to buy another craptacular movie-based toy.
After the third movie I was very hopeful that a new director would take over the franchise. But then news broke that Michael Bay wanted to come back a fourth time and that he wanted to use the Dinobots. Yay, more of my favorite characters ruined. I had very low expectations for the film. When the trailer hit the internet I watched it and thought, “meh”. Grimlock looked kinda weird but I expected that. The oddest change was that Swoop now seemed to have two heads.
I didn’t know how the Dinobots would look in their robot modes until the toys were revealed online. Grimlock looked retarded and Strafe (not Swoop after all) didn’t look much better. Honoring my no movie-based toys vow was shaping up to be just as easy as ever.
But then I was in Toys R Us this week buying a birthday present for my nephew Tyler who was turning 5 (I bought him a Godzilla which he loved, go Uncle Mike!). Toys R Us had a massive Transformers display stocked up with the new movie toys. The display was overflowing with crappy looking Optimus Primes, Bumblebees, Grimlocks, Drifts, and Hounds (poor Drift and Hound, they look so sucky now). They also had Slug, the Dinobot who transforms into my favorite dinosaur, the Triceratops. When I was a kid the triceratops character was named Slag and I loved him. The original Slag toy is one of the ones I most regret getting rid of. I picked up the “Slug” figure to examine it in disgust. How could they make my favorite Dinobot so small and purple? But a funny thing happened while I was hating on it, I realized it was a robot that turned into a Triceratops. And it was a pretty cool looking figure to boot. It didn’t have the same overly detailed bug-like look of the other movie toys. If anything I thought he looked like some sort of Space Knight. I rationalized that I could display him in my collection as a brand new character “Slug”; he didn’t have to be a replacement of Slag. Once I made up my mind that I had to have him I figured the other toys maybe warranted a closer look too. My initial instinct on most of them was correct but I was immediately drawn to a brand new character, a red Spinosaurus named Scorn.
Jurassic Park 3 introduced me and most everyone else to the Spinosaurus and after seeing it the Spinosaurus immediately sky rocketed to the top of my favorite dinosaur list. I thought it was so damn cool that I went out and bought my first plastic dinosaur figure in about 30 years. So I was already sold on Scorn’s alt mode but when I saw his robot mode displayed on the back of the package I was even more impressed. This guy looked awesome. I hope to god these characters actually look like this in the film because it gives me the faintest bit of hope that I might end up enjoying this movie. Had you asked me 2 weeks ago if I thought there was any chance this movie would be good I would have said no with confidence, but these 2 dinobot figures have lit a teeny tiny fire of excitement in my belly.
Where Scorn is a brand new character I know nothing about him. His backer card says ” Scorn has the jaws of a dino and the personality of a tank. He’s a rumbling, thundering war hammer on legs.” That’s not much to go on but I guess he sounds pretty cool. He’s got an Autobot symbol on his chest so at least I know he’s a good guy.
The dinosaur mode is great. Its easily identifiable as a spinosaurus and he’s easily distinguishable from any other Transformer. Each of the spines on his back come to a separate point and are painted in a nice two-toned pattern. The tail is soft and rubbery which allows for some movement but not too much. The jaw is hinged so you can make chomp down on any Decepticons foolish enough to cross his path. I only wish the figure was bigger. He’s not very intimidating at this size.
The robot mode is really cool as well. Like Slug he has a very Space Knight like face. I like Scorn’s better though as it looks more akin to classic Transformers. He’s got bulky shoulders and his dino lower jaw adds bulk to his hips which keep him evenly weighted. His feet are designed in such a way that he stands up fine on his own. He has one regular arm with which he can hold his sword accessory. His other arms is a giant spear made up of the tail. I would’ve preferred he had two regualr arms with a removable tail that could be held as a spear but he looks cool regardless. His large spiny fin splits into two and provides a regal wing-like design on his back. The colors used on both Skorn and Slug are really nice as well. A part of me wishes they had the classic gray and gold Dinobot color scheme but there’s no denying they look sharp in red and purple. The orange highlights and baby blue visor add just the right amount of contrast to keep Skorn from looking too dull.