Friday, June 3, 2011

Barefoot (Not Pregnant), Galadriel Makes For Mediocre Action Figure.

The Good: Recognizable sculpt, General sense of balance
The Bad: Lame accessories, Playability, General sense of inaction
The Basics: Galadriel is a welcome addition to the The Lord Of The Rings toyline, but this one could be better.

It has been some time since I sat down and reviewed my first The Lord Of The Rings action figure and I think it is interesting that the first one I reviewed was Eowyn (reviewed here!). At the time, I was quite nervous and I did not have a sense of standardization to my action figure reviews and I did something of a freeform review. Fortunately, today I know how to answer the crucial question of "What all can be written about an action figure?" In the case of Galadriel, it seems like there would be quite a bit and the truth is, for a figure with such a good sculpt, it is surprising I've been so disappointed in the action figure.

Galadriel, one might recall, is the elf queen of the wood elves and the bearer of one of the rings of power in The Lord of the Rings (reviewed here!). Galadriel appears in each film in the trilogy, but is also one of the ancillary characters most disconnected from the main action of the film. Her role in the films makes her both an essential action figure, and a likely inaction figure; Galadriel is a more cerebral character than a character of action.


Galadriel appears sculpted in the The Two Towers figure line for the wide and more common release of the figure put out for The Fellowship Of The Rings. In other words, this is the identical - in every way - figure to the white dress Galadriel, Lady of Light figure initially released on a The Fellowship Of The Rings blister card. There are no changes in sculpt, coloring or accessories between the two primary Galadriels and this is a simple repackaging that makes a previously very limited figure released to a general audience in a bigger way.

This sculpt features Galadriel in her white dress, fingers outstretched and hair unbound as she appears in most of the three films. The facial expression is a pensive one with piercing eyes that are instantly reminiscent of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel.

This figure stands at 6 1/2 inches tall and features an outer dress made of a more rubbery plastic, which allows it to have some flexibility and in effect makes the articulation of the legs worthwhile. As well, because of the dress she is wearing, her balance is surprisingly easy to maintain, making her a figure with excellent posability.

The realism of this sculpt is surprisingly good. This looks just like Galadriel, which is a refreshing change from many of the The Lord Of The Rings figures I have seen, especially the hobbits. Galadriel's hair is realistically detailed and cast the same softer, more rubbery plastic as the dress, so it moves and does not inhibit the movement of the head. While the sculpt is good, the coloring of the hair is homogeneously blonde and lacks the subtle reds that Blanchett brought to the role. The detailing of the brooch Galadriel is wearing along with the subtle textured pattern to her gown more than makes up for the all-blonde appearance.


Galadriel completely falls down on the accessories front. Granted, Galadriel has limited screen time in the films and talks more than anything else, but this supporting character come ready with very limited support. Galadriel has two accessories: her cloth cloak and the pitcher from the Mirror Of Galadriel.

The cloth cloak is one of the absolute lamest accessories to ever grace any of the figures in the The Lord Of The Rings action figure line. The piece of gauzy fabric has elastic bands and a hood that allow Galadriel to be coifed in another layer of clothing and thus obscure more of her sculpt. But the fundamental problem is that it does not go on in any easy or recognizable fashion that makes the figure look good. Instead, the gauzy fabric has a buoyancy to it that puffs up the slight figure and makes her look ridiculous and puffy. I have never left the fabric cloak on my Galadriel when displaying her because "terrible" is all that it adds to the figure.

The other accessory, the pitcher from the Mirror Of Galadriel is an appropriate, if lame accessory for Galadriel. As a cerebral character, it would not have been appropriate to adorn Galadriel with a knife or sword, but it still feels cheap that she's given a pitcher instead of something like an action base of the Mirror Of Galadriel. The pitcher is 1 1/4 inches tall and has a big enough handle to easily slip over Galadriel's hand and seems like it would be an instant choking hazard, but for the length. Still, it's not recommended to keep around a child (or cat) who will put anything in its mouth.


Galadriel is quite poseable with ten points of articulation. She has joints at the shoulders, wrists, knees, groin socket and waist. As well, her head has a ball joint which usually allows for greater and more realistic articulation there, but in this case - because of the hair - does not. Instead, Galadriel is more or less limited to about ninety degrees range of motion with the head to turn left to right.

Moreover, the leg articulation is somewhat pointless; the groin socket might allow Galadriel to move her legs some, but the figure is almost always supported by the dress as opposed to the actual legs. And the looks pretty ridiculous with the knees bent in a semi-running pose with her dress flayed out and holding her off the ground. In other words, the posability aspect of the playability is pretty much a wash save when Galadriel is inactive and standing straight and regal.

It's also when she's too lazy to hold anything. Galadriel may be stood up fairly well because of how the dress supports her, but her hands have fingers extended straight, so she cannot truly hold onto the pitcher from the Mirror. Instead, it slides easily out of her hands when the person playing with the figure tries to get her to support it.

Galadriel is intended as a support figure who supports play and doesn't truly interfere or, you know, play with the other figures. There is no hole in the bottom of the foot for support, though she does not really need it, either.

But on the playability front, she's boring and while she can be stood physically in many different poses, almost anything other than rigid and regal makes her look utterly ridiculous.


Galadriel is inherently collectible based on the fact that she's one of the women in the The Lord Of The Rings figure line and there are only two others! This version is much more common than the The Fellowship Of The Rings carded variant, but it's the identical figure, so only the most devout collectors will bother to hunt down the other for their MOC collection. Fans who are taking the figures out to pose them will find this one to be inexpensive enough and generally available as this version of Galadriel was sufficiently mixed in the cases of The Two Towers figures.

Those looking at action figures as an investment will find this Galadriel figure to be a generally poor investment as she was mass produced and not at all rare. She tends to be easily available in the $10 range even now, which illustrates a lack of appreciation consistent with this line of action figures.


It is strange for me to rate such a good sculpt so low, but the truth is, I've always been disappointed with the Galadriel figure. She should have had an action base or something other than the "dress up" clothes that are dull and silly for her. She deserved better and so did fans/collectors.

For other The Lord Of The Rings toys and games, please check out my reviews of:
Witchking Ringwraith action figure
The Lord Of The Rings RISK
The Siege Of Gondor Trading Card Game


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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