I did something recently that I’m not proud of; I watched Transformers 4: Age of Extinction (AOE). Shame on me. I loathed the second and third films so much that despite my love for Transformers I planned to make a stand against this latest installment. I told myself that I would never again watch another Michael Bay Transformers movie. Fail. Turns out I’m just another sheep who will watch whatever crap Hollywood spits out at me. At least I skipped it when it played in theatres so I can be proud that I didn’t contribute to the film’s huge box office take. But when the film came out on DVD/on-demand the other day my curiosity got the better of me. The allure of the Dinobots was too much for me to resist.
If you read my AOE Scorn figure review from a few months ago (just prior to the films theatrical release) then you know that I actually really liked that figure. A ROM-esque space knight that transforms into a red spinosaurus; what’s not to like? That Scorn figure was the catalyst that first made me question my “no more Bay movies” stance. I actually considered going to see it in theaters for a while after I got that figure; but then the bad reviews came out and I came to my senses.
At the same time I bought Scorn I also bought this Slug figure, which transforms into a triceratops. A short while later I bought Slash, who transforms into a velociraptor. I was impressed with all of the Dinobot figures. I never expected to purchase another figure based on Bay’s movies because I generally hate the live-action look he’s fostered for the Transformers (all other criticisms of the movies aside) but the look of the Dinobot toys wasn’t typical of the movie line and so they won me over. I liked their bright colors and their medieval robot appearance.
And so, based on how cool each of those 3 figures were I figured that I might as well give Age of Extinction a chance once I saw that it was available on-demand. My expectations were already super low so it was unlikely that I’d be disappointed. How bad could it really be?
(SPOILER ALERT) Transformers 4 was absolute garbage. I realize everyone has different tastes, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that, but if you feel differently about this movie than you are wrong. It was horrible to the Nth degree. Absolutely everything about it missed the mark. The acting was bad, the jokes were lame, the plot was complete nonsense, and even the special effects were pretty bad at times. I could rant and rave about all the things I hated but it’s just too easy a target so I’ll bite my tongue as best I can.
I will say this, I gave Michael Bay props for casting Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime in the first film . It was a nice nod to old-school fans since Mr. Cullen voiced Prime in the cartoons. But at this point I wish Bay hadn’t. Optimus Prime is a dick in these movies and I hate hearing Peter Cullen recite the terrible dialogue he’s been given. It’s like when Hulk Hogan turned heel in wrestling. Another icon of my youth has been tainted and my inner child died a little every time Optimus talked about killing someone.
As for the Dinobots, they’re barely in the goddamn thing. It’s not like there wasn’t time to do more with them, the frig’n movie is 3 hours long! Grimlock is the only one who gets any real screen time and even then I’d say he gets all of 5 minutes. Slug and Scorn maybe get one good hit in and Slash isn’t even in the film. The biggest offense of the movie is that there’s no explanation as to why the Dinobots transform into dinosaurs. The movie starts with a scene of aliens visiting prehistoric earth and using some sort of terraforming device to turn everything into metal, including the fleeing dinosaurs. And yet the Dinobots don’t seem to tie into that story at all when they finally show up for the final fight! WTF! A logical origin story was right in front of them and they didn’t capitalize on it. This film was clearly made by idiots.
And don’t even get me started on Optimus Prime just flying off into space at the end. Could he always do that? Didn’t he need a jet pack to fly in one of the other movies? Wasn’t he in hiding because he was trapped on Earth? Whetever, f**k this movie.
All that aside, I stand by my pre-film viewing assessment of the Dinobot figures. Slag, who turned into a Triceratops, was my favorite Dinobot when I was a kid, he still is. Triceratops were always my favorite dinosaurs so I suppose that’s why I favored Slag over the others. Slag is very near the top of my list of classic G1 characters that I’d like a modern figure of. Hasbro has released multiple Grimlocks over the years but for some mind-boggling reason they haven’t revisited any of the other Dinobots. I hoped that the Dinobots inclusion in this new movie would lead to new G1 style figures but as of yet, no such luck. I like the Dinobot movie figures we got but they don’t hold a candle to the vintage ones. Sludge the Brontosaurus, and Snarl the Stegosaurus were nowhere to be seen in either the movie or the toy line. Swoop the Pterodactyl was clearly the inspiration for the two-headed (wtf?) Strafe, and Slug here is obviously supposed to be a new take on Slag. In fact, Slag’s name was changed to Slug in the comics and other media some time ago because I guess the word Slag is offensive. This movie version is too far removed from the original Slag for me to view them as the same character so I’m content to keep calling this figure Slug and I’ll display him as a totally different character. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to hold out hope that a decent figure of the original Slag gets released eventually.
Now onto the specifics of this figure: I really like the color scheme. The dark purple base with red highlights and the two tones of gray to break it up looks really nice. It’s too bad they didn’t use these colors for the movie. In the film, all of the Dinobots are solid gray. The sculpt in robot mode is far from perfect but there’s lots to like. The head is very cool. It’s probably the most medieval looking of all the Dinobots. The red fins on the shoulders give him a regal look and I imagine them signifying some sort of rank. I like his pointy feet and I like his dual swords. He’s very posable which is nice as the original was pretty stiff.
The Triceratops mode is really cool too. He looks pretty mean and nasty. The red fins almost look like warpaint which adds to his savage appearance. He has a hinged jaw that’s much toothier than the original. There’s decent articulation in dino-mode as well. The figure does seem quite small to me and I was shocked to discover that it’s about the same size as the original when I went looking for comparrison shots online. The old toy seemed much bigger to me but I guess that’s because I was a lot smaller when I owned it.
As a modern Slag figure this toy misses the mark. If I rated this toy based on the movie it’s from I’d give it a 0. But based on it’s own merits I think this is a winner. 7 out of 10.