Monday, October 4, 2010

My Love Of Watchmen Comes Smack Into Conflict With My Hatred Of Kubricks Figures!

The Good: The characters ARE recognizable.
The Bad: There are vastly better action figures for those who are fans of Watchmen, Vastly overpriced!
The Basics: Another figure like Mini-Mates, the Kubricks Watchmen Set B selection are a decent idea very poorly rendered!

Ironically, long before there was a film Watchmen, there were supposed to be Watchmen action figures. Several years before the film was put into production, a toy company got the license and produced prototype figures, but they never moved beyond the prototype stage. I write that this is ironic because quality issues kept the first string of figures from being made, as part of the hype surrounding the film Watchmen (click here for my review!), two boxed sets of Watchmen Kubricks toys were made up. One of the two boxed sets includes Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and Silk Spectre II.

Kubricks figures are essentially Mini-Mates, just not that brand. As a result, these three figures are most like the small Lego people that used to come with Lego toys. Mini-Mates are pretty well loathed by me and while I loved Watchmen and was actually thrilled by a lot of the merchandise surrounding the film, the Kubricks figures were utterly pointless in my book.

First, each of the figures is only two inches tall. Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and the second Silk Spectre are all rendered in a 2” tall figure that may only be sarcastically called an action figure. These ridiculous toys have a very blockish form to them and exceptionally limited articulation.

The saving grace on any level is that the characters do look like the characters they are supposed to. Dr. Manhattan is cast in a translucent blue plastic with little forehead wrinkles. By similar extension, Rorschach is easily recognizable from his brown trench coat and hat (his pants are black, not his trademark purple) and his masked face. Silk Spectre II has her little yellow and black outfit and ridiculous hair which prevents the head from turning extensively.

Only Rorschach comes with an accessory, his tiny gun which is ¾” long and therefore touches the ground when he holds it in his hand. The figures look ridiculous with almost all of their details painted onto the figure as opposed to sculpting realistic likenesses of the characters. Rather oddly, Silk Spectre II comes with breasts molded into the little Lego-like Kubrick and the only thing more disturbing about these little toys than that is the fact that Dr. Manhattan’s pectoral muscles are equally well-defined!

As for articulation, Kubricks makes a fair stab at articulating these tiny, annoying toys. Each of these has a ball and socket joint at the shoulder, as well as simple swivel joints at the groin socket, wrists, and neck. Some of this articulation is utterly ridiculous, though. For example, Silk Spectre II’s hair is molded on her cartoonish head such that it prevents the head from actually turning. Similarly, moving any of the figure’s legs out of a flatfooted position makes them tip over. In other words, these have terrible playability.

Add to that, they have almost no collectability, which makes it insulting that over a year after the film was in theaters we can still find both Kubricks Watchmen sets at the outlandish price of $20 for the three-figure boxed set! That’s crazy for such ridiculous toys with no real appeal. Fans of Watchmen tend to be both smart and discriminating; the book was always intended for mature audiences and the movie was one of the hardest “R” ratings in recent memory. So why Kubricks thinks that fanbase wants cheap replicas of their favorite characters who are only recognizable on the most basic level (i.e. Silk Spectre II could be no one else from Watchmen, but put near other Kubricks, Palz or Mini-Mates, she could be one of the X-Men!) is baffling to me.

Finally, because the source material is geared very much for adults, it is completely inappropriate for this toy to be marketed toward children. Rorschach’s gun is a pretty obvious choking hazard, so that ought to further discourage parents from buying this for kids. If the toy fails for adults and children, it’s pretty pointless in my book and the Set 2 Kubricks for Watchmen certainly fall into that category!

For other toys with film/television tie-ins, please check out my reviews of:
The Dark Knight Harvey Dent/Two-Face doll
Gorn Wacky Wobbler
Lady plush from Lady And The Tramp


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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