OAFE: your #1 source for toy reviews
B u y   t h e   t o y s ,   n o t   t h e   h y p e .

what's new?
message board
Twitter Facebook RSS      


Transformers: The Movie
by yo go re

If Hasbro was really concerned with staying on-theme, this character would have been voiced by a jazzman, not a Scatman.

Jazz makes a futile escape as Unicron devours Moonbase One.

As you may be able to tell from that bio, this figure is based on Transformers: the Movie, meaning it's that rarest thing: a Transformers toy that's a Generation 1 update. Haven't seen that before! Ah, but this is literally meant to be a G1 update of the G1 character, not just a new continuity featuring the freshest crop of 40-year-old characters. Does that distinction make sense? I can't tell any more. Like, the Jazz this toy represents appeared in "Attack of the Autobots," the cartoon episode that aired on October 4, 1985; the Jazzes represented by toys from Generations or Power of the Primes did not.

In comicbook terms, this is "616" Jazz, while all the others have been from various "What If"s.

Jazz was one of the few "major" Generation 1 Transformers I had as a kid, so you'd think I'd have been paying special attention to any of his appearances on the show, but here I am still surprised that Cartoon Jazz didn't have car door kibble hanging off his back, nor tires on his shoulders. Because of the way the toy is designed, you can't even fake those looks - not a flaw or a point against the toy, just an observation. This is specifically a G1 Cartoon Jazz, not an attempted update of the G1 toy. There are a lot of parallels between the two, since the cartoon was designed to mimic the toy (the blue shapes on the waist, the pattern on the shins, the inset lines around the forearms, etc.), but it is clearly still its own thing.

Consider, for example, the head. Today's Jazz has the traditional signifiers, like the ridge over the top of the head, the angled "cat's ear" antennae things, a visor over the eyes, and angled vents wrapping aroud the cheeks. Pure Jazz. But on the 1984 toy, the line from the cheeks up to the ears was straight, creating a very blocky look, while the animation model brought the temples in slightly, creating a thinner look that this release apes.

Jazz has very long legs and a very short torso, which adds to the "animated" look (not to be confused with an Animated look). He moves with a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, a swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and rocker ankles. It's a little tough making sure the knees are properly plugged in place during conversion, which can make them floppy if you've not careful. He's armed with his silver photon rifle, which is as much an update of the old toy's as everything else is here.

Converting Jazz is mostly intuitive. Roll the shin kibble back, fold down the toes, tuck the legs up, turn the arms to the outside, fold away the hands, lift the chest, fold down a little flap so you can rotate the head into the engine block, turn the silver piece on the waist around to the back, fold the arms under the car, straighten out the rear window and drop the roof and doors into place.

There's no Porsche copyright info anywhere on the packaging, so we have to conclude this isn't a licensed altmode - just an STBLDF one. It's a lot closer than any other recent molds have been, right down to the distinctive "lip" between the grill and the hood. There are fewer stripes on this toy than the original, because things get simplified for animation, and the 4 on the door has been changed to a 14 - helps avoid licensing issues, and Jazz was listed as the 14th figure in the old catalogs.

The Studio Series figures have expanded beyond the Michael Bay movies, which is how we're able to get Jazz as part of the line. They still feature the cardboard backdrops, though: Jazz's is presumably a station at Moonbase One. It's very orange, while the one in the movie was very grey.

The idea behind the Masterpiece line was to create toys that were more accurate to the cartoon designs while still having a level of complexity to them. If the Studio Series is now doing the same thing for a fraction of the price, do we still need Masterpiece? Would an $80 Jazz be significantly better than this $20 one?

-- 02/23/21

back what's new? reviews

Report an Error 

Discuss this (and everything else) on our message board, the Loafing Lounge!

Entertainment Earth

that exchange rate's a bitch

© 2001 - present, OAFE. All rights reserved.
Need help? Mail Us!