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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Movie Figures
Raphael
4.5 Inch Scale
By: Playmates
$8.99

Let me preface this review by saying Raphael is my least favorite turtle and I detest everything about the 2014 movie designs but when TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.com sent along a Raphael for me to check out, I couldn’t necessarily refuse. Much to my surprise, there’s a lot to like about this Raph figure. In fact, it’s a really fun little figure.

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Perhaps the nicest thing about this figure is that Playmates have done a good job replicating the actual movie design, without necessarily going so far as to translate the utter ridiculousness. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that Raphael has the least ignorant redesign on the surface. Whereas the other turtles have random crap stuck to their bodies, Raph is pretty normal aside from the hunchback shell and skirt.

In fact Raph definitely channels the Next Mutation designs, which I actually loved. Clearly this goes overboard, but at least he’s not wearing glasses and oversized sneakers. So is this still worth your hard earned cash? Let’s find out! Continue reading

Raph
Playmates and Nickelodeon have announced an exclusive figure for this year’s San Diego Comic Con and it’s somewhat of a surprise. Dubbed the “original” Raphael, this release features Raph in an exclusive black and white deco. What makes this particularly interesting is the fact that it’s an all new sculpt, that appears to be based on the classic Mirage comics. In fact, it bares more than a passing resemblance to the Mirage NECA Turtles that were released a few years back.

It also appears to use at least some parts of the never released Playmates Mirage TMNT (which looked like fine figures, but their style was quite different from the NECA figures and was more of a “modern” Mirage interpretation) but it is not a complete release of that figure. Instead this figure has a new plastron and other parts. Still it appears at least a little of that unreleased figure is in this. Of course, this begs the question on whether Playmates will release these style turtles at retail.

Playmates Original Raphael
It also makes me wonder if this figure will actually have articulation. It clearly has joints, but last year’s Night Shadow Leonardo also appeared to be articulated, yet wasn’t. The awkward posing in some of these early photos make it seem as though some joints are frozen. Hopefully we’ll get a definitive answer and price soon.

While it might seem strange for Playmates to release Ninja Turtles in a different style than the Nickelodeon show, it’s worth noting that Nick has been pushing a lot of retro TMNT products. KidRobot is doing a “original toon” line, while the Loyal Subjects are producing a vinyl Mirage TMNT line. Hopefully we’ll see a full color Mirage based line from Playmates, to help heal those old wounds of NECA leaving us without a wave 2 of their line.

ReAction

ReAction Rocketeer
The Rocketeer
3 3/4 Inch Scale
By: Funko
$9.99

When The Rocketeer hit theaters in 1991, Disney put a ton of merchandising behind it. There was literally every kind of movie tie-in you could think of, from birthday party hats to paddle balls. Everything except one major tie-in… The only thing that was left out was action figures. Had Rocketeer turned into a hit, instead of a misunderstood gem, one imagines that a toy line would have been inevitable, perhaps as part of a cartoon. Instead, it’s taken over 20 years for us to get a “traditional” action figure of the Rocketeer.

Cliff Secord
But even that is a bit of a misnomer, as the Rocketeer is the first figure in Funko’s ReAction toy line. ReAction is a line of “retro” styled figures, in the format of vintage Kenner Star Wars figures. Okay, technically the Super 7 Alien figures came first, but those were created before Funko came on board and were based off decades old sculpts. Rocketeer is the first newly sculpted ReAction figure and he’s got a lot of hype and a lot to live up to.

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So with all that pressure, does the Rocketeer manage to deliver? The answer is no, mostly it doesn’t. But does that mean this figure is worth skipping? Read on to find out why this may still be worth your time. Continue reading

Retro 60s Batman

Batman Classic TV Series
Batman
8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys
$24.99

There’s something inherently awesome about the classic 1966 Batman TV show. While the show played up it’s campy nature, with ridiculous concepts, over the top fights and well placed humor, it all worked for one reason or another. For decades fans have flocked to this show and it’s become a cult classic with a massive following of fans. At one point Adam West was so recognized for being Batman that he couldn’t escape the role and the public had a hard time separating West’s campy portrayal from any incarnation of the character.

Classic TV Series Batman Figures
Despite the show’s continued licensing longevity, there was never much in the way of action figures and toys until this year. Mattel was the first to market with their 60’s Batman 6 inch figures, but that toy line flat-lined almost as soon as it stepped foot out of the Batcave. None of the figures quite worked and Mattel made it clear they weren’t intending to make it a full fledged toy line, thus killing it before it ever really hit shelves.

Retro Batman Figures Review
Enter Figures Toy Company and it’s Classic TV Toys brand to bring us their take on the 1960’s Batman show in action figure form. Classic TV Toys have had mixed results in the past with their 8 inch figure brands, but to many folks the vintage 70’s Megos served as the unofficial toy line of the William Dozier show. So it’s a pretty natural fit that this “Mego-like” style of figures would be a good vessel for a classic TV series Batman toy line. Over the next few days I’ll be reviewing all of Series 1 of these new Batman figures, but today we start with Batman himself, as portrayed by Adam West. Continue reading

Godzilla Review
Earlier tonight I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of Godzilla, the new motion picture from Legendary and Warner Brothers. The film has a lot going for it and certainly does a fine job of erasing the memory of the horribly maligned 1998 Tristar take on the character. While the marketing for that film was much better, this movie has managed to be a bit deceptive in it’s marketing because it’s not nearly as visceral as the advertisements would have you believe. Godzilla the movie isn’t so much about the creature itself and it’s certainly not the “Gojira” remake that some of the promos seem to make it out to be.

Instead, Godzilla is largely a paint-by-numbers “Godzilla movie”, following the basic formula of a dozen or so other entries in the series. Of course, this time it’s with a bunch of Americans in the central roles and no invaders from Planet X, but you get the idea. Even the scenes in Tokyo, seem to be filled with more English speaking actors than not. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just very much catering to a Western audience.

Without going into specific plot points, it’s fair to say that Godzilla has to tangle with another monster, as has become a hallmark of the franchise. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where Godzilla doesn’t quite deliver as strongly as it should. The problem with this Godzilla movie is pretty much the same problem that every Godzilla movie has had… Not enough monster fighting.

Kaiju
The difference between this entry and other efforts, is that the monster fight potential here is huge but it’s largely squandered. We see lots of aftermath, but very little of the battles themselves. And for as much as the destruction is evident, we never really get that beauty shot of city smashing. At times it almost seems like Godzilla is a ninja, stealthy appearing out of nowhere, despite his increased size in this film. This is one shortcoming from director Gareth Edwards, who at times slavishly recreates the classic Godzilla style, but omits a few key parts that leave you feeling a bit like your prom date skipped out before the hotel.

The most heinous offense is when Edwards forgets to include the first monster skirmish about 40 minutes into the film to hold audiences over. Typically this sets up the climatic final battle, but here we’re teased with a first battle, only to have the film cut away to much less interesting human subplot. Sadly, this as with most of the films in this genre, is a bit of a letdown. He then repeats this a few times over.

Bryan Cranston puts in a pretty strong performance, but despite all the advertising, he’s not the main character of the film. The main family that becomes the focus of the film couldn’t be more uninteresting if they tried. On the plus side, at least it’s not Channing Tatum in the “hero” role. Ken Watanabe also does a fine job, but he’s given absolutely nothing to work with. It’s a shame, because his character could almost be interesting, but instead he’s mostly there to try and give the film a “message” and explain perfunctory dialogue. Continue reading