Nightmare Before Christmas Series 5
PJ Jack, Behemoth, Undersea Gal, and the Clown

I'm not a big fan of theme gimmicks, so generally you won't see me trying to theme the site toward some holiday or event. But with an update on a Tuesday night, Halloween on a Tuesday night, and three different Nightmare Before Christmas reviews waiting in the hopper, it just seemed like fate was intervening.

And so tonight, in honor of this most spooky of holidays, I give you not one but THREE Nightmare Before Christmas reviews. Now, it should be noted that technically, NMBC is a Christmas movie, not a Halloween movie. Oh, Jack might live in Halloweentown, but it's really all about Christmas. But Jack and his friends are some mighty spooky characters, so I'm going to ignore that little fact and press ahead.

Here at MROTW, I'm reviewing series 5 of the regular figures. That includes PJ's Jack, Undersea Gal, Behemoth (with Easter Bunny), and Clown. These are showing up at online retailers and stores like Hot Topic and Spencers right now.

I also have a guest review up from Coheteboy tonight of the Lock, Shock and Barrel set, PLUS over at Quick Stop Entertainment I have a review up of the Jack/Snowmobile deluxe set. It's a Jack Skellington shindig!

Packaging - ***
These follow the same style and size of clamshells as the past releases. Nothing really new here, and while it's attractive (and has some level of personalization for each character on the back), it's still a tad dull. But, the clamshells will keep the figures safe, and you can see them and the accessories quite well.

Sculpting - Undersea Gal, Clown ***1/2; Behemoth, Jack ***
NECA has done lots of great work, and some not so great, over the last several years. They've gone from a wannabe to a major player, snagging some of the hottest movie licenses around. They've breathed life into old ideas and had a few new ones of their own. But in all that time, one license stands out for me, one series that has always been solid - Nightmare Before Christmas. They continue that tradition with this fifth wave, adding in some cool characters with great accessories.

While PJ Jack is another Jack variant, he's a reasonably decent one. The sculpt is the usual NECA work on this line, with good proportions and a style that matches the character perfectly. His hands are sculpted in a couple gesturing poses, and the hat is attached permanently to the head, just in case you were wondering.

The Behemoth is a character fans have been waiting for, and the sculpt detail won't let them down. He is hollow though, making him quite lightweight. He's also made from a very hard plastic, which feels a bit cheap in combination with the lightness. I had some gapping at the neck joint on mine, but it wasn't too bad. The texturing on his overalls is great, and he has a nice sprout of chest hair coming out over the top of the bib. Like Jack's hat, the Behemoth's axe is glued in place. His hands aren't really sculpted to hold accessories, since the fingers are so tiny, but because of the design of the nutcracker, he can hold it. While Jack needs a stand to remaining upright (of course), the Behemoth stands just fine on his own.

I've been anticipating the Undersea Gal, simply because she's such a visually interesting character. Of course, part of that is also because I'm a huge fan of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. NECA came up with a good way to handle the old girl both in and out of the tub. She comes apart at the waist, so that she can be placed in her bath or can stand with the aid of her flippers. She stands fine on her own with the lower body in place, or fits easily in the tub. I do wish the pegs in both the lower body and the tub fit a little tighter, since she tends to pop off one or the other rather easily.

I'm extremely happy with her sculpt. The small scales are done perfectly, and the large head has that feminine charm that would drive a scaly man wild.

Finally, there's the clown. He's the largest of the figures in terms of sheer volume, but like the Behemoth, he's hollow. His head sculpt is my favorite of the bunch, and the expression is both menacing and fun. There's some neat extras as well, like the rubber chicken glued to his belt, and while he's on a very small unicycle, he's designed to stay perched up there and not topple over. In fact, unlike far too many figures, he doesn't even have a noticeable lean. They used a steel peg inserted into the base to ensure that wilting over time would be far less likely.

The only downside to the clown is his face does not tear away.  This is the Clown With The Tear Away Face, but in this version, there's no tearing going on.

Paint - Clown ***1/2; Behemoth, Jack, Undersea Gal ***
As tends to be the case with this line, and too often with NECA in general, the paint is probably the biggest overall issue. That's not saying any of it is below average or truly awful, but there's enough minor splotches and poor cuts to keep any of these four from the golden ticket.

The Clown has the nicest overall job, and actually has the most complex as well. There's plenty of bright color on this character, with lots of nice detail in the face and costume. The cut lines are fairly clean here, although there's still a few issues on the stripes on his arms, and the dots on his clothes. The best work is on his face, particularly around the eyes and lips, where the colors really pop.

Behemoth is clean, but not exceptional. He has fewer details, with mostly broad colors used over large areas. These are fairly consistent in thickness and finish, but it's very similar to an above average mass market job.

The same is true for Jack, where again there are few details. The black around his mouth doesn't look as good on this version, but the PJ's are fairly consistent and even.

Finally, there's the Undersea Gal, who is predominately green of course. Thankfully, there's no heavy washes or extreme attempts at bringing out here detail, and that's much appreciated. However, the work on her eyes and lips is a little thick and clumpy, and isn't quite as clean as you might expect.

Articulation - Clown, Jack ***; Undersea Gal **1/2; Behemoth **
None of these figures is super articulated, but there's enough here to make some posing possible.

Jack has the most joints overall, which is not unusual. He's got a very good ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows and knees, cut biceps, pin wrists, cut waist, and cut ankles. He's not quite as articulated as the Pumpkin King Jack (or most of the other Jacks) because he lacks the cut thighs, and once again I had an issue with one of his joints. This time it's his left elbow, which has a pin that was damaged during assembly.

The Clown has an awful lot of joints considering his design. There's a cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut elbows, cut waist, cut ankles and ball jointed hips. Yep, there's a very good joint at the top of each tiny leg that will allow you to get the feet in just the perfect pose on the unicycle. The bike doesn't have a turning wheel or moving pedals, but it does turn where the pin enters the clowns body, allowing you to rotate it. Oh, and his propeller turns.

The Undersea Gal also has a terrific ball jointed neck with lots of range of movement, bendy arms, and cut wrists. There's no body articulation of any kind though, so you're limited to the arms and head for posing.

Finally, there's the Behemoth. He has that cut neck I mentioned earlier due to the gapping, ball jointed shoulders, cut arms at the top of the gloves, and cut hips. His ability to pose is the most restricted of the wave.

Accessories -  PJ Jack, Behemoth ****; Undersea Gal ***1/2; Clown **
This line has had some figures jam packed with accessories (like series 1 Sally), while others have been shorted a bit (like the series 4 Igor). But none have been quite as shorted as the poor Clown. Now, part of that is due to the unicycle and base, along with his large size. That makes him a costly candidate without adding in any extras. But some reused items, like packages, would have been nice, since they can always add to a large scale display of the figures. He does come with a small horn, although he can't actually hold it.

The rest of the line has terrific extras. The Undersea Gal comes with her large tub, along with the rough wooden bench she can use to get into the tub. Both look terrific, and are pretty critical to her display.

PJ Jack has a huge stack of reading material, along with his book on the Scientific Method. There's also a figure of Zero that fits nicely in his doggie bed. He's articulated at the neck, but the head tends to pop off.  And if that's not enough, he also comes with Zero's food dish, with a little candy cane inside.

But if you want an cool accessory, then check out Behemoth, who comes with a tiny nutcracker (that's just such a damn funny word..."nutcracker") that he can hold in his hand with the aid of the handle on the back, PLUS a whole second figure! Yep, he comes with the poor Easter Bunny, looking a little dazed and confused. The bunny is even articulated, with a great ball jointed neck, not quite so great ball jointed shoulders, and cut hips. The little basket is actually attached to his belly with a peg, so that you can pose the arms as though he's holding it.

Fun Factor - ***
While these aren't necessarily designed as toys first, they can certainly work that way. They are as sturdy as any mass market toy out there (with the exception of my particular Jack's right elbow), and kids who love the film will enjoy them.

Value - Clown **1/2; the rest ***
I'm going to assume you're paying around $12 each for these, and even at that price, three of the four are a better than average value. Since you're actually getting two full figures for the price of one with Behemoth, plus the terrific larger accessories of the tub with Undersea Gal and Zero and his bed with Jack, you're getting much more than usual these days in this price range.

The Clown is big, but he's pretty much on his own, making him a much more average value.

Things to Watch Out For - 
This is a series that you want to take care with the joints when you're first freeing them up. These figures tend to have stuck joints due to the paint, and the are so tiny (like the wrists on Undersea Gal) that tearing them is always possible.

Also, the handle for the nutcracker is glued on the back, but is very easy to break off. I used it to allow Behemoth to hold it, but if you force the hand on too much, it's likely to break.

Overall - Clown ***1/2; Undersea Gal, Jack, Behemoth ***
This continues to be one of those long lasting, highly appealing lines that looks amazing as a full set on the shelf. By giving us A, B and even some C characters, NECA is producing a line with wonderful depth and breadth. Unlike other lines where you might pick or choose one figure here or one figure there, this is a series that you'll want to complete, and once you do, the overall display at Halloween or Christmas will look amazing. Like WOS from Playmates, Muppets from Palisades, or Family Guy from Mezco, the NMBC line from NECA is the definitive line for the movie - it won't ever get better than this.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Undersea Gal, Clown ***1/2; Behemoth, Jack ***
Paint - Clown ***1/2; Behemoth, Jack, Undersea Gal ***
Articulation - Clown, Jack ***; Undersea Gal **1/2; Behemoth **
Accessories - PJ Jack, Behemoth ****; Undersea Gal ***1/2; Clown **
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  Clown **1/2; the rest ***
Overall - Clown ***1/2; Undersea Gal, Jack, Behemoth ***

Where to Buy - 
Brick and mortar stores like Spencers and Hot Topic should be getting them in. Online retailers that have them include:

- CornerStoreComics has the set of four for $44, or singles from $10 - $13 each, depending on the character.

- Amazing Toyz has a couple of the individual figures for $11 - $13, but are sold out of some others, and of their sets.

Related Links:
There's lots of links:

- as I mentioned, there's a guest review of the Lock, Shock and Barrel set, and a Quick Stop review of the Jack/Snowmobile deluxe set.

- I also reviewed series 4 last month

- also check out series 3, Jack/Oogie Boogie boxed set, and the 14" Jack with multiple heads.

- the second series of figures, with Santa Jack, the Witches, Harlequinn Demon and Dr. Finklestein was one of my favorites.

- I also reviewed the first series of figures, with Jack, Sally, the Mayor and the Vampire

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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