Corpse Bride DVD two pack

The Corpse Bride, Tim Burton's latest film, was released on DVD today. The movie wasn't a blockbuster hit, but did fairly well in theaters. I suspect it will do even better now that it's on DVD, and can reach a more cult audience, similar to the situation with Nightmare Before Christmas.

Mcfarlane Toys picked up the license for all kinds of Corpse Bride goodies last year, including action figures. To commemorate the release of the DVD, they've released a boxed set of Victor and the Bride, posed just like the movie poster image. If you haven't found these at the store yet - I know they were trying to hit the DVD release date as close as possible - you should see them very soon. Expect to pay around $25.


Packaging -  **1/2
Normally, packaging only plays a very small part in any overall score. Sometimes it's so small, you can barely see it. This is not one of those times, however. This set of figures are designed to be sold to the collector, set up in such a way that the packaging adds to the overall appeal. The idea is to have them like the movie poster, done so nicely that you don't feel the need to open them up.

Unfortunately, the package falls a bit short of the goal. I love boxes, and this one is sturdy and colorful, using graphics from the film to its advantage. But the fifth panel box design means that you'll have to open the box to see the figures, and won't be able to (easily) display them on a shelf in the movie poster pose. 

Something creative would have been great here. Something where the figures were attached to a backing from the film, and could be hung on the wall, poster style. But instead, we got a fairly standard box design, and Mcfarlane missed an opportunity to push the envelope. I think actual figures in poster poses, done in front of posters, in a wall hanging package, would make for a much more interesting concept than '3-d wall art', which has already been played.

The inside tray can be used as a backdrop though, and I used it for a number of the photos.

And while most boxes are usually pretty collector friendly, allowing you to remove the figures and put them back with little damage, this set is twisty tie hell. There were close to a dozen ties on this pair, designed to hold them in a perfect pose. Unfortunately, the package doesn't take advantage of the pose the way it should have.

Sculpting - ****
I voted the Bride the best female action figure under 12" for 2005, and I have no regrets about it. The first series version was amazing work, and this one is almost identical. There are some slight variations, but they are paint related.  If you liked the first sculpt, you'll like this one, and it has all the same terrific detail.  She stands fine on her own, especially with the long train attached.

It is important to point out though that you won't get an exact poster reproduction with these figures.  The Corpse Bride figure is actually a mirror image of the actual figure on the poster, with the arms and legs swapped.  I think that's actually correct from the film, and that the poster was wrong, but the observant collector will notice.

Likewise, Victor is the same excellent sculpt we saw with series 1. His look is altered slightly with paint ops, but his sculpt is the same.  While I was a little rough on the series 1 Victor, I have to admit that he's continued to grow on me the longer I've had him, and this one has even more personality due to the altered eyes.  He can't stand on his own of course, but the stand works well.

And while the hand sculpts on neither figure has changed, the hands work great in making the poster pose.

Paint - Bride ****; Victor ***1/2
The paint ops are the only real variation between these figures and the originals.

The obvious change is the eyes.  Both are looking to the side, matching the appearance from the poster.  This works well individually too, giving them more personality than a straight forward gaze.

The paint ops on the Bride are as amazing as the first time around, and are otherwise identical.  There's a ton of excellent detail work, a great color palette, and the paint makes this wonderful sculpt really pop on the shelf.

Victor does have one additional difference - he's pants are darker.  That's the only other change in the paint work, and it's a bit of an improvement.  He still has the same problems with the stripes on his pants, including missing sections on the inside thighs, but the darker color makes the issue with the black lines less apparent.

Articulation - Victor ***1/2; Bride ***
The articulation on these figures matches series 1.  Both have ball jointed necks, but the Bride's joint doesn't have too much of a range of motion.

Victor has cut shoulders, cut biceps, double jointed elbows and knees, cut wrists, and hips.  The hips have very little movement because of the jacket, but the arm articulation, along with the ball jointed neck, makes for great poses.

The Bride has a ball jointed shoulder on the left (which snapped on me almost immediately), cut right shoulder, single pin elbows, cut wrists, cut biceps, cut waist, and hips.

Be very careful with those small joints - they can work well, but be sure you handle them with kid gloves.  

Accessories - ***
The accessories are a tad short this time around. The large extension to the Bride's veil is there of course, and a small cobblestone stand is included to keep Victor standing. But the real draw in this department is the addition of the dog, Scraps.

Since the dog was on the poster, it makes sense that he's included here. The sculpt and paint are great, but he's completely unarticulated. And while it might appear like his neck is jointed, it's not. Trust me. I snapped mine with the slightest of twist.

The dog stands nicely on his own, or he can be held in the Bride's arms. He fits in pretty well scale wise, and will add to the overall Corpse Bride display nicely.

Value - **
I'm basing this off the suggested retail of around $25. That's steep for two reissued figures with so few accessories, and such slight changes. However, if you pay attention, I have some spots down below where you can pick it up for just $18, and at that price you can add another half to full star. Considering how quickly the two main characters disappeared from series 1, these will be great for folks that missed out at that price.

Fun Factor - **
As much as this is a 'kids' movie, these aren't really fun toys.  They look just like they stepped off the screen, but the fragile joints make them a little too easy to break for the kids to have much fun.

Things to watch out for - 
I mentioned that the dog is somewhat fragile, especially the neck. Be careful when handling him.  I also managed to snap the left shoulder on the Bride with very little effort, and it seriously bummed me out.  Don't make my mistake!

Overall -  ***1/2
While these aren't kid's toys, they are excellent collectible action figures for the film.  This set isn't a particularly good deal for folks that snagged the originals, and I don't recommend picking them up if you already have the first set.  But for those that missed out - and these two were the ones that went fast - this is a great deal.

Packaging - **
Sculpt - ****
Paint - Bride ****; Victor ***1/2
Articulation - Victor ***1/2; Bride ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - **
Value - **
Overall -  ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Lots of online retailers have these listed for pre-order:

- Clark Toys has a great price on the boxed set at $18, and the pre-orders for series 2 are just $11 each.

- Killer Toys has a killer price at $18 for the pair.

- Amazing Toyz has the pair for $21. The also have pre-orders up for series 2.

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $21, along with pre-orders up for series 2.

- OMGToys doesn't have this pair listed, but they do have most of the first series still available at $11.50 each.

Related Links:
I've reviewed a number of the Corpse Bride products so far:

- there's the first series of action figures of course, very high on my list of great lines for 2005.

- and they also have a very cool feature  on their website covering the line.

- if you're looking for something a little more 'high end', check out the Gentle Giant site for their statues and busts.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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