Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekly Transformers Feature: Premium Movie Ratchet

Over the past couple of years, a question I get a lot when people first discover that I like Transformers is "did you see the movie?" I then have to explain that, yes, I did see the movie... eventually. Since these folks are asking me now as opposed to, say, 5 years or more ago, I know they're asking me about the 2007 live-action Transformers rather than the 1986 animated movie, which I proudly went to see on the day that it opened (which happened to be my birthday, August 8th). For the live-action movie, I really didn't care all that much. I'd kept up on all the news, as I do for all things Transformers, but really hate the aesthetics of the robots they used. I usually call them "shrapnel-bots," which perhaps gives you an idea of what it is about the designs I dislike.

I fully intended to watch the movie... eventually, and did once it came out on DVD. I did purchase the DVD, but to this day, I've actually only watched it through once. The movie was okay, and I think it did what it was supposed to do: give moviegoers some mindless entertainment with an action- and explosion-filled summer flick. It also sold lots of toys, though not very many to me. Indeed, I fully intended to save some money and not buy any toys explicitly created for the movie. As this review attests, I didn't quite make it. The fact is, I'm a sucker for exclusives. This version of Ratchet (or "Autobot Ratchet," as Hasbro has to do for any toys named Ratchet these days to protect their trademark) was one of the first of what were called "Premium" releases, and was exclusive to Best Buy (the only time I can recall Best Buy doing such exclusives). Basically, what they did is re-release toys that had already been in stores for months, but in bright, shiny colors with a few more paint details than the original version.

One feature of most movie toys that sets them apart from most other Transformers lines of recent years (with the obvious exception of the Alternators) is that they actually turn into vehicle forms licensed from real car companies, notably General Motors, which it seems is a company that movie director Michael Bay has a strong relationship with. Ratchet turns into a Hummer H2, modified for emergency response. Look closely, folks, because this is the only Hummer I'll ever own! ;)

Ratchet has a couple of built-in gimmicks, such as the claws made from the roof rack seen above and the axe that can replace his right hand as seen here, but they're really not anything special. This is a toy that I actually tend to keep out of display and in a box (with the two or three other movie toys I ended up buying). If the toys coming out for this year's movie are essentially the same, I'll end up saving quite a bit of money this year, hopefully having learned from the mistake of going against my own original intention in regard to toys like this one.

2 comments:

  1. I actually really liked the live-action movie. Certainly not as much as the animated movie (I still cry when a certain character dies), but I liked it quite a bit. I guess it's because (1) when I first heard they were doing a live action movie I couldn't imaagine how they would actually pull it off, (2) my expectations where really, really low and (3) I few the movie strictly as an alternite reality that has nothing to do with the original transformers. The fact that they brought in Peter Cullen to do "the voice" and the occasional subtle reference to other bits of transformers lore that only the fans would pick up were excellent.

    John Turturro's character was _AWFUL_ and I cringe every time he comes on the screen.

    So I had every intention of buying quite a few of the movie toys. But strangely I haven't bought a single one... nor have I bought *ANY* transformers since the movie came out.

    I don't know exactly what happened. I was always planning to buy them, but my money has gone more into my PS3 and game collection and I just haven't felt "the pull" to pick up the transformers in a long, long time. I still go to the toy aisle every time I'm at Target to see what's out... but I just don't buy them.

    All that said, when Paramount decided to (briefly) go HD-DVD exclusive... this movie prompted me to buy my first HD-DVD player and we picked up the 2-Disc HD-DVD set. Still haven't gotten the Blu-Ray. Almost bought it this week due to the buy 1-get 1 free sale that Target's runing, but with the next movie due so soon... I'm expecting there to be some kind of set or a re-release with new special features or some such... (or heck, even just a reduction in the MSRP of the first movie's disc)... so I'm waiting.

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  2. Alan,

    Thanks for commenting. I don't want to sound TOO harsh to the movie. They "pulled it off" rather well. As much as anything else, it's just that I hate the designs so much. With one or two notable exceptions, it's really hard to tell one TF from another on the screen....

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