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.
When I took to YouTube in search of “1988 toy commercial” I assumed I’d find a good deal of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe spots to choose from, but it was this Transformers one that caught my attention. Seacons, Sparkabots and Firecons are exactly the kind of names that sucked so many of us into the adventures of the Autobots and Decepticons way back when.
Unlike most of the other posts associated with this year, this is one that I actually remember interacting with at the time, though I had to head over to the incredibly detailed Transformers Wiki to get the finer details. The Seacons consisted of Snaptrap (a turtle), Overbite (shark), Nautilator (lobster), Seawing (manta ray), Scalor (coelacanth) and Tentakil (squid). They joined forces to create Piranacon, a Combiner (which I love). You can read more about them here. Meanwhile, the Sparkabots and Firecons were toys that featured “cold” sparks produced by rolling the wheels back and forth on a hard surface. The good guys included Fizzle, Guzzle and Sizzle while the bad ones were dubbed Cindersaur, Flamefeather and Sparkstalker.
While I never had any of the Seacons (and don’t actually remember them to be honest) it does turn out that I have the Sizzle Sparkabot which has been hanging out in my garage for about a year. I dug him out for the purposes of this post and here he is:
Ol’ Sizzle is much tinier than I remember, but he’s still got that spark!
My family and I just got back from a nice vacation at my parents’ lake house in Michigan. While there, I went through a lot of my things that were packed up from our old house that I hadn’t seen in around a decade. I came back with a backpack full of great material for future blog posts, but also spotted an old favorite that I wanted to include here on TCT: McDonald’s Changeables. These were little robot-like toys that came in Happy Meals that took a page or ten from the Transformers playbook.
I’ve got to say, while I don’t remember the actual commercial above, it’s pretty darn impressive. They fully went for the T-Formers vibe and would have easily tricked Young Me into thinking that these were actually part of the Robots In Disguise’ Universe. This spot was more in line with what I remember from those days. Less animated, but still fun.
As it happens, one of my favorite pop culture blogs Dinosaur Dracula just did a post about the three sets of toys that you should definitely go check out if the above commercial gave you all kinds of flashbacks. I had no idea they did three different waves, but do have a few still hanging around including the Big Breakfast and Styrofoam container burger guy. The fry guy has a prominent place on my desk when my daughter doesn’t make off with him.
It’s funny when you think back to the days when, first, Lucasfilm didn’t want to put the Star Wars out as a set on DVD and then it took a while to get them on Blu-ray. Now in the past few years we’ve had a number of different sets. There’s two more now, Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI and Star Wars Trilogy Episodes I-III that include both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the films.
In other TV-related news, A&E Home Video has a collection of The Avengers episodes featuring none other than that iconic super spy herself: Emma Peel. Dubbed The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Megaset the set contains all 51 of Diana Rigg’s episodes as the character on the three discs.
Hugh Jackman recently told the world that he’s got a part in Neill Blomkamp’s robot kidnapping drama Chappie. [via Screen Daily]
Michael Bay showed off this picture of Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor from the set of Transformers: Age Of Extinction. [via Michael Bay]
Discovery Channel’s working on an Evel Kineval documentary called True Evel. [via Deadline]
Gina Carano’s In The Blood will be distributed by Anchor Bay and Fox home video. In the film, the MMA star goes on a mission to get her kidnapped husband back in the Caribbean. [via THR]
Maggie, the film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a dad trying to help his daughter played by Abigail Breslin after she gets bit by a zombie, has rounded out the family unit with Joely Richardson joining on as the mom. [via TheWrap]
Norse mythology and star Dominic Purcell take center stage in this spot from Epic Pictures Releasing’s Vikingdom which hits theaters and VOD on October 4th.
The word is still out on whether the Weinsteins want to cut 20 minutes from Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris and Jamie Bell or not. But you can still check out this mostly-in-English French trailer for the all-of-humanity-on-a-train revolution film which hits August 1st in the States.
The Last Days On Mars is probably more of a space-adventure-horror film, but this trailer from Magnet featuring Liev Shrieber, Olivia Williams and Elias Koteas is pretty intense. The film opens on December 6th.
If you’re a fan of The Hub’s Transformers: Prime or just morphing robots in general, you might want to check out the original home video presentation of Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising on October 8th.
Finally, this trailer for The Tiger Mask is like one big “getting ready for something awesome” scene without the actual “something awesome.” Still, the movie as described by Asian Movie Pulse sounds pretty rad.
I worked as an associate editor for ToyFare for about a year. I had written articles for them before that and have continued to do so as a freelancer. I love writing about toys and finding out what’s coming up from companies, but I also really like delving into the history of toys. My absolute favorite thing was coming up with an idea, pitching it to my boss, having it approved, writing the whole thing, editing it and seeing the finished product.
Enter what we dubbed the action feature feature, the idea being to compile a list of the coolest things that toys can do aside from standing there and having joints. Eventually named “We Want Action” the feature is my favorite non-interview piece I’ve done for TF. The list was a ton of fun to write, but then we had to find images of the toys included, which wasn’t always easy. Sure, we had the big ones in the ol’ toy library, but we also asked a few freelancers to send in pictures, talked to some websites with pics and–coolest of all–I had my dad send out some of my toys which actually made it into the mag. You can see a “Thank You” included there in the last picture for him. If you’re curious the Swamp Thing, Computer Warriors, Karate Kid and Beetlejuice figures are all mine. So much fun! Click the thumbnails for much larger versions you should be able to read!