Amoktime Day The Earth Stood Still
Gort and Klaatu

Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures

Klaatu barada nikto.  Long before they were three ugly bastards on a skiff, they were the words that saved a planet. Or at least we think so. Considering the situation, Klaatu could have been telling Gort "Klaatu got some!", and Gort revived him to get the details.

The classic 1951 anti-war film The Day The Earth Stood Still has been remade, with Mister Alien himself Keanu Reeves playing the part of Klaatu. This is one of those remakes that is technically not a remake (both films are based on an original short story), but since most folks don't know the source material, it will end up treated pretty much like a remake, even by me.

I can guarantee that when this movie hits theaters, it will be seen by many pundits and critics as some sort of direct attack by left wing Hollywood on the war in Iraq. The sad fact is that in the almost 60 years since the first film's release, there is almost always some sort of major world conflict that it could be seen as a response to.  I suppose that's the best indication of a classic - it's message is timeless. 
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures

Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures
Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures

This pair of figures have been hotly anticipated by sixth scale collectors for some time now, and not just because they're fans of the original film.  This is Amoktime's first foray into the production of action figures, and they have announced a metric ton of additional figures based on all kinds of 1950's and 60's B horror movies, many of them scheduled to hit this fall.  Fans will be looking to this set as an indication of the expected quality of those future releases.

This pair isn't cheap, costing about $110 at most retailers.  You can buy direct from Amoktime, or you can hit one of the very dependable sponsors I have listed at the end of the review. 

Packaging - ***
Gort is a big boy.  That means these two are going to come in a big package, no doubt.  And it is big, so big it's one of those situations where you won't really comprehend it til you see the box in person.

It's a big bigger than it needs to be, and I really, really wish they'd added some background text to the inside of the fifth panel, but overall it's attractive and fairly collector friendly.

Sculpting - Klaatu ***1/2; Gort ***
The character of Klaatu was played by Michael Rennie in the old film.  True Batman fans might better know him as the Sandman from the 60's show, and he was also Harry Lime in The Third Man television series.

Rennie had a distinctive look, and whomever Amoktime used for this sculpt did a fantastic job capturing it. From the slightly droopy eyes to the long English nose, this is a very realistic 3 dimensional portrait.

I do like the poofy hair, or non-helmet head, version a bit better.  The hair on this one even has the distinctive wave in the back, with nice detailing on the hairs themselves. The flatter hair is necessary to fit the helmet over, but isn't quite as good of a look for anyone, alien or not. You probably won't notice a lot of difference in photos (the only photo with the flat hair is near the bottom of the review, just before the first helmeted photo), but it's a big difference in hand.

Gort's sculpt is solid, but not quite as impressive as Klaatu.  It's not like anyone isn't going to recognize him immediately, but just from a basic inspection you can notice a few key issues.  For reference, here's photo 1 and photo 2 of the original Gort.

When I say the sculpt is 'solid', I mean good, not that he is an actual solid figure. He is hollow of course, made from vinyl much like a designer figure.

Let's start at the top with his helmet. This is very accurate from what I can tell, although I would have liked a slightly different color to the visor.  Hey, a moving visor would have been even better, opening to reveal the black inner visor that fires death beams...but I supposed I have to be reasonable. Man, I could really use a death beam though.

The rest of the body is off mostly in terms of proportions.  The legs are longer and thinner than I remember, with a shorter, stumpier torso.  The chest is also sharper cut than the actual robot, who's torso was rounded and smoother.  These aren't the kind of issues you notice immediately, but upon a closer inspection they become apparent.

The scale on Gort is quite good. The actor that was in the original suit was 7' 7", and the top of the helmet was actually almost a foot higher than that. Let's say Gort was 8' 6" tall, just to make it relatively simple.  In sixth scale, that should put him at about 17". and the figure is almost 16 3/4", making it very close.

Paint - Gort ***1/2; Klaatu ***
Gort is a pretty basic color - silver. All silver. They've done a nice job getting it very even, clean and consistent.  It has a spray painted metal look that works extremely well with this character.

Klaatu has more of the detailed paint job, particularly on the head sculpt.  The work is largely clean, especially when considering that this is being done by a small company, with limited resources. There are a few issues, but overall I'm quite impressed.

The issues do include things like a slightly sloppy hair line, eyebrows that are a bit on the bushy side, and a slightly unusual lip color.

On the specific plus side, the skin tone is very well done, the eyes are very clean and straight (they went with a catchlight, but it's very tiny and in scale), and the hair color has a nice two tone effect.

Articulation - Klaatu **1/2; Gort *1/2
The level and style of articulation on Klaatu isn't going to surprise you if you've ever bought a Sideshow figure.  While these aren't Buck bodies, they are extremely similar.

That is a bit of a downside for Amoktime, since the rest of the high end sixth scale market is making the jump to much better bodies right now. However, this body did work better for me than the Buck does, and was a bit more natural in several poses.

It's also an adequate body for this particular character, since Klaatu wasn't a martial arts master.  He pretty much just stood around, and this body can do that just fine.  So while it's not the best body on the market, it's sufficient for this purpose.

I did have one other minor issue though. The right elbow got pretty loose pretty fast with just some basic posing, which could be an issue for them.

On the plus side, the wrists are a big improvement over most figures with this style of body.  Not only is there a cut at the top of the glove, but the wrists is also pin and post, allowing for quite a range of movement.

Gort is not particularly articulated, although I'm betting he moves better than the poor guy that was stuck in the old suit.  He has a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut waist and cut ankles.  These cut joints allow him to stand extremely well stock straight up, just ike he did in the movie.  I do wish the neck had a better ball joint, but even in the film he never tilted his head or had any sort of human personality. Much like with Klaatu, the basic score is lower than average because of what else is on the market, but this won't weigh heavily on my overall score because the articulation here works properly with this character.

Accessories - ***
There are a couple accessories, in addition to the Klaatu and Gort figures.

There's a nice display stand, emblazoned with the logo.  It works fine with Klaatu, and Gort really doesn't need one.

There's also Klaatu's doohicky thingamabob. I don't recall him ever calling it something, but if he did, I'm sure some astute reader will remind me.  It fits nicely in either or both hands.

There's also that second head for Klaatu. I discussed the sculpt and paint above, but I wanted to mention here that it's very difficult to do the head swaps. You're definitely going to want to use very hot water to help you in this pursuit.

The helmet is also included, and this fits neatly over the second head.  It pops together, front and back, and looks fairly good on his head.  Whether it's the right color or not is tough to tell - it was a black and white movie.

Outfit - ***
Obviously, Gort isn't wearing any costume, so he gets a pass in this category.

But Klaatu has his distinctive space suit, including the helmet.  The suit is made from very high quality material that has a bluish highly reflective sheen.  It has that perfect 50's sci-fi feel, and fits him quite well. It's not quite as tight as the original suit was, particularly through the legs, but I think that's a smart move considering how skinny the underlying legs are.

The high quality nature of the costume extends to the zipper in back, as well as the elastic sewn into the waist.  The silver belt is a separate piece, held in place with a snap, and the upper section of the 'boots' are also separate pieces, held in place with velcro in back. Only the gloves are sculpted.

The helmet is designed to fit over the second head, the one sculpted with flatter hair.  It fits well, and snaps together tightly.  It's transclucent enough to be able to see his eyes and face through the front, which I don't remember from the film (it's been many years since the last time I watched it) but is a pretty cool look either way.

Fun Factor - ***
Gort is the better of the two in this category.  What kid doesn't love a cool retro robot?  Okay, so maybe quite a few, but there are plenty of others that find the old style 50's robots pretty interesting. Klaatu is a guy in a space suit, making him excellent fodder for alien attack. And for big fans of the films of this period, these figures are a welcome addition.

Value - **
You'll pay at least $100 for this pair, which isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Then again, it's not one but two sixth scale action figures, and one of those two is a big boy.

Would you pay $50 for each on their own? That's a tough call, but it feels like these are about $20 over as a pair.  If you take into consideration factors such as a the size of the company, the likely size of the production run, and the issues with getting a first set of figures to market, the price doesn't seem quite as extreme.

Things To Watch Out For
Swapping heads can be tough, and you don't want to pull too hard.  It's fairly easy to break the neck post of the body, or tear up the joint at the torso.  Use hot water to soften the head if it seems like it won't come off easily.

Overall - ***
I'm looking forward to plenty of sixth scale products - Batman and Iron Man from Hot Toys, Indy and Star Wars from Sideshow...but none of them have me as excited as the stuff coming from Amoktime. As a huge fan of the B-movies of the 50's and 60's, I'm thrilled to see the number of figures they have planned for release.  This pair was the first release, setting the initial tone for the line, and I have to say I'm very, very pleased.  Oh, Gort's sculpt might not be to die for, and the price point is a little tough to swallow, but fans of classic sci-fi and horror should be quite happy with the overall quality.

I also have to say that I'm very impressed with the work Amoktime has done so far. They acquired some very cool licenses, and got product out in a reasonable amount of time. They have also been friendly, personable and courteous in any conversation I've had with them or witnessed online. What more can you ask for from a start up?

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Klaatu ***1/2; Gort ***
Paint - Gort ***1/2; Klaatu ***
Articulation - Klaatu **1/2; Gort **
Outfit - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
You can pick it up directly from Amoktime for $110, or you can hit one of these sponsors:

- Time and Space Toys has the pair for $100, or just Klaatu for $60.

- CornerStoreComics has the pair for $100 as well, and Klaatu for $67.50.

- Urban-Collector has hit for $119.

-  You can also use the sponsor MyAuctionLinks to search ebay.

- for the British readers, Forbidden Planet has him for 90 GBP.

Related Links -
If you're a fan of old B movie monsters, you'll want to check out all my Sideshow reviews.  Most notable:

- I recently looked at the quarter scale Premium Format Creature from The Black Lagoon.

- not a Sideshow product, but a classic is the 12" version of Return of the Fly.

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

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  For comparison, my Overall Score adjusted to a five star system would be: 3.75

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Amoktime Gort/Klaatu action figures

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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