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Series: Rise of the Beasts
Year: 2023
Allegiance: Autobot
Class: Voyager

Prelude:  Since the beginning of the Transformers live-action franchise back in 2007, we’ve had well over a 100 figures depicting Live-Action Optimus Prime. Naturally the Rise of the Beasts toyline (both the mainline and the Studio Series) also features several versions of the Autobot leader. Seeing as I heard bad things about the Studio Series version (which appeared in the Buzzworthy Bumblebee line for some reason) I instead opted for the mainline Voyager-Class figure, which was on clearance at Smyth Toys. Is a hefty discount enough to combat the live-action Optimus Prime fatigue? Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: An Optimus Prime figure, be it cartoon or live-action based, needs to conform to several criteria. Head with a blue helmet and mouthguard, check. A mostly red chest with truck windows, check. Big blue boots, check. Smoke stacks on the shoulders (length depending on current child safety standards), check. Indeed, we have an Optimus Prime figure here, boys and girls, no doubt about it. He even carries a variation of Optimus Prime’s trusty black rifle (despite the movie character never using one).

The figure is well-proportioned and amazingly well-articulated. Optimus has just about any joint imaginable, including poseable ankles that bend to the outside as well, enabling cool running poses. The had can only turn, not look up, but that is about the only limitation. His waist only turns a few degrees, but you can also twist him just underneath the chest windows (a transformation requirement), so posing him mid-turn is no problem at all. The only slight downside I can see here is that his forearms are a bit skinny, only the kibble on the outside gives them the illusion of more bulk. Also, the joints connecting the feet to the legs are maybe a bit too lose, but those are just minor things and don’t impede the figure much at all.

In terms of looks, Optimus’ chest adheres to the modern look of having the chest windows slightly apart. The whole thing looks like those chest windows could presumably open up and the grey plate behind it looks like there might be a Matrix hidden behind it. There isn’t, of course, and the chest windows only open up those few degrees needed for the look, no more than that. The hollow space inside the chest is needed for the head in truck mode. And speaking of hollow space, from certain angles you can look right through Optimus’ chest, though it’s nowhere near as visible as it was with G1 Optimus Prime.

Two more things and then I’m done with the robot mode. One, Optimus can nicely complement his look by using the axe that came with Studio Series Optimus Primal. I know, it was actually intended for the Buzzworthy Bumblebee version, but it works nicely on this one, too. And second, one of the first things that came to me when I saw pictures of this robot: he looks like he isn’t wearing pants. Being uniformly grey from just underneath his chest windows to his knees, it looks like Optimus is flashing us. Unless you count that little black square on his crotch as a G-string. Good luck unseeing that!

So bottom line: a very fun robot mode. Most fun I’ve had with a live-action Optimus Prime figure in years.

Alternate Mode: Naturally Optimus Prime becomes a red semi-truck, very close in size and design to G1 Optimus Prime. The transformation is more or less the standard Optimus Prime transformation. Head vanishes inside the chest, arms fold in to become the sides and fenders, and the legs become the back of the truck. The resulting vehicle looks pretty good and the front portion at least has no visible robot bits. The back half has a bit of trouble hiding the robot feet properly, but I’ve seen worse.

Nothing much more I can write here, to be honest. Optimus can store his rifle on the back of the truck and I think the tires could be a bit larger, but that’s pretty much it. Nothing really knew here, just the same trusty red semi-truck we have known for four decades now. Which isn’t a bad thing, of course, when we’re talking about an Optimus Prime figure.

Remarks: Hasbro and Paramount remain uncommitted on whether or not Rise of the Beasts and the previous movie Bumblebee are a reboot of the live-action continuity. Personally, I have moved beyond caring, seeing as none of the movies really cared much about continuity in the first place. Nevertheless, Rise of the Beasts was an entertaining movie, mostly due to the Maximals. And Optimus Prime starred as well, of course, though for once he had very little interest in aiding the humans or protecting Earth, being focused instead on getting back to Cybertron poste haste. Naturally he learned to appreciate the value of all sentient life, thanks to some pep talks by Optimus Primal and human buddy Noah, and ended up taking faces again, thus becoming the (live-action) Optimus Prime we know and (possibly) love.

It was a given that Rise of the Beasts would feature new Optimus Prime toys. And apart from the various kid-oriented figures, we had two Voyager-Class toys to choose from. I never had the Buzzworthy Bumblebee / Studio Series figure in hand myself, but several buddies have told me that he was not particularly good. So, when Smyth Toys marked down the mainline Optimus Voyager figure, I decided to give it a try and I was not disappointed. ROTB Optimus isn’t really showing us anything new, but he is a fun figure with great articulation, no flaws worth mentioning, and nicely depicts the character from the movie. What more can you want? So final verdict: recommended to all Optimus Prime and Rise of the Beasts fans.

Rating: B+

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