As a kid in the 80s, I loved the Transformers. Like many of my compatriots, I could not get enough of giant robots or things that morphed making it both the perfect cartoon and toy line for me. I wasn’t a diehard fan (I only know the names of a few of the Autobots and Decepticons) but it was a big part of my youth. I even have a Transformers sleeping bag that my son now uses!
So, I was pretty excited to watch the Transformers film in 2007. And you know what? I dug it! This was before coming to understand how problematic and awful certain aspects of that production and its director were, so I found myself enthralled with this tale of giant robots fighting each other with surprisingly durable humans running around. It certainly helped that they used the few Transformers I can name from memory AND some of the sound effects from the cartoon! With the second film in the series, I found myself no longer having fun and stayed away, that is until watching Bumblebee with my wife!
Continue reading Bumblebee Is Exactly The Transformers Movie I Was Hoping For
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I’m fairly confident I found a doozy here! Check out the Hulk Rage Cage produced by Fun Stuff in the late 70s. I’d never heard of this one, but I love the idea of a toy designed to fully capture the Jade Giant’s destructive capabilities. On the other hand, I’m not sure how much replay value this would have after the first few bar-breaks.
What’s even crazier, though, is that this idea has persisted over the years. It looks like Toy Biz made one as part of the Marvel Super Heroes line in the early 90s, but also brought it back a few years later in a line dedicated to the Hulk’s UPN cartoon! Nice work Fun Stuff!
Watching cartoons with your kids can be a real double, or possibly triple edged sword. On one hand, you get to see what they like, how they react and file away situations and moments that might come in handy when relating something to them down the line. On the other side, you have to sit through some real garbage. And on the other, other side — possibly the sharpest of the bunch — you see how commercially obsessed they are by requesting one of everything shown in the commercials.
But, hey, sometimes you see something cool like Havex Machines commercials. Sure it might have some souped up CGI wizardry, but this spot feels very much in line with the kinds of ads they showed us in the 80s. There’s the implication of a long-standing battle between sides, not to mention the talk-shouting approach and cool-as-hell looking sets they get to play on.
Better yet, Havex Machines seem to basically be Transformers that can only switch modes when you drive a Micro Machine into them with maybe a little Centurions thrown in (Earth! Sea! Sky!) That’s a combo I can definitely get behind.
There are roughly a thousand things I love about this Kenner Star Wars spot. First off, that’s Christian Slater on the left and Christmas Story and Death Valley star Peter Billingsley on the right. Second, I’ve had some of the action figures in this commercial since I can remember remembering things like Hoth Han and IG-88. Third, I’ve always seen and been enamored with that Darth Vader carrying case, but never realized that it actually featured the names of the characters and designated spots. Fourth, it’s hilarious to me that, of all the amazing characters on display as the camera pans by, AT-AT Driver and the medical droid get shout outs from young Master Slater. Okay, so maybe there were only five things I love about this commercial, but it’s still a great watch.
Even as a kid, I knew there was something off with 1993’s Super Mario Bros. movie. I don’t remember being super excited about it coming out — not like I was for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few years earlier — but I do remember being confused by the tiny headed lizard dudes and, well, everything else.
These days, I’m happy the movie exists because it gave us Ertl action figures based on Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper AND Fisher Stevens. What other movie can say that? More importantly, what accent is this kid trying to do?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but M.A.S.K. may have been the perfect 80s toy line. Shrink down G.I. Joes and put them inside Transformers? Yeah, I’m on board that idea all day long. It’s been a while since I shined the spotlight on these rad 80s ads, but I was dazzled by the use of actual race cars in this one to sell toys! Back at my folks’ place, I have two duffle bags filled with these vehicles and after watching this spot, I want to dig them out! This reminds me that I should watch the animated series on DVD and also catch up on the IDW comic. I’m missing out on so much M.A.S.K. goodness!
A few years back I took the time to spotlight the rad 90s Kenner Superman: The Man Of Steel line (that was probably only rad to kids like me who were HUGE Man of Steel fans). The line didn’t last very long, but it gave us some really interesting commercials. The one you see above has a lot of the same figure as seen in the previous post from four years ago, but with the added awesomeness of Superboy’s motorcycle. Why would he need one? He doesn’t! He just wants one, so take that!
Also, I dig how into it those kids are! They really nail the “Don’t Mess With The S” slogan and I’m pretty sure one of them is dressed exactly like Marty McFly in Back To The Future, so bonus points for that.
Finally, how crazy is it that Conduit has an action figure?