I'd like to welcome a new guest reviewer here at MROTW - phalen180!  Those of you familiar with the Simpsons Collector Sector will know him as the technical guru and one of the moderators at that site/board.  He's done a great job putting together the breakdown on these figures - read on!

When the movie "Beetlejuice" premiered in 1989, Kenner was ready with action figures based on the movie and similar in look and play features to its then popular "The Real Ghostbusters" line. A second series was released in 1990, along with several vehicles and other licensed toys. Check out for good coverage of the "classic" toy line.

Fast forward 10 years to today's toys and you see something very different - more "realistic" portrayals of 5 of the movie's characters in an 8" scale. The release of this new line of Beetlejuice toys distributed by NECA goes hand in hand with a new DVD release and a rash of other Suncoast/ Sam Goody/ Musicland/Media Play exclusive merchandise.

Packaging - **1/2
Packaged in a rectangular bubble with a slide-off card, the only thing that redeems this oh-so-basic packaging is the ease with which one could replace the figure inside for storage after play. The cardback also looks like a mini-poster when it is removed from the bubble - bearing no blemishes on the front side.

Sculpting - ***1/2
This line would have gotten four stars, were it not for the absolutely abysmal rendition of Beetlejuice. They chose the "thorny" costume for this figure, where I would have preferred the more recognizable striped suit version. After you notice the poor choice of variant, you'll notice that they get NOTHING right on the facial sculpt whatsoever. The mouth is wrong, the eyes are wrong, the nose is wrong. They must have been aiming to avoid having to pay for likeness rights, because this figure looks absolutely nothing like Michael Keaton. The figure is also bulkier and taller than all of the other figures in the set except the "Shrunken Head Guy".

OK, so set aside your Beetlejuice figure and take a look at Stretched-face Barbara and Adam. Wow, those are some pretty decent sculpts! Accurate stretch-lines on their faces and nicely sculpted wrinkles in their clothing and excellent work on Adam's shoes leaves you convinced that the reason that Beetlejuice is such a horrible figure in comparison is due to the likeness issue.

The last two figures are absolutely dead-on likenesses of the "Smoking Guy" (burned-black ash and tar covered skeleton with a pack of cigarettes) and the "Shrunken Head Guy". From the expression on the Smoking Guy's face to the laces on the Shrunken Head Guy's boots, you won't be disappointed in the quality of the sculpt. Smoking Guy suffers from being cast from a very flexible plastic, however and can't stand very well on his own.

Paint - ***1/2
Paint jobs are excellent on Barbara and Adam, but merely adequate on the Smoking Guy and the Shrunken Head Guy and poor on the Beetlejuice figure. Also look carefully at your Smoking Guy's cigarette pack and try to get a good paint job - I just grabbed off of the shelf without examining them and picked a dud. The detailing on Barbara's dress makes her a good buy if you aren't concerned with articulation and Adam's well-executed plaid shirt and 8 points of articulation make him a strong figure as well.

Articulation - **
A brief run down of the points of articulation for each figure; almost all of the joints are cut joints and seem to be very poorly put together -

Beetlejuice - 7 points: head, shoulders, elbows and calves (where they join with the pants)
Adam - He's the most articulated at 8 points: head, shoulders, elbows, waist and knees
Barbara - 4 measly points: shoulders and elbows
Smoking Guy - 8 points: head, shoulders, elbows, waist/spine and knees
Shrunken Head Guy - 7 points: head, shoulders, elbows and knees/boots

The poor quality of the joints on these figures brings the score down to an unacceptable ** from what would otherwise be an adequate rating of ***. They wouldn't last 5 minutes of an average kid's play. Perhaps your figures will stay together more easily and you'll be happier with the articulation than I am, but I doubt it. Perhaps if Warner Bros. had licensed the toys to a "name" toymaker like Mezco or even McFarlane we might see a better value for our money in articulation and playability. 

Accessories - N/A
These figures come with no accessories, unless you count the Shrunken Head Guy's hat (attached to his hand) or the Smoking Guy's smokes (also attached to his hands).

Value - **
You'll pay $14.99 for these in the stores and since they're exclusives you'll have to grit your teeth and take it if you want to take home the ghouls. For shame, mega-conglomerate! These toys are a poor value at $15 a pop. Now if they were $10 each they would be on the level with older McFarlane lines.

Overall - **1/2
The high price tag, the weak Beetlejuice figure and the inadequate articulation on Barbara hurt this line's final score, but if you just want to pick up a few and don't mind avoiding the Beetlejuice figure, it just might be worthwhile to take a trip to the mall for these. I know that when I saw the "Smoking Guy" and "Shrunken Head Guy" figures that I knew I had to have them.

Where to Buy
Check out the Suncoast, Sam Good, Musicland or Media Play in your local mall.

Figure from the collection of phalen180

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