This is the big week, the week millions of Tolkien, Peter Jackson and fantasy fans have been waiting for - the release of The Two Towers.

The reviews are starting to come in, more positive than negative, and the box office is looking good.  One of the most crucial new characters in the film is Treebeard, the leader of the Ents, a race of living trees that help in the great battle.  Okay, all trees are living, but these guys are like the whomping willow with personality.

Treebeard is showing up at Toys R Us stores predominately now, although I'd be surprised if Target doesn't have him eventually as well.  He's not cheap, at $30 retail, but he's huge, electronic, and most impressive!

Packaging - ***
I've mentioned before that I like the new red packaging for the TTT series.  It looks good here as well, and compliments the colors of the figure itself.

The package isn't collector friendly, and you'll have a ton of serious twisties to battle through, but the try me function works fairly well, and you get a good idea of what you're buying with an unobstructed view of most of the figure.

Sculpting - ****
The figure is truly huge at 17" tall, towering over the other figures in the line.  They advertise it as 14" but I think they are ignoring the top branch you attach after you get him out of the package. Sure, that's not right to scale, but it's certainly appropriate scale for an action figure line.

This is the best looking tree that's not quite a tree I've ever seen.  Beautiful sculpting on the legs, arms hands and torso give the appearance of bark, moss and mushrooms, yet you understand that it's a walking, moving creature.

They've matched the design from the film extremely well, from what I can tell at this point.  The various small branches with tiny leaves help to give Treebeard a realistic feel, while still maintaining a 'human' appearance.

The detail work is excellent, and Toybiz has again out done themselves in this line.

Paint - ***1/2
The majority of the paint ops are stellar, with just the right amounts of green and brown.  They've utilized a variety of shades to bring out the texture and style of the sculpt, and managed to give us realistic looking colors for the wood and leaves.

The only nit I'd pick is the red's on some of the 'shrooms.  It's quite bright, and while that's not untrue of some types of fungi, it causes any slop or inaccuracies to stand out.  The edges of the mushrooms end up not looking as clean as other areas because of this.

Articulation - ***1/2
There's a ton of articulation here for such a wooden character.  He has ball jointed shoulders, elbows, ball jointed wrists, fingers, hips, and knees.  All the joints worked well, and there's a ton of posing possibilities.

The only limitation is that some of the joints were loose.  While I understand the looseness of the right arm - it's his hobbit tossing arm - the left arm had trouble staying above his waist, particularly if anything was placed in his hand.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the level of articulation overall, and I wish we saw this in every large scale figure.

Accessories - Bupkis
Yep, nothing for poor Treebeard.  Sure, you can't complain too much in the overall grand scheme of things, since he's a whomping huge figure, with some nice action features.  But it's still important to note that he came sans any extra little pieces of plastic stuff.

Action Features - ***1/2
He has three - his eyes light up, he talks, and he can toss a hobbit, dwarf or Homer Simpsons with his right hand.

The tossing action works alright.  Place a figure his his hand, push the branch attached to his arm, and the arm does a tossing motion.  How well you get it to throw the figure depends on various laws of physics, and I didn't do so well in that class.

The eyes look terrific, both unlit and glaring.  They are nice and bright, and they stay on while he's speaking.

The talking feature is fairly decent, and there are five phrases.  Everyone can agree on four - 

"I am no tree...I am an ENT!"
"Treebeard some call me"
"HAARRGGH...don't be hasty" (okay, it's a yell, and that's as close as I can come)
"I told Gandalf I'd keep you safe, and safe is where I'll keep you!"

But the fourth is a bit of a mystery, and I think it's actually a flaw.  Mine sounds very garbled, as though the chip is damaged, and I couldn't find a single one on the shelf where I could understand what he's saying. 

The lips and beard also move as he's speaking, although how much seems to depend on the one you grab.  I noticed some of the figures had a lot of motion, while others were less active.  If you'd prefer one over the other, try out a few at the store.  You may find you prefer less movement, as it appears a little less cartoonish that way.

Value - ***
Thirty bucks is some serious cash, but considering the size of this figure, along with the great articulation and sculpting, it doesn't seem unreasonable.  Let's face it, there are plenty of sixth scale figures that cost more than this and don't offer as much.

Overall - ***1/2
I don't like this figure quite as much as Sauron, but he's close.  At this price point, some accessories would have been nice, or perhaps a smaller figure included along with him.  I didn't have a hobbit handy, so Homer had to suffice for size comparisons.

Still, he's quite an impressive figure, and it astounds me that a company like Toybiz can say in an interview that the in-articulated Marvel Select figures, with weaker sculpting and paint ops, are the ultimate collectors figures, and still produce something as excellent as this.

Where to Buy - 
I picked mine up at the local Toys R Us.  On-line:

- has them for $30, and they have them in stock. (MROTW Affiliate)

- Entertainment Earth has them in for $38, but they don't guarantee mint boxes on these. (MROTW Affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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