Packaging - ***
Like action figures based on cult classics, clamshell packages seem to
be getting more scarce. But NECA has stuck with them, and although you
have to have a knife to get the figure out, I'm still a big fan. They
to wear extremely well, and the printed inserts allow for plenty of
personalization, front and back.
Sculpting - Beetljuice
***; Mike **
To the left you'll find three photos of head sculpts. The first is the
packaged Stuntman Mike, the second is Beetlejuice and the third is the
accessory head for Mike.
Now, keep in mind that these are
7" scale figures, so the close up photos show far more than your nekkid
eye can possibly make out. That being said, Mike still has some serious
The regular head has the
sunglasses sculpted on, and a cigarette sculpted in the mouth. Both of
these choices were smart, allowing them to make the items fairly close
to scale. Maybe
it's the sunglasses...maybe it's the awful paint job...but I'm not
seeing the Kurt Russell Mike in there.
Without the eyes, it's tougher
to get to the soul of the sculpt, but the jawline, mouth, and nose all
see slightly off. It's almost like the face is a little squished, as
though the prototype sculpt (which was quite nice looking) didn't quite
make it out of the machinery clean. The lower jaw is wider than the top
of the head, the mouth is wider and larger than Russell's (sticking out
well past the sides of the nose), and the sculpted scar is barely
present. Because of the second included head - a head which is far
superior - it's easy to make these comparisons.
Keep in mind that he's largely a
Nerd Hummel, so the sculpted pose and body in most photos is pretty
much what you end up with on your shelf. They went with a very basic
black t-shirt look, and I think adding the jacket that he wore in the
bar would have really helped the overall appearance, making him more
Mike and less Kurt Russell. I do like the pose and sculpt of the legs,
but if you don't, you're stuck.
There's also the small details
added like the watch and jewelry, specific to the character. That's
a nice touch, but it's not enough to really make him stand out as this
particular demented psycho.
Beetlejuice is generally much,
much better. I love the sculpted hair, and they used a soft translucent
plastic to give it just the right wispy look. It's not a perfect
Keaton, and there's a few issues in general, like showing too much gum
in the wild smile, but there's no doubt who it is.
Small details have been well
sculpted on his face, like the green mold, skin texture, and eyes. I've
talked before about how very risky and difficult it is for a sculptor
to capture an extreme facial expression, and how often it ends in utter
failure. Thankfully, they managed to pull it off here, with the minor
gripes of the exposed gum along with the slightly fat jaw line.
The body is very accurate,
although he does seem a smidge tall. Stuntman Mike comes in right at
7", but BJ stands slightly over that. WIth his paunce taking up more
volume, he ends up the larger of the two figures.
While the sculpt of Beetljuice
is clearly designed to work best with one or two key poses, the
articulation and sculpt work together much better to allow for greater
personalization than with Mike. They've also used the best known and
most classic look for Beetlejuice with the striped suit, something that
was sorely lacking from NECA's first attempt at the Beetljuice license
7 years ago.
Both figures stand great on their own, but they do have peg holes in
the bottom of their feet if you wish to use stands.
Paint - Beetlejuice
***; Mike *1/2
Great paint can make a mediocre sculpt amazing - bad paint can make the
finest sculpt mediocre. Take a mediocre sculpt and slap on bad paint,
and you get...Stuntman Mike. Or at least his main head.
There's so many paint issues
main head that it's hard to know where to start. How about those
eyebrows? They're applied somewhere so far to his right of center that
they look like two caterpillers trying to escape his face. The awful
attempt at stubble doesn't help any, but the other huge issue is the
face color applied to the hair, particularly around the ears. In fact,
it's so bad on his left side, that a huge hunk of hair is actually
colored the same as his skin, making ot look like a monster earlobe.
Check it out in that close up and you'll see what I mean!
Oddly enough, the extra head has
far fewer issues. Gone is the atrocious stubble, the hair line is much
more accurate (at least in terms of paint), and the eyebrows are
approximately where they are on most humans. Most of the credit for
this better work ends up in the Accessories section of my review
though, since this
second head is his 'accessory'.
The paint work on Beetlejuice is
quite a bit better, especially the
eyes. Getting both iris' and pupils in the perfect spot to pull off the
'looking sideways' appearance can be extremely tough. Just ask Sideshow
and DC Direct, both of whom have had big troubles with this expression
on recent sixth scale figures.
Here it works extremely well,
no wandering or lazy eye look. The paint work on the skin, mouth and
teeth looks very realistic, considering the character, and the
translucent color of the hair gives it a more wispy look, something
that is very tough to pull off.
The paint work on the body is a
bit more hit or miss, with some of the black stripes dead on and others
a bit sloppy. Some of the cut lines are a bit uneven, but overall the
quality is solid.
Articulation - Beetlejuice ***;
The articulation on Mike is about what you'd expect, but Beetlejuice
was a nice surprise.
Mike has a ball jointed neck,
key to making him look badass in a variety of poses. He also has cut
shoulders, cut arms at the bottom of the sleeves, and cut wrists. You
can get some very minor movement out of the waist and ankles, but it's
so minor as to almost not count.
What that all means is Mike will
stand in pretty much one pose, and you can use his neck joint to give
him some personality.
Beetlejuice also has an
excellent ball jointed neck, and with the extreme facial expression,
you'll be able to make terrific use of this joint.
He also has ball jointed
shoulders, a big plus, as well as ball jointed wrists! I was quite
surpised at both of these, and he adds a ball jointed waist which tilts
forward and back. Add in cut joints at the top of the boots, and cut
joints at approximately both elbows, and you can see why he got the
much better score.
Accessories - Mike ***; Beetlejuice **1/2
While the head that comes on Mike is fairly weak in more ways than one,
the extra head that is his single accessory is much, much
I can see Russell in there,
particularly in the nose, mouth and eyes. The scar is carved
much deeper in his face, and while the chin is still a bit to
Leno-esque, the overall look is an improvement. Sure, the hairline is
a weird cockeyed angle, but at least the face doesn't look deformed.
The heads pop on and off easy
enough, and I might try finding a decent pair of sunglasses from
another figure in this scale, and cut the cigarette off the other head
to add to his lips here. That would make a much better looking Stuntman
Mike, and solve the big issue this head sculpt has - character
While it looks much better than
the original head, it has only the scar to identify it as Mike. With
the body being done in such a generic way, almost no one will recognize
this head on this body as Stuntman Mike, at least without being told.
Score more points for prefering the jacket to this simple t-shirt.
Ironically enough, with the
original head sculpt people may recognize him as an badly done Stuntman
Mike. With this better head on the body, people will just see Kurt
Beetlejuice comes with two small
snakes, both recognizable from the film. They're alright I suppose, but
there wasn't much I was going to do with them.
His better accessory is the book
titled Handbook for the Recently Deceased. This is a nice movie
specific accessory that played a key part in the film. Unlike most
books in this
scale, it comes complete with the cover title and graphic, as well as
the title on the spine!
Considering all the goodies he
could have had though, as well as the higher cost of these figures at
many retailers, I was a tad disappointed in the choices.
Fun Factor -
Beetlejuice **1/2; Mike **
Nah, they aren't for most kids, and they really do fit that Nerd Hummel
definition for the most part (particularly Mike). Kids may recognize
Beetlejuice though from the million times the film has been on cable,
and it has that quirky look that they tend to enjoy.
Most figures have now hit the $15 mark. With some mass market figures
getting this expensive, you have to admit that these are a pretty
Things To Watch Out For
Not a thing once you have yours out of the package. Before you buy them
though you might want to spend some time checking out the paint.
Overall - Beetlejuice
***; Mike **
When it comes to little plastic statues like this, the key areas are
sculpt and paint. You don't expect a lot out of accessories and
articulation, and what you get there is always a bonus.
Stuntman Mike, at least with the
more specific character head
sculpt, fails in both these regards. The head has a distorted look,
with most of the features off slightly. The paint is atrocious, even in
person, although this might be something you can avoid by being
extremely picky about which figure you buy. Too bad that most of these
will get sold online, sight unseen. In the end, comparing this
figure to the original prototype figure shows what a huge
disappointment it is.
Now, pop the other head on and
a much, much better likeness and paint job. The only problem here is
that it ends up looking more like Kurt Russell with a scar than an
actual recogizable movie character. I really wish they'd gone with the
trademark brightly colored jacket.
The Beetlejuice is solid, but it
does look a bit more like a really, really good cosplayer version of
the character rather than Michael Keaton as the character. I can live
with that though, considering how much better this is than the first
attempt at Beetlejuice that NECA did.
BTW, comparing those figures to these
shows just how far NECA has come
as a company. It's amazing to see the quality of their product today
compared to back then, even with the paint issues that are so apparent
the casual Beetlejuice fan will appreciate this version, but the bad
luck that has uglied up all the figures related to the Grindhouse
movies so far is still hanging on to the Stuntman Mike. He's an easy
skip, unless you're a hardcore fan, or you're looking for a reasonably
good Russell head sculpt for a custom.
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Beetlejuice ***; Mike **
Paint - Beetlejuice ***; Mike *1/2
Articulation - Beetlejuice ***; Mike **
Accessories - Mike ***; Beetlejuice **1/2
Fun Factor - Beetlejuice **1/2; Mike **
Value - **1/2
Overall - Beetlejuice ***, Mike **
Where to Buy -
There's a few online options amongst my sponsors:
Collector doesn't have the small figures, but they have a
great price on the 18" Beetljuice at just $37.
- Time And Space Toys
has a good price on the small figures at just $14 each.
great prices on all of the figures, with the small ones at $14 each, or
the set of three for $39, and the large 18" BJ at $37.
- Alter Ego Comics
has them for $15 each, as well as the 18" BJ for $40.50.
Toys has the small Beetlejuice for $15.
has the small figures for $16, the large for $48.
Earth has the small figures for $17 each.
- for the UK fans, you can
pick up the small figures at Forbidden
Planet for 10 GBP, or the big 18" BJ for 25.
- or you can search ebay using
the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.
Related Links -
I've covered most of the
NECA Cult Classics:
- series 6 was broken into two
here and one here.
- before that was series 5,
including Lector and Jigsaw,
4, series 3 broken into two reviews of McClane and Bubba Ho-tep,
and the Endoskeleton in another. Finally, there's also
reviews of series 1
and series 2.
- and check out the guest review
of NECA's first crack at
Beetlejuice from 7 years ago!
Want to chat about this review? Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be