When I heard
they were making an Avatar movie, I was thrilled! My son and I have
watched the show since the beginning, and it's one of the best story
driven cartoons on American television.
Yep, you know where this is going. This isn't THAT Avatar. No, there is
an Avatar: The Last Airbender movie being done, but it's helmed by that
M. Night guy who has the inverse relationship between his ego and
his talent. I can only cross my fingers and hope that since this time
not his own material, he won't destroy it.
No, the Avatar movie getting all the hype is James Cameron's new film.
Cameron has set the bar high for himself, and various claims that this
movie will redefine
the medium as we know it have been bantered about.
are reminding most folks of two other recent movies. The designs,
especially the characters, look an awful lot like Delgo (with drop
from Aliens), and the
plot, involving humans who have used up all our resources and are now
looking to take over a distant planet inhabited by a sweet, noble race,
sounds an awful lot like Battle for Terra to me.
until the film is on the big screen, we won't know for sure. The movie
hits on December 18th, but a few of the many toys that will be coming
out in conjunction are already hitting.
looking at the Movie Masters
version of the main character, Jake Sully. This is the marine that is
altered to live on Terra, er, Pandora. He's now in a new form, that of
the Na'vi, the indigenous aliens. There's two other figures in the MM
line that are on the back of the package - Colonel Miles Quaritch and
Neytiri. When Mattel debuted this line up, the Sully they showed for
the 'deluxe' line (which I assume is these Movie Masters figures) was
wearing human clothes. We'll have to see if we eventually get that
These run $15 - $20 depending on
is where I got this one, where he's
Packaging - ***
I'm a big fan of blue, so you can bet I like these packages. They are
hard for the MOCers to store, with the weirdly shaped bubble, but
that's designed to call attention on the pegs.
I have one complaint, it's that they are about twice the size that they
need to be. I'm not a particularly green guy (I have no idea what my
'carbon footprint' is, but I'm betting it's somewhere between, say
Sasquatch and a T-Rex), but I do find it amusing that toys based on a
movie about the evils of our over use of natural resources are sold in
packages that are wasteful of our natural resources. That's irony,
Sculpting - ***
For a six inch scale action figure (he actually stands almost 6 3/4",
fitting in well with the recent ladies from the Queen's
sculpt detailing is quite good. There's fine strands in the hair,
crosshatching and texturing on the whip and loincloth, and
the adornments have sculpted surfaces. The right gauntlet is
particularly well done with its bumpy surface.
hands are sculpted to work with the included spear, and he stands great
on his own. As I said, there's nothing technically wrong here, and the
amount of detail work is quite high for this size and style of action
I did take some off though for
likeness. I can only go
based on the brief preview I've seen, as well as the card art, but
something isn't quite right here. The hair is off a bit (can you say
'poofy'?), as well as the nose (which is too evenly broad, instead of
starting out very broad and getting narrower), ears (they need to be
pointier and higher on the head) and eyes (where the pupils are too
large and don't appear amphibian enough). I suspect they were working
off a fairly early CGI version of the character, and by the time the
film was completed, he'd changed enough to notice, but not enough to
It's not a huge deal at this
point, since we won't see the
movie for months, but when we look back on this figure, I fear he won't
be the best representation of the on screen character.
Paint - ***1/2
This is certainly better than mass market quality, with clean cut
lines, consistent coverage, and almost no slop to be seen.
The watery Abe Sapienish pattern
on his body is cleanly done, but not in such a repetitively consistent
way as to scream 'manufactured'. Instead, it has the appearance of an
actual skin pattern, with differing sizes, shapes and formations.
Articulation - ***1/2
of the goals of the Movie Masters line is to produce better articulated
figures. They've done that here, with quite a few more joints than we'd
typically see from Mattel.
ball jointed neck doesn't work as well as it should, and that's
probably the fault of a short peg inside the neck. It turns just fine,
but you could get that out of a cut joint. There's very little tilt
action going on here.
However, every other joint works
well. The pin/post ball joints at the shoulders, complete with swivel
joint on the bicep, have a terrific range of movement, and work in
conjunction with the pin elbows and cut wrists to give you plenty of
The legs have the unique Mattel
sort of hip joint, similar to what we've seen with DC Universe Classics
and masters of the Universe Classics. The work great, and are very
The legs also have a cut thigh
joint, critical since the
hips can't rotate. There's also a pin joint at the knee and
waist is another cut joint, and he sports the now familiar ab-crunch
chest. All of these joints were tight, and I had no trouble getting him
into a pose and he had no trouble keeping it.
improvements would have netted the full four stars. Obviously, the
neck joint needed to exploit it's bally nature a bit more, but adding
in rocker ankles would have also gone a long way. Since this figure can
very easily take all kinds of deep and unusual stances, the rocker
joint would have allowed the feet to stay flat on the floor, really
complimenting the look.
He could also use a joint on the
but that's not a major issue. You won't be able to do anything dynamic
with that skinny appendage, but at least it's sculpted in an all around
pose that doesn't get in the way. In fact, in certain stances, you can
use it to help him keep his balance.
Accessories - ***
The figure comes with two accessories, which is a tad light for this
Blanka was nice enough to drop me a line to tell me that the handle I
thought belonged to a whip like weapon around his neck is actually a
small khife in sheath! I tugged VERY hard on the handle, and
enough it popped out! That makes three accessories, and I
this score slightly because of it.
weapon of choice is clearly a spear. I have to say that if this is the
kind of offense they have, they can kiss their noble blue tails goodbye.
spear sports a good sculpt and paint, and fits nicely in his hands. It
comes a bit bent out of the package, but you can straighten it with a
hot water/cold water treatment.
There's also a base that has a
peg for him to stand on. It is made from a translucent plastic, and I'm
betting the color and shape are somehow related to the storyline of the
film. This same base is also the 'key' for your iTag experience - more
on that in the next section. You could also wrap a string through the
'eyes' at the top and wear it like a badge.
Computer Feature - Unknown
Maybe it's just me, but I've tried from two different computers in two
different locations, and the web site www.avataritag.com
is not yet up and running.
theory, it sounds pretty cool. You log in to the website, and get your
webcam working. Then hold the included base up in front of the camera,
so the site can 'see' it, and you are given access to a 3 dimensional
version of Jake that you control in a virtual Pandora world.
an interesting way to ensure you've bought the figure (or know someone
that has who is willing to let you borrow the little stand) to get
access, but until the site goes live, there's no way to tell if the
experience adds anything to the play value.
I'm hopeful though,
because I've been waiting for someone to recognize that action figures
and video games are both the same play experience (role play) just
approached from a slightly different angle. Finding a way to marry them
is an interesting idea, but the online aspect has to be as good or
better than other alternatives out there to make it a success.
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Something is wrong with the universe when Mattel's best toys - not
collectibles, but TOYS - are all in 'collectible' adult oriented lines.
This guy is a great toy, with nice sculpts and paint and sturdy well
designed articulation. Like the MOTUC and DCUC lines, Mattel is doing
their best work for the adult market, and kids are missing out.
Value - **1/2
At $15, you're pretty much paying the current going rate for a
'collectors' figure, which is the focus of the Movie Masters line. A
couple more accessories at this price would be nice, but without seeing
the movie, I have no idea what would have made sense.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. This is probably a better toy than the toys they'll be
selling at Toys R Us in conjunction with the release.
Overall - ***1/2
I'm pleasantly surprised by this figure. When I saw the figures at
Comic-Con, I was underwhelmed to say the least. Looking an awful lot
like previous movies, there didn't seem to be much to set them apart.
However, these Movie Masters just might be the definitive versions, and
Mattel has put some money and effort into them.
I also have to admit that I'm
happy to see Mattel sticking behind the Movie Masters concept, even if
it's with a film I'm still feeling ambivalent toward.
I'll be reviewing more of the
figures as we get closer to the film's release date, and at some point
I'll be able to properly assess the functionality and value of the iTag
system. Until then, it remains the big unknown.
Where to Buy -
I have no clue what the plans for the Movie Masters versions of these
figures are. I know you'll see plenty of the 'kids' line at every major
store, but if these Movie Masters are anything like the Dark Knight
versions, seeing them at retail might be tricky, at least in the
beginning. Online options include my sponsor
Clark Toys, who already
have these in stock and ready to ship. They are selling for $15 each,
or you can get a case of 6 (with probably at least one of each of the
three figures in wave 1) for $100.
None yet, but you can expect plenty more Avatar reviews in the coming
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