“Awww…. Jazz…” says Prime as he casually discards his remains at the end of the final confrontation with Megatron in the new Transformers Movie, and you’ll be moved to say the same thing when you see what a botch job was done on this once popular character when it comes to his movie figure.
Starting with the vehicle mode, where we should have had a sleek, cool sports car of the highest class, we have a dumpy, stocky walking trashcan that looks like the antithesis of the sleek athletic Jazz seen to jump and slide with gymnastic grace in the movie game cutscenes.
General Motors must have paid through the nose to secure their brand on the Autobots. Bay himself has said that the biggest car brands were queueing up to get featured in the movie, and seems to suggest these would not have been his first choice given a free hand. So instead of a Porsche or an Audi or even an RX-8, we get what apparently passes for a sports car in America these days – a squat, awkward lump of iron that looks like it has a power to weight ratio of about 0.01 and does 0 to 60 in 5 minutes. The toy interpretation only seems to make it worse, accentuating the odd proportions and being mostly made of that awful awful cheap nasty silver plastic, the kind where you can see the twirls of silver amongst the white blotches in the poorly distributed grey coloring.
In robot mode, it just gets worse. Jazz as seen in the movie and also the game intro video and cutscenes, is a lean, athletic hand to hand fighter able to leap through the air or slide and roll along the ground with an agility unbelying of his size. So it’s a terrible shame that the engineering applied to the Bumblebee figures – the classic version let alone the superb concept version – was not applied here. How can the standard vary so widely? They’re all designed by the same team aren’t they??! His legs are about twice the size they should be to match up with his torso, and the arms evoke that ‘cheap knock off’ feel.
Jazz is also the only figure in the line to come with an accessory (a sort of sniper rifle) that serves no purpose in vehicle mode, although at least a token effort is made to make it usable (it can clip to the spoiler). Bizarrely this weapon, which doesn’t feature in the movie, is not his standard weapon as seen in all the concept art and renders, for that you’ll need to buy the final battle version. His boot also detaches to be used as a shield, but really this is the 21st century, and the days of bots that ‘transform’ by coming apart and clipping back together should be far behind us. If any character in the movie line needed to be redone from scratch, it’s Jazz.