January 22nd, 2009

Smile

He DARES to be stupid!

Shortpacked!: All's well that ends well.

Wreck-Gar is voiced by "Weird Al" Yankovic. That may be all you need to know.

The original Wreck-Gar was voiced by Eric Idle. However, his introductory scene in the Animated Transformers Movie was scored with Weird Al's "Dare to be Stupid." So when Cartoon Network couldn't get Eric Idle to reprise his role as Wreck-Gar for Transformers Animated, they went for the tangent reference, and in the process, made Wreck-Gar maybe the best Transformer ever.

As you can probably tell from the head, he's designed to look like Weird Al, too. There's some facial hair, plus the television set that seems to comprise his helmet resembles Weird Al's original perm. There's the long chin, the goofy eyes, the sideways smile.... He is Weird Al the Transformer.

The rest of the design is also visually interesting. There's segmented tubing sculpted into several parts of his body, such as his neck, the tops of his thighs, and his biceps. I love his giant articulated hands (just at the knuckles) and the curvature of his legs from hip to heel.

The original Wreck-Gar transformed into a motorcycle. He lived on the planet of Junk. That's not the most efficient thematic branding, so this new Wreck-Gar transforms into a garbage truck. Wreck-Gar is the first Transformers garbage truck! That in itself is pretty sweet. (He is not the first transforming robot garbage truck. The old Tonka GoBots line got a lot of cool altmodes that Transformers is just now getting around to.) The lifting-forks on the front of the vehicle have a geared action where you pull back a tiny lever and they stretch and lift. There's also a longer lever on the top of the large garbage containment area that, when moved, reveal large bladed weapons. These can be removed and separately pegged onto his forearms, or combined into a double-edged bladed weapon. Or you can keep them stowed within the slots on his back.

So, yeah, let's go down the checklist so far. Voiced by Weird Al, head is a caricature of Weird Al, transforms into garbage truck, is in one of the most amusing Animated episodes yet...

There are some downpoints, though. You may not care, considering. But Wreck-Gar is a hell of a shellformer. The front grill/bumper of the garbage truck is the only vehicle part that becomes part of the robot. The entire rest of Wreck-Gar is shoved up inside the huge garbage containment box. He's kind of like a Popple. You just turn him inside out. This does, of course, result in a very clean, show-accurate robot mode. There's no extra kibble hanging off his legs or any other place, which makes him a little more like your conventional action figure.

Meanwhile, the cab of the truck folds into the now-vacant space under the garbage containment box and that all hangs off the robot mode's back, lifting-forks and all. The back two sets of wheels do remain on his arms, which does make him look a little more like a transformable robot, but it's a small concession.

But lord, that is so not a dealbreaker. I love my Weird Al Transformer so much. And part of the character's thing is that he's able to yank just about anything out of his garbage truck backpack, akin to Harpo Marx or Wakko Warner, so why not his entire robot mode? It... sort of makes sense! And despite the heavy backpack, he stands stable on his feet. The balance of weight is just right, and his fold-out heels are very rigid.

So, yeah. I recommend him. He's a shellformer, but he's a great character with a great look. The backpack doesn't get in the way of his articulation, and so no harm, no foul, really.

Plus his weapons kind of look like scissors.

Wonder why that is.

Hmmmm.