MGA Shrek 3
Shrek the Ogre

Over the next few weeks, we're getting slammed by the onslaught of summer blockbusters. We've already had Spider-man 3, with Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean right around the corner. And in the past few weeks, I've covered various related collectibles for all three of these films.

But on the 18th we have ANOTHER huge summer film hitting (that also just happens to be a sequel) - Shrek 3. And this is a movie that I haven't touched at all. Until tonight.

For those who remember, Shrek has had a number of items produced for it. There were the excellent action figures from Mcfarlane, along with a ton of other product (plush, mini's, etc) released when they had the master license with the first film. Hasbro stepped in and picked up the license for the second film, and stunk up the room worse than Shrek himself. Now MGA Entertainment, makers of the controversial Bratz dolls, steps in to do their own line up of action figures, minis, plush and other items based on the third film.

Tonight I'm looking at one of the four released action figures, simply called Shrek the Ogre. There's also Shrek the Brave (in his knight outfit), Prince Charming the Vain, and a two pack of Donkey and Puss in Boots (Dueling Duo!). While these figures are technically part of the Shrek the Third merchandise release, none of these appear to be in movie specific poses or outfits, making them relatively generic in the overall license.

And while I only picked up the normal Shrek for the full review, I'll mention some things about the other three as I do along, in case you were wondering.

Packaging - **1/2
As mass market packages go, these are pretty average. They're clamshells though, which tends to be either a) Mcfarlane or b) specialty market. While I love clamshells, these tend to be a bit oversized with a lot of empty tray inside that shell. The odd shape also makes them a huge pain for MOCers to store, but for visual appeal on the peg, they work pretty well.

I also like some personalization in my packaging, and here there's none other than the different names for each character. No bio, no background, not even any movie text.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Comparing these to the Hasbro series will be inevitable. But doing so is truly an unfair competition. These are miles better than what we got with the second film.

However, they don't have quite the level of detail in the sculpt and paint that we saw with the Mcfarlane work. These are also a slightly smaller scale, so mixing and matching will be a bit of an issue.

While they might not be quite as good in terms of sculpt detail as the Mcfarlane line, they are surprisingly good. There's nice texture work on the clothing, and even on Shrek's skin. The proportions are quite good, and the expression matches his more jovial attitude perfectly. Small areas like the eyebrows, teeth and fingernails are individually sculpted, and the horns don't have those annoying cut lines where they attach to the head. Instead, they appear as all one piece, making this a much more realistic (or at least accurate) version of Shrek.

A big plus is the neutral pose, something that was lacking with the Mcfarlane figures. This means that he can stand great on his own, without any additional support. His hands have been sculpted to hold accessories, but he lacks them unfortunately. Still, scavenge a few things from other figures and he can hang on to them without too much trouble. In fact, the left hand sculpt looks odd in just about any pose I used without the addition of any accessory. It's really designed to be holding something, like a beer.

I didn't have either the old McToys version or the Hasbro version handy for new photos, but I did add a photo at the end of the left column that shows those two together so you can compare.  This version is almost exactly 6" tall for those of you keeping score.

Paint - ***1/2
I wish some of the specialty market guys managed to get their paint work this clean. For a mass market toy, it's really quite impressive.

Mass market items usually lack small details, but Shrek has plenty. There's the small dots on the top of his bald head, the hairs of his bushy eyebrows, the clean evenly set eyes, the plaid pants, the white teeth and even the fingernails, all down with great consistency.

Most of the skin lacks the nasty gloss appearance of the usual 'toy', but there's a little of that with the hands. Still, even there it's pretty subtle, and certainly not the extreme gloss we usually see. They topped it all off with a nice wash to the burlap shirt, wiped clean, that brings out the textured pattern perfectly.

Articulation - **1/2
I was quite surprised by the amount of articulation on this figure, considering the generally bulky character design. While he's a long way from super articulated, there are a couple useful joints here.

The neck is a cut joint, and while I loves me the ball joint, I have to admit that it would be pretty much impossible to pull of with this guy's fat neck. He does have ball jointed shoulders though, jointed at just the torso, and these work quite well with a solid range of movement. There's pin elbows and knees, and these joints are surprisingly well hidden and very sturdy. They don't have much of a range of movement, but he does stand great on his own, and could actually pose with some accessories - if he had any.

There's also the cut wrists, but I was surprised there wasn't a cut waist or any cut joints at the top of the leg where it meets the body. It sure looks like those legs should turn, but mine ain't budging. Some of the joints (like the pin knees) were quite a surprise, and the others all were sturdier and more useful than I had expected. Don't expect him to do more than stand there and look happy, but at least you can pose his arms in a number of ways.

Accessories - Bupkis
I'm not sure what happened here, but an action figure without any accessories is like toast without butter. Other figures in the line, like the Brave Shrek or Vain Charming, have an accessory or two, but poor regular Shrek gets the shaft. This is going to hurt an otherwise decent figure for me when I get to the Overall.

Fun Factor - ***
Basic articulation and a great looking sculpt make for a fun toy for kids. The lack of accessories hurts a bit, but pair this guy up with Charming and you have the opportunity for fun.

Value - **
At eight bucks at mass market, I'm expecting a smidge more meat for an average value. The other figures would all get that extra half star, with some accessories added in. But poor regular Shrek is a pretty bare bones figure for this price point.

On top of that, I paid eight bucks at Meijers for this guy, a chain known for selling stuff like this a couple bucks cheaper than Target or Toys R Us. At ten bucks, you're going to feel seriously stiffed.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Since you'll be buying these off the peg, you'll want to watch those paint ops. Of course, this being a mass market, largely machine produced figure, the quality you see in one is going to be pretty consistent with the next, with little variation. But it's still always a good idea to spend your eight bucks on the best one hanging on the peg.

Other than that, you're good to go.

Overall - ***
I have to say that the sculpt and the paint on this guy are much better than I expected from the usual mass market action figure these days, especially for one from a company not known for doing action figures. The articulation hurt the overall a bit, but the biggest hit came from the lack of accessories, or at least the lack of accessories at this price point.

Still, if you missed out on the Mcfarlane versions, and hated the Hasbro stuff, this line will provide you with just the right mix of collectible and action figure to make you happy.

The other figures in the line up are a bit more of a mixed bag. Charming has a rather weird fighting stance, and I'm betting that although the articulation looked decent, the sculpted stance makes most of it moot. Donkey and Puss N Boots didn't have any major issues, but are a bit more static than this Shrek. And Shrek the Brave looked good on his own, but put him next to this guy and you'll quickly realize that he appears to be the before in a Before/After Weight Watchers commercial. Everything about him is fatter, and he looks like he's a good 50 pounds porkier than this version. I'm not sure why the discrepancy ( you would have assumed they'd use the same base body), but it's extremely obvious when they are together.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt -  ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2;
Articulation - * *1/2
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
I have only seen these at Meijers and Toys R Us so far. They currently aren't part of the Shrek end cap at Target, but that may change.

Related Links -
I've covered several past Shrek items:

- here's a review of the Hasbro attempt with regular Shrek and Puss in Boots from Shrek 2.

- I still love my 9" talking Shrek from Mcfarlane.

- let's not forget that Mcfarlane also produced some plush stuff, some small playsets, and their own line of very cool figures.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour