Thursday, 27 February 2014

The YouTube Question

A bit of a random post today, on the subject of YouTube video reviews of TransFormers toys.

By and large, I find them irritating beyond my ability to adequately express. There's something utterly redundant about watching someone repeatedly fail to keep a toy in frame while discussing its merits and weaknesses, and narrating their unedited, often clumsy attempts to transform it with such helpful phrases as "and then you wanna get in here and do this" while their hands are actually in the frickin' way. On the rare occasion I've forced myself to watch a video review - generally because I'm not clear on a feature after looking over all the photos I can find - it feels as though I've wasted about twenty minutes of my life voluntarily participating in a faltering experiment in psychological torture.

Another personal bugbear is that certain reviewers - who shall remain nameless - are so unremittingly positive (or, at worst, indifferent) in their reviews, I can only assume their sponsorship deals with certain online retailers nets them a small commission on the sales of each figure they review.

I have thusfar resisted any impulse I may have had to start making video reviews because I couldn't imagine a way of doing them well.

Enter a British YouTuber and TransFormers fan, Thew Adams. His video reviews are short (averaging around five minutes, many not much more than three minutes), very much to the point and frequently very funny. His enthusiasm shines even when the review is negative. Every transformation he features is played back at high speed, and he actually manages to keep things visible the whole way through. Occasionally, his comments are peppered with phrases which may not be entirely politically correct in this enlightened day and age but, frankly, the overall entertaining quality of his videos makes up for any offence which may be caused to sensitive viewers.

What also struck me about Thew is that his praise for each toy is unique, rather than lumping each and every one with the same vague compliments, or excessive use of phrases like "it's just really, really cool" without any proper explanation of what is "cool" and why. Also, he's not above correcting mistakes and oversights in later videos, often making fun of them as he does.

He's grasped what's necessary in a review and left out all the unnecessary, aggravating padding that plagues TransFormers video reviews. So check him out... before you realise I've just been reviewing a reviewer...


  1. Never read a review of a reviewer before. So congrats on that. I personally loathe watching video reviews. Ironic since I very much enjoy filming, editing and posting them...

    Accents are one thing that annoys me easily though. Personally I quite like Vangelus' reviews. Entertaining and he knows how to edit and use a camera. That's about it though.

    1. Hey Tets, thanks for the comment. If I made video reviews, I'd probably feel the same as you - they do seem to be a lot of fun to make (which explains why there are plenty of bad ones out there) but, as with so many things in life, there's a huge difference between "fun to make" and "fun to watch", and I sometimes wonder if some of the folks that make toy reviews actually watch their own videos before posting. I guess it's a case of "your mileage may vary" and, as with lots of "Let's Play" videos, some get frustrating very quickly.

      I looked up Vangelus on YouTube and quite enjoyed the three or four reviews I picked at random - his vocabulary is way better than some of the sponsored reviewers, so he's certainly more compelling... and he doesn't take himself too seriously either - his captions often make fun of his occasional verbal or manual fumbles.