He's taking on all the roles
here too - a big mistake that
I think has been the center of his problem for the last four films.
When you produce, write AND direct a film, there's no one else to rein
in the bad ideas.
I will say that the previews so far look great
in terms of effects and action. Sadly, they don't show any of the
humor, and if the wit gets drained from the dialog, it will be a sure
M. Night is supposed to do three films, one for
each season/book. I haven't heard of the production for the second film
beginning though, and the clock is ticking - Noah Ringer (who plays
Aang) isn't getting any younger.
Which finally gets me to the
toys. SpinMaster is doing a series of action figures in the usual 3
3/4" scale, but they also have this one (so far) larger figure -
Ultimate Battle Aang. I may cover some of the smaller figures along
with Appa in the coming weeks, but had to start with the larger version.
Packaging - **
As regular readers know, I like boxes. Of course, with larger figures
like this a box is the only way to go, but they are easier to store and
can even look good on the shelf if you're a MIBer.
are somewhere between 5 and a billion twisty ties however, always a pet
peeve of mine. They also included some instructions, which is somewhat
amusing because I can't get instructions from Hot Toys on how to put
costume pieces together on a $150 figure, but SpinMaster shows me how
to replace a battery and push a button.
docking them pretty hard for the ugly plunger device that appears to be
stuck to his left side...but isn't. That's there only to allow you to
use the 'try me' feature. Talk about your wasteful packaging!
Sculpting - **1/2
I'm not going to get into any debate over whether Aang (and the actor,
Noah Ringer) is 'Asian' or not, or enough, or even whether he should
be, or whatever. I think from a
purely visual perspective, they did a good job matching the cartoon
character, which is what matters. We'll see if the kid can actually
act, which is what matters even more.
head sculpt is reasonable, but not exceptional. The shape is a little
too long and tall, although the eyes, nose and mouth look about right
based on his recent Kid's Choice appearance. The expression is blank,
with no sign of concentration. I don't want him to look constipated,
but he needs to look ready to fight. Instead, we get a very
mannequin-like expression, as though he's a store display at
Abercrombie and Fitch. If this is accurate to the movie, then Noah
Ringer is the next Jake Lloyd.
The body, like the head, seems
too drawn out. The clothing has no texture, and some of the wrinkles
that are included seem unnatural, as though the flow of the stance and
clothing doesn't quite match up. Again, it's not atrocious, but ends up
falling short of expectations even at this price point.
about 10" tall in the slightly crouched stance. That would put him
around 5' tall in sixth scale. That's probably about right, although
the skinny nature of the sculpt makes him seem taller and older.
feels like there are a lot of little problems with this sculpt that are
fairly minor in themselves, but that add up to a weird looking figure.
He's supposed to be a real person, but some of the features (like the
oversized feet) are quite cartoonish, making him a wonky amalgamation
of the two styles. It doesn't work for me.
He stands fine on his own. Since
there's no leg articulation, that's pretty critical.
Paint - **
This is a mass
market toy. Still, that doesn't mean sloppy paint is acceptable. In
fact, some mass market lines have gotten so good with their paint ops
indistinguishable from higher end collectibles - that's not the case
There aren't a lot of paint
operations either. What's here
is weak, with poor edging along the shoe straps, sloppy lines on the
top of the shoes themselves, and poor cut lines on even the bracelets.
almost no small detail work, and at this scale that's a big problem. It
leaves too broad of an area the same color, with nothing to break up
toyish appearance of the plastic.
Articulation - *1/2
While some of the lack of articulation can be blamed on the light and
sound feature, that's still no excuse for creating what amounts to
a plastic statue. It the intention were to make this a Nerd Hummel it
wouldn't be as big of a problem, but this is a kid's toy.
neck has a cut joint, as does the right shoulder and both wrists.
There's also a pin left elbow, and the left shoulder is a pin/disc ball
The rest of the body is posed
the way you see it, and you
ain't moving it. Since the action feature spins the right wrist, that
doesn't pose particularly well either. The reality is that you get one
or two poses here, and that's it. Considering this is an action movie,
an action character, and a toy that you should be able to actually PLAY
with, that's just not good enough.
Accessories - **
There is an additional staff, bring him to a grand total of two weapons
- the shorter staff he is carrying in the package, and the
staff attached to the tray. This does remain somewhat true to the show,
and probably the movie as well, although it isn't two staffs there, but
one that can change size (and turn into his flying apparatus).
the smaller staff is a bit tricky, but there is a small rubber band
holding it in place that can be tough to see. Cut it, and you'll be
able to pull the weapon free with a bit of force.
Outfit - N/A
Although the figure is large, the outfit is fully sculpted. No clothes
Action Feature - **
action feature is fairly basic, but does work well. Push a button on
his side, and his wrist spins. If you pose the hand above his head,
it's like he's doing the helicopter. Pose it in front and he can battle
The button is fairly large and
obtrusive, since it's
a plunger style activator. That means enough of it has to stick out of
the body so that when it's pressed in fully, it will give the wrist a
Just be thankful that the ugly
plunger you see in the package is not part of the figure.
Sound Feature - **1/2
The sound feature works in conjunction with the action and light
feature. Pressing the button not only spins the wrist, but causes some
sound effects to play. While these are loud enough, they all sound
quite a bit alike. In fact, I think that when the arm is in front the
sound effects are supposed to be different than when it's raised over
his head (you can hear a 'click' as you position the arm, as though a
switch was being tripped), but the same series of sounds seems to be
playing for me in either pose.
Light Feature - ***
The light feature is the best aspect of the figure, and as I said in
the previous section, it's part of the action/sound/light trio. Press
the button, wrist spins, sounds sound, lights light.
are two areas that light up, both driven by the same LED source: the
tattoo on the head, and the eyes. Including the eyes was the touch that
gave them the extra boost in score here, and as an effect it works
Fun Factor - **
After you press the button two or three times, all appeal wears off.
This figure really can't battle anyone else because of the poor
articulation, and with a weak sculpt and weaker paint, it's not going
to be part of anyone's nostalgic childhood memories thirty years from
Value - **
I appreciate the fact that this figure has an
action feature, a sound feature AND a light feature...but I still feel
the $20 price tag is a bit much. I suspect most parents will too.