The Good: Good costuming.
The Bad: Terrible sculpt, Costume is not instantly recognizable, Awful balance, Dramatically overpriced.
The Basics: A good concept with a poor execution, the Tonner doll of Bella Swan from Twilight is not worth the expense.
As the geek world flocks to preorder the latest DVD in The Twilight Saga, Eclipse (click here for that review!), I find myself having good reason to critique some of the merchandising from the prior installments (not that the merchandising from Eclipse is anything to write home about yet). For example, the Edward Cullen Barbie doll did not wow me (click here for that review!). For that, I turned to the doll from Tonner of Bella Swan.
When Twilight (click here for that review!) was released cinematically, Tonner doll company won the rights to produce a high-quality doll of the main protagonist, Bella Swan. Unfortunately for those with standards about such things, Bella Swan falls drastically short of being a great doll or a decent collectible.
The Tonner Bella Swan doll is 15” doll of the pale Bella Swan as she appeared in the movie Twilight. Sort of. The outfit, which has Bella in corduroy pants and a sweater is hardly the iconic look of Bella Swan. This is not Bella in her jean jacket or her hooded sweatshirt and the doll looks fairly generic as a result. Those who are already fans of Twilight might get that this is a Bella Swan figure, but out of context, this does not scream “Bella Swan” or Twilight!
While the costume is clearly a well-made cloth rendering of the outfit – the shoelaces, for example, actually tie up! – it is not an iconic outfit for Bella Swan.
Also problematic is the basic sculpt. Bella Swan does not look like Kristin Stewart in this iteration. Having seen the Twilight movies enough and watched enough promotional pieces featuring Stewart, the Tonner doll does not quite get the figure right. In addition to being more busty than Stewart, the Tonner doll fails to get Bella’s face right. The forehead is way too high and the jawline is off by just a bit.
Even so, Tonner does a decent job with getting the skin coloring right. Bella looks pale, but with a little shading and definition to her cheeks, which makes a passable doll version of the character.
Unfortunately, the hair on this Bella Swan doll is just sloppy. Bella’s hair comes out of the package inordinately poofy and it is longer than the film version of Bella that this doll is supposed to represent.
Outside the clothes on her back, the Tonner Bella Swan figure does not come with any accessories. However, the box she comes in is fairly ornate and looks good enough to use as a display. Most fans who buy this will want a doll stand for her.
Given the price and intricacy of the costuming on the Tonner Bella Swan doll, one suspects that the intent of the doll is not play, but rather display. As such, Bella has fairly low playability. That said, the intent aside, Bella has good conceptual playability with poorly executed playability. What I mean by that is simple. Bella has surprisingly good articulation and most of her joints are ball and socket or hinge joints that swivel offering incredible articulation for play. Unfortunately, this also makes the figure much looser and the more one plays with it, the more the clothes actually support the joints and things like the arms do not remain posed.
Bella Swan comes with joints at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles, knees, groin socket, waist and under her bust. This makes her posable in all sorts of ways, if only the posing holds.
On her own, Bella has pretty poor balance, which necessitates the use of a doll stand to keep her up. Sadly, she must be kept flatfooted and in a very neutral stance to stand on her own. This undermines the otherwise cool nature of her posability.
Bella is clearly intended – at her price – to be a collectible doll and she is limited enough to make that seem like she would be a decent investment. However, because many of the teen and tween collectors of Twilight merchandise are at a threshold age for dolls, this limited doll is still widely available in the secondary market. When the bubble pops on Twilight’s popularity, one suspects it is the pricey collectibles like this that will take an immediate price dive. Given that there are other, better, Bella Swan dolls on the market, one suspects this will never be an ideal investment piece.
Despite having great costuming detailing and an abundance of articulate parts, the Bella Swan doll from Tonner Dolls still falls down literally and by not representing an indispensably recognizable version of the character.
For other dolls, please check out my reviews of:
Sideshow Collectibles 1:6 Scale Princess Leia As Boushh
Hot Toys 1:6 Scale The Dark Knight Harvey Dent/Two-Face
Mola Ram Mighty Muggs from Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
For other toys and dolls, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.