Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Revenge of the Fallen Ravage

It was quite daring of the live action movie franchise to include a character like Ravage. As one of a few G1 characters who appeared very regularly in the TV series, Ravage has a fanbase with certain... expectations. His character has remained fairly consistent throughout his long history (and between continuities - he's appeared in Beast Wars, after all), and he's never had to suffer the ignominy of becoming comic relief... His reputation as being the sneakiest Decepticon, their most perfect spy, has never been called into question (except perhaps in the pilot for the G1 cartoon)...

...Until now. And I'm not talking about Shattered Glass Ravage, either.

Robot Mode (aka The Only Mode Worth Looking At):
'Ravage', as he appeared in Revenge of the Fallen, was neither sneaky nor stealthy. He crashed on the militarised island where an Allspark shard was being stored, and basically stormed the place, guns blazing, and hacked up a whole load of ball bearings... the robo-kitty equivalent of generating multiple hair-balls. That transform.

And he was silver - not exactly ideal for fading into the shadows.

And he got his arse kicked (and his spine removed) by Bumblebee when he attempted a sneak attack during the desert battle.

Nevertheless, subtlety aside, there's no denying the CGI interpretation of Ravage looked cool. He was never seen to adopt an alternate mode (though pre-production images do exist), so I'm not even going to bother with the alleged 'alternate mode' for this toy. They call it 'Entry Mode'... but it's quite obvious from the movie that Ravage is fired out of Soundwave as a missile, not a folded up cat with wings.

Ravage as a toy is not half bad apart from a few screamingly obvious things. First of all, considering the robo-kitty we all saw in the movie was silver, why on Earth did Hasbro go the route of giving him a G1 inspired paint job? Sure there's a touch of metallic blue here and there, but that doesn't change the fact that the base colour of this model is black. Then there's the light-piping. Glad he's got light piping for his eye... but why purple?

Then there's the gimmick. Of all the TransFormers in Revenge of the Fallen, Ravage is the least in need of a gimmick. Sadly, and for no readily obvious reason, he comes with a lever on his back which, when pulled, shoots his head forwards, opens his mouth and tilts his ears back.  Not exactly impressive... and it comes at the expense of an articulated neck so, while Ravage is capable of some decent poses in terms of leg and waist articulation, he's stuck looking dead ahead.

The guns are a neat addition, but their joints are hinges - no firing his guns perpendicular to his direction of travel for this robo-kitty... Which is a huge shame.

Still, what joints there are do allow for some excellent kitty-cat poses - everything from 'at rest' to 'about to pounce', via 'skulking in the shadows'. Ball-jointed ankles would have made him mode stable (and really only the rear ankles needed ball joints... the front legs do fine without), but he works well enough.

The tail is confusing. On the one hand, I realise they couldn't put a joint at every segment... but, on the other hand, why put a joint in the middle of the tail? Being a hinge, it adds little to his poseability and, since each half of his tail either side is slightly curved, any usage of this joint just makes his tail look weird.

Entry Mode:
Every so often, the TransFormers line presents us with an alternate mode than seems like an afterthought, and Deluxe Ravage is one such example. Bizarrely, the Legends version looked better, being based on the 'Fish Mode' which ended up on the movie's cutting room floor. This is supposed to be the flight/gliding-capable mode which got Ravage from outer space to the ocean near the N.E.S.T. base he infiltrated to retrieve an Allspark fragment.

It looks like someone ran over Ravage, and then tried to pose him in such a way as to make it easier to put him in a box. The trouble is that the cat mode is so specifically cat-like, there's virtually no room to manoeuvre with the alternate mode - it was never going to look like anything other than a folded up cat. Not even splitting open the chest to allow the legs to fold into the body, then flipping tiny 'wings' out from the sides would help. This is an alternate mode that doesn't just suffer from 'Visible Robot Head' Syndrome, it suffers from 'Visible Robot Everything' Syndrome.

I really want to like this mold more than I do... It could have been far better, but it's more than adequate as it is... Somehow, despite a colourscheme that's more G1 homage than movie accurate, it's just not Ravage.

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