Indiana Jones DVD Case

 Indiana Jones DVD Case

It's here - May 22nd. For most of us, that means our first chance to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While I always date my reviews for the next day, I'm posting this on Thursday night. In fact, while you read this...if you're reading it right after I posted it...I'm sitting in a darkened theater with my kids, enjoying the movie.  EDIT:  I'm back, and I felt compelled to review the movie too.

I'm a huge fan of the original films, and I've been buying way too much Indy crap this time around. But who can blame me? It's not like we've had a flood of merchandise over the years. Blockbuster jumped on the merchandise bandwagon, putting out a number of exclusive products tied in with the film. There's t-shirts, hats, photos, glasses, and tonight's review, a DVD case designed to hold four DVD's, and do it in fine Indy fashion.

When I first saw the ad for this exclusive, I was certainly intrigued. It wasn't cheap at $50, and it comes with no dvd's. It's just a case! But it looked very interesting in the promo photos, and so I began tracking one down. How hard could it be - there's 5,000 Blockbuster stores in America!

Turns it, when you leave a promotion up to Blockbuster, it can be pretty tough. Reports first came in about three weeks ago that folks were finding these in the stores along with the other merchandise. Or at least in some stores. In my area, they weren't available. In fact, at four different Blockbuster locations, I talked with at least 12 different employees - and none of them had any idea what I was referring to. If it were one or two folks, I could blame them, but clearly corporate did a terrible job communicating to their employees what was up with what is clearly one of their largest promotions this year.

Once I finally convinced them that such a beast actually existed, I was told by one store that there was a 'street date'. They had them, but couldn't put them out til the 13th. And so I waited patiently til the 13th, visited the store at 6pm that evening, and they pulled the box from the back. Sure enough, it wasn't the dvd cases but the special edition dvd's in the box. And the big label on the box didn't say they couldn't put it out before the 13th, but rather that it should be out by the store opening on the 13th. The irony that these employees were concerned about a street date and yet didn't put the product out when they were supposed to was not lost on me.

And so I continued to waste time and gas visiting these various Blockbusters over the course of the next several days, until finally one got them in stock. They knew I was looking for them, and had been kind enough to even set one aside, although it didn't look like there was any rush at the door to buy them up.

Clearly, Blockbuster has a long way to go to get a handle on how to actually communicate major promotions like this to both their employees and their customers, at least if they want to actually sell them through. I had a Hell of a time buying this puppy, but maybe that was their plan all along. C'mon, after all that work did you think I was going to leave it on the shelf?

Indiana Jones DVD Case

Indiana Jones DVD Case
Indiana Jones DVD Case
Indiana Jones DVD Case
Indiana Jones DVD Case
Indiana Jones DVD Case

Packaging - **1/2
The DVD cover comes in a fairly sturdy box with the basic movie package designs. There's a photo of the case on the exterior, but you won't be able to see - or truly appreciate - what you're getting til you open it up. That might be a marketing mistake, since getting folks to part with $50 (especially at a store like Blockbuster where they plan on spending $4 for a movie) might be tough without going the extra mile to show off the goods.

Sculpting - ***
The exterior claims this is 'hand crafted resin'. Hmmm. There is some resin here, although plastic is the more predominate material. Actually, you wouldn't want the body of the case to be resin, since it would be far too easy to damage it when you were opening and closing it.

The hat is clearly resin, and there may be some coating the exterior of the case as well. While the interior is plastic, there's sort of a weird heft and balance to the thing that makes it feel like the sculpted areas may have some additional material added.

The hat and whip are separate pieces from the top of the case. The hat has two holes in it, and it slides down smoothly over two metal posts on the case. The whip is the reverse, having two posts attached that slide down into holds on the corner of the case. The instructions suggest gluing these in place once you've opened the box to avoid damaging them during use.

The first thing to impress upon you is the size of this thing. I'll tell you it's 9" tall (including the hat) by 8 1/2" wide (not including the base) by almost 4" deep (again not including the base), but that won't seem all that big. But remember, this thing can hold four dvds in their original plastic cases inside, and it will have a little room to spare! If we said this case and accessories were 1/4 scale, that would make the full scale suitcase about two feet tall, which seems about right to me.

The sculpting on the top half of the case and jacket (which is all one piece) is quite nice, with some amount of slight texturing, and fairly realistic folds in the jacket. It's not exceptional work by any means, but it does look nice enough on the shelf to justify the price point.

Unfortunately, the hat and whip fall a bit short of that same measure. The hat is very smooth and fake in appearance, much like the robes and cloaks on the Gentle Giant Star Wars mini-busts. The hat seems about 20% too big as well compared to the rest of the set.

The sculpt on the whip is better, but it is still too soft in appearance for something this large. It needed a harsher cut with better definition to the details considering it's large size.

Paint - ***
Like the sculpt, the paint isn't quite up to the standards of the finer statues and mini-busts currently on the market, but it's decent.

Where it really shines is on the jacket and case. The Jacket has some very well done weathering, and while the sculpt tends to lack the kind of textures that add realism, the paint work on the suitcase itself helps to make up for it. The weathering and wear on the case and the location stickers is excellent.

The work on the hat and whip is less impressive, and what brings this score back down. The clunky hat sculpt isn't helped by the toyish paint job, and the whip lacks the kind of detail you expect at this price point. If I were grading the jacket and suitcase on their own, they would get another half star, but if I were grading the hat and whip on their own, they'd get a half star less. Three stars is the final when you consider both together.

Design - ***1/2
While the sculpt and paint didn't blow me away in terms of quality, I do really like the selected design. The way the jacket, hat and whip are flung on the weathered suitcase really implies Indy but in a static manner. Not all statues have to be dynamic, particularly ones that are truly 'still life' art. And yet they've gone with a classic design that implies adventure and thrills using very static objects.

It's also nice to see that they made it big enough for the four films, with a little wiggle room to spare. The full boxed set won't fit though, as there isn't that much extra room.

Value - **
You can get some awfully nice mini-busts for $50, and in a much more limited edition as well. Let's face it, even if only 4000 of the stores participate, you can bet they are getting four each of these at least. That's 16,000 dvd cases, and with that kind of numbers I would have expected a slightly less expensive case.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you don't take their suggestion and glue down the hat and whip, please remember that they can fall off quite easily if you turn the case over when you're handling it. The hat would certainly break on impact with the floor, and the whip might damage as well.

Overall - ***
While the price tag is a bit high and the paint and sculpt are only average, I have to admit to really liking the design. I'm interested in seeing how well this looks with the quarter scale Indy from Sideshow, and in fact, I'm betting you might be able to replace the clunky sculpted hat here with the sculpted hat that comes with the exclusive version, setting the whole thing next to Indy with the hatless head.

Oh, there'd still be two jackets of course, but only the most anal retentive would probably notice.

Even if it turns out this set is a little too big for quarter scale, it will still look quite nice in your home theater or media room, housing those critical dvd's. And with blu-ray discs taking up even less space, you'll be able to fit all five in there once the next film hits, Mutt Williams and the Search for the Hot Prom Date.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Design - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Yep, Blockbuster. In the interests of this review, I swung by a couple of the closer stores this week to see if they still had them available, and sure enough, they did. You can also go the ebay route (search using the sponsor, but the prices there have been ridiculous so far and they seem to be available at a lot of the stores.  In fact, I swung by the store closest to me just today, and they still had three on the shelf.

Related Links -
I've already covered a number of new Indy products:

- I reviewed the 12" German and Cairo Swordsman, as well as both 12" Hasbro Indy's.

- in the smaller scale, I looked at some of the deluxe two packs and several of the single pack figures.

- There's a number of cool Lego sets, inlcuding this one.

- Gentle Giant did a 7" version for the Disney parks. 

- Disney has done a few other Indy figures, including this wave of small ones

- and if you're looking for something a bit bigger, check out the very cool sixth scale Grail diary, or this sixth scale figure.

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Share this review with others!
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit

Indiana Jones DVD Case

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2008, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour