Transformers Movie (2007) Optimus Prime Review

in 2007, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Movie (2007)

Transformers Live Action Movie


General Information:
Release Year: May 2007
Retailer: General release (Wal-Mart, Target, Toys 'R' Us etc.)
Price: $39.99 (Depending on retailer)
Accessories: Flame, Gun
Batteries Required: AA x 2 (Included)

Images:

*Image from the official Transformers web site.

Sounds:

Tech Specs:
For thousands of years, OPTIMUS PRIME and his AUTOBOTS have traveled through space in search of the Allspark. For all that time, the AUTOBOT leader has held one goal in mind - to protect the universe from the evil of MEGATRON. For this massive, metal warrior, nothing is more important than freedom; he will sacrifice all for its preservation. He has fought for centuries, modifying his body into an unstoppable war machine, preparing for that day he knows is coming when he and MEGATRON meet for one final battle!

Strength: 10  Intelligence: 10   Speed:Endurance: 10
Rank: 10  Courage: 10  Firepower: 10  Skill: 9


Packaging:
The Leader Class packaging is a new shape for Transformers packaging. Instead of a rectangle or squared off shape, it is curved to the right and flat on the left. Optimus is packaged in robot mode, allowing you to reach through the clear window and use his "Try Me!" feature. His package art is a drawing of his head on the lower right hand corner of the box (if you're facing the box). The tech specs are on the back along with a new type of graphic for the tech spec numbers. Instead of a line or just simple numbers this has several balls across a line representing the numbers. Optimus' Leader Class numbers match up with his Protoform. Optimus' cosell on the back is Blackout. On the bottom of the packaging are cosells for Ratchet and Barricade.

Robot Mode:
One of the shocks many fans expressed when the designs for the Transformers movies were revealed was the very "non blocky" look. For a long time now Transformers fans have been used to a very particular type of appearance with their beloved characters. Whether curved or angled, they all had a very solid appearance as opposed to the look of the movie where the Transformers have almost skeletal base structures with armor pieces and machinery on top.

In time, a lot of questions turned to the toys. How would they reconcile the ability to transform and this new aesthetic? Optimus Prime is the perfect answer to that question, displaying a combination of the "panel on machinery" look of the movie CGI models while also having parts that clearly share their roots with the non-movie Transformers toys.

The basic shape of Optimus Prime is humanoid, so that shape is retained between the movie CGI model and the figure. It is fair to say that the figure looks much more thick and angled than his onscreen counterpart. that does not mean he is completely inaccurate however. Starting with the head, one can see the quintessential Optimus head design. He has a central crest with antennae like protrusions on the sides connected to a circular piece on either side of the head. Some embelishments were made such as the addition of angled vents on the sides of his head and an indentation on the crest different than the ones on previous Prime-heads. This version of Optimus Prime (as there will be many, many versions of this character in toy form) has the "battle mode" version of the mouthplate in place - looking like the traditional Optimus Prime most people know. While the onscreen version of this character will feature a controversial mouth with lips, I think it was best to just sculpt the mouthplate instead. Granted they could have done something similar to Galaxy Convoy where there is a mouth with the mouthplate folding over it, but really as unpopular as the "Prime-lips" have been, I don't think anyone actually misses that feature.

The chest section also retains many classic Optimus Prime features while also managing to look a lot like the movie model. On the chest are the front windows of the truck. However, instead of being close together, the designers of the movie decided to have his chest split, revealing tech detail in the middle. The figure does this as well. In between the two windows is a tab (more on that later) and under that are two circles that could be barrels of a weapon or just superfluous tech details (until I see the movie I won't know). On the section below the chest are details that look like the grille on the front end of the truck split up, with the headlights under each grille half. In fact, the grille of the vehicle mode becomes the underside of the robot feet, so these are truly details put in to help the character (both in CGI and toy form) harken back to G1 Optimus Prime. Another detail that carried over from the original Optimus are the row of lights running along the top of his chest. G1 Optimus had these (which included horns) and it is nice to see a similar feature on this successor to G1 Prime.

The movie appearance of having a skeletal substructure with panels on top is intact here. On the shoulders of the CGI model are two blue, angled panels, and the figure has those as well. On either side of his head are two silver vertical panels that are also found in the movie model. Behind those panels are the tops of the smokestacks. The shoulders and elbow sections are rounded and have a very layered, deailed sculpt that includes tues, circles and more. His lower arms are basically a solid rectangle here, but through sculpting and the use of deco patterns, the look of panels on the CGI model's lower arms is replicated. The legs succeed in replicating the movie look very well. The upper legs are thin, rounded sections with a good chunk of detail carried over right from the movie model such as the circles on the inner parts of the knees. The lower legs have panels that fold up over the knees, revealing piston like details underneath straight from the movie model. His feet have the "claw toes" shape of the movie model as well. On the movie model the covers over the front tires of the vehicle mode are de-emphasized but here they of course retain their full size, and they actually add some much needed bulk.

Optimus is cast in metallic blue, red and silver plastic. Paint applications are made from the same colors with the addition of gold. These are largely based on the colors used on the CGI model. However, due to the way mold trees work out, color placement does not 100% match the CGI model, but it comes very close. The silver plastic is mostly used for the parts that serve as the underlying skeletal structure of the robot in the CGI model. The blue and red parts generally act as the armor plating. Some translucent blue plastic can be found on the windows on his chest. An example of paint applications used to help replicate the movie model can be seen on the lower arms. While they are a solid rectangular piece, the movie model has more angled panels over a lower arm piece. To replicate the panel look, sections are painted red and others left metallic blue to look like separate plates.

Swing the cannon on Optimus' right arm forward and it slips over his hand forming an arm cannon. The one in the movie is shown as a bit longer, but here it looks just fine. Pressing the trigger launches a translucent blue missile. He has twenty seven points points of articulation. If that number seems high, ten of those points are actually on his fingers which was a real big surprise. I had not expected something like that on this figure and they look really cool and add to how expressive you can make him when posing the figure.

Transformation:
The Leader class Optimus Prime figure features what is known as the "Automorph" feature that will be featured on many of the movie action figures. "Automorph" refers to a design feature where as you move one piece, another piece moves at the same time - mostly to facilitate transformation. On Optimus this is seen on two parts. Using the aforementioned tab on his chest, you push it down and his head moves down while his chest panels move together. When transforming him into robot mode you press the tab on his lower body and this part slides up as the chest panels slide to the sides. This is accompanied by a sound and orange lights on his chest and eyes flashing. The other Automorph feature is found on the feet. When you turn the fender piece to the sides, his "claw feet" fold back. Not only is this feature nice to see in action, but it also brings the figure a step closer to the visual appearance of the movie character transformations.

  1. Fold all the fingers on the hands closed and swing the thumb down.
  2. Swing the weapon back if deployed.
  3. Push the tab on his chest down and lock it into place.
  4. Swing down the silver panels on his shoulders.
  5. Swivel the blue panels on his upper arms over the top of the shoulders.
  6. Swing down the panels on the undersides of his lower arms.
  7. Swing open the silver panels and fold the fists in before putting the panels back in place.
  8. Swing the lower arms up and connect them to the shoulder panels and upper arms.
  9. Swing the rear truck wheel section on the back down.
  10. Swing the waist section back, kdeeping the robot legs pointing down.
  11. On the back, swing the red panels out and then swing the tube sections forward.
  12. Swing the arm sections back and connect them together.
  13. Swing up the rear wheel sections and connect them to the arm sections.
  14. Swing the fenders on the underside of the feet to the sides, then slide them into place to lock them.
  15. Connect the two legs together.
  16. Fold out the knee armor panels.
  17. Swing the knee armor panels forward.
  18. Swing the legs up and straighten out the panels to form the hood of the truck.
  19. Swing the red panels on the sides (with the vertical tanks on them) forward.

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is a Peterbilt truck. Much ado was made about Optimus being a long nose truck instead of a truck with a flat front end like his G1 incarnation. However there have been a few versions of Optimus Prime already made with a long front nose (including Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime and Combat Hero Optimus Prime) so this is hardly a precedent of any sort. Since it is the front end of the vehicle that becomes Prime's legs, it is not hard to see how the requirement for Optimus being larger than the Autobots being fulfilled by this form.

The long nose of the truck is straight but also has curved sections such as the tire covers. Over the front windshield windows are two angled covers. Mounted on either side of the nose are two tanks with ring details on them. The sides of the truck have steps that lead up to the doors on the sides. Behind those are round tanks, each serving double duty as the compartment to store the AA batteries the toy uses for its sound and lights. A good section of theweapon for the robot mode can be seen on the back, perhaps this alternate mode's only failing. The rear section has a good bit of vent detailing along with an oval section at the very rear where a trailer would hitch onto. I was surprised to see rather long smokestacks on the vehicle. To satisfy safety laws, the base of the smokestacks are solid plastic while the upper halves are very soft plastic, so much so that I would recommend not trying to play around with them too much for fear of deforming them.

The smaller details on this truck are largely based on its real life counterpart. The front grille has a series of vertical slits with tiny circular details inside of them. The front fender is flat, but again with circular details running along the lower edge. As you follow the lines of the truck from its nose all the way to the back wheels, you'll find several lines of raised circles running along the edges representing bolts. Horizontal line details run along the length of the lower half of the smokestacks. Running along the top edge of the cab section is a row of seven lights to go along with the four headlights. Other small details include windshield wipers sculpted onto the windows as well as a tiny Autobot symbol right on top of the grille in front. This is a detail found on the real vehicle used for filming in the movie, and it is the biggest giveaway of this figures' allegiance. Considering this vehicle mode represents a real life vehicle much like their Alternators toy cousins, it is tiny details such as these that really help make the toy.

It is in this mode that Optimus' colors truly come together (as opposed to the robot mode where they are separated by the arrangement of panels). The front grille, fender, tanks, wheels, steps, smokestacks and window covers are all cast in metallic silver. The rest of the truck is mostly red and blue plastic, with some black plastic at the rear. perhaps the most controversial deco on Optimus are his flames. On the red portions, the flames are painted blue. On the blue sections, they are painted red. Under the blue flames on the front end is a nice gold spray op. There are even blue flames over the red sections over the rear wheels. I have to say that this color scheme works very well. The gold spray ops in particular really give the impression of fire on the front hood. The blue, red and silver are all colors that have come to be associated with Optimus Prime over the years, and they work together nicely in this form.

Optimus Prime rolls on six large wheels. What surprised me is that these wheels are actually rubber, something previously reserved for figures such as those from the Alternators toy line. Given that the figure is a very basic Transformer with no particular gimmick such as Mini-Cons or Cyber Keys, I suspect this was a way to help add some value to the figure and it is really nice to see. Not only does it look cool, but it also harkens back to the very first Optimus Prime toy from over twenty years ago. On the top of the cab is a button (on the right side) that you press to activate a honking noise. At the same time the noise goes off, the orange lights in the windows light up in a pattern to match the noise.

Final Thoughts:
Leader Class Optimus Prime is a breath of fresh air in many ways. His "gimimick" really is just a way to facilitate transformation. He is at its most basic level, a classic Transformer: an alternate form to a robot. However the level of detail, sculpting and posability is fantasitc and manages to take on the difficult task of taking the complex CGI model and putting it into toy form. Highly recommended.