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Monkey Brains Bowl - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica


Since the Indiana Jones films are all about artifacts, they provide a wealth of opportunities for prop replicas. It also helps that many of the props in the film are visually striking and memorable.

One of the more memorable scenes in the Temple of Doom is when Indy's group is served chilled monkey brains as a delicacy. His companion, Willie Scott, doesn't find it particularly appetizing, and faints rather dramatically.

When I saw that a company was producing replica bowls, I knew I had to have one. You can pick one of these guys up for $60 for your morning cornflakes, but why not grab a few more for all your guests to enjoy? It makes a great candy bowl for your desk at work, too!

Packaging - ***
The box is a soft cardboard with the well known cheap foam inserts. It does keep the heavy bowl safe, and I like the wooden crate print that they went with on the exterior. It's a bit common for Indy collectibles, but it's a safe look.

This is not a limited edition, so there's no Certificate of Authenticity or numbering of any kind.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica
Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica
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Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica
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Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica
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Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica
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Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica

Sculpting - ***
The Firebox website has a nice clip from the film that works as a perfect reference for comparing this product to the actual prop. Joblo also has a nice reference still photo.

Let's start with my favorite aspect - the hair. They've managed to capture the overall look and feel of the hair quite well, especially considering the price point. It's sturdy too, although I do worry that using it to lift the lid is eventually going to damage it. It flows over the cut mark around the back of the head pretty well, but overall it's a little too short. You can make it more wild and poofy than I did if you want, but it's still about an inch short overall.

The biggest issue for true replica collectors is that this bowl is a little small, maybe 30% or so. It stands about 4.5" inches tall, and is about 4" inches wide. Obviously, every monkey head in the scene would look a little different in shape and texture, but they were all about the same size.

If you're looking for screen exactness, there's a couple other issues as well. This head is taller and thinner in terms of proportion. The head placed in front of Willie was squatter, with a wider forehead.

The sculpt looks a bit more like something carved out of wood to look like a monkey's head than an actual monkey head. They did get the right mouth here, with the lower teeth showing, which I think was unique to Willie's serving dish. But other obvious details, like the number of wrinkles on the forehead between the eyes (here there are three, in the film there were two) are missed.

I'm sure that seems like a lot of nits, some of them pretty obvious, but the reality is that this isn't supposed to be a perfect prop replica - it's a cutesy nick-knack for people that like to make their friends and relatives gag at the dinner table. It's accurate enough to get the point across and to be recognizable to even the passing fan.

Also making these screen accuracy issues less of a bite is the lack of any mention of Indy on the box or head. I'm guessing this isn't officially licensed, and therefore couldn't be an exact duplicate.

Paint - **1/2
The paint work on these will vary quite a bit, I suspect. That's based on the marketing photos compared to the one I received, compared to some photos I've seen of others.

To mimic the dried out, mummy-like skin, they've gone with a wash over the carved wrinkles of the face. It isn't great, and like the sculpt, isn't a perfect screen match, but considering the overall purpose of the bowl, it works sufficiently well.

I wish they'd done something a little different with the teeth, to set them apart from the skin itself. I think that would have gone a long way toward shaking that perception that this is a wood carving instead of a monkey's actual head.

It is interesting that the eyes are painted in a normal way here. As I recall, they were hollow black sockets on screen, but I'm assuming that was a look that was difficult for them to pull off.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Here's where this shines - it's a lot of goofy fun!  While you're more anal nerd friends will find 10 reasons why it's not accurate, your 'normal' friends will think it's hilarious.

Value - **1/2
This guy is sixty bucks because the target audience - those same people that buy ridiculously expensive statues of Bigfoot for their garden out of the Skymall catalog - is likely to accept that price point without much complaint.

Even on the general movie and pop culture collectibles side of things, he's about an average price. Remember, mini-busts and statues in this same general size and heft will run you $60 - $80, and they lack the extra manufacturing steps necessary to attach the hair. While I have my issues with the sculpt and paint, I have to admit the price is about average.

Things to Watch Out For -
Let's keep in mind that this isn't dish washer or microwave safe. You can eat out of it thanks to the plastic cup that fits inside, but you might want to keep it to a minimum to avoid staining the fur.

Overall - ***
With the lack of any mention of Indiana Jones on the box, I'm betting this isn't a licensed replica. Therefore, the alterations from the on screen equivalent were probably necessary to avoid a law suit. It's not THAT monkey brain bowl, it's just A monkey brain bowl!

It is a lot of fun, and the perfect gift for the Indy fan. It's not an exact replica, but it's not advertised as such - it's just a fun, kitschy conversation piece, and as such, it does a great job.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy 
Firebox, a purveyor of unusual items, is the best place to pick this guy up, where he'll run you about $60. Of course, you can always search ebay for a bargain.

Related Links -
Another Indy prop replicas well worth checking out are the Sideshow's Chalice of Kali or Fertility Idol.

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

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Monkey Brains Bowl Indiana Jones Temple of Doom prop replica


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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