The Good: Generally well detailed, Good balance, Interesting accessories.
The Bad: Severely limited posability, Massively overproduced
The Basics: Chancellor Valorum is another in a long line of pretty boring Star Wars politician action figures and is ultimately a take-it-or-leave-it toy. I vote for "leave it."
If one were ever to write a book in the Star Wars universe on "Great Moments In Galactic Politics," one would have to wonder which individual would appear in it as the Greatest Tool Of All Time, Jar Jar Binks or Queen Amidala of Naboo. Jar Jar Binks may have been a Force-manipulated idiot who led the referendum to grant Palpatine emergency powers that created an army that enslaved the galaxy for a generation, but Amidala led the referendum to depose Valorum and install Palpatine. Say what you will about George Lucas, but there's a man deeply cynical about the components of democracy!
Chancellor Valorum, is the supreme leader of the Galactic Republic in The Phantom Menace (reviewed here!) and is an incompetent politician. For sure, his entire role seemed to be to be deposed to set up Palpatine's rule, but there was not much more to him than that. Fleshing out the obscure corners of the Star Wars toy universe, Chancellor Valorum impressed few collectors upon his release and now sits dusty wherever toys go unsold.
This 4" Chancellor Valorum figure is generally decent, but it is hardly the most inspired or detailed Star Wars figure. For sure, it fleshes out the full Star Wars universe fairly well, but how many lame politicians do collectors truly want? As well, posed as he is, this is a figure that is limited to strongly disagreeing with resolutions on the Senate floor and not much more. Ultimately, it ends up as a pretty average action figure who is then hampered by his own costume to plunge his enduring value down.
Chancellor Valorum is a blue-robed, pointing politician from any of the few scenes he was in in The Phantom Menace. He stands flatfooted with slightly flexible robes and a right hand molded with the index finger extended and a left hand molded to hold his ceremonial staff. He has a deeply furrowed brow and a frown to match.
The Chancellor Valorum figure stands only 3 3/4" tall, reminding toy enthusiasts and children that you don't need to be all that tall to be duped by the Dark Side! Chancellor Valorum is appropriately coifed in robes with a grumpy grandfather appearance to him. This figure is made of a combination of hard plastic - the main body and limbs are solid - and has soft plastic robes. The figure is cast the hard plastic, then colored appropriately.
This toy is a decent sculpt, capturing the facial features of Terrance Stamp quite well. However, while the robes are detailed with padding and button details, the facial features are slightly simplified and details that later figures would capture, like fingernails, are not cast well into this toy.
Chancellor Valorum, being a Supreme Chancellor and politician, requires very few accessories. As a result, this figure comes with a Ceremonial Staff and the standard CommTech chip for this series of figure. The Ceremonial Staff is a spear-shaped stick as tall as Valorum is. It has a starburst pattern with a grip right below it. It has enough coloring to be considered detailed enough, but its obverse is seriously lacking in the painted details that the front has. It fits easily in the character's right hand.
The other accessory is a CommTech Chip. For the "Episode I" figure line, Hasbro toyed with action figures that spoke to those who took them out of the package. Thus, each figure came with a chip that featured an image of the character and a voice chip. When placed on the CommTech reader and read, the CommTech player would play dialogue from Chancellor Valorum on it. This chip has such phrases as Valorum saying "Welcome your highness. It's an honor to finally meet you in person" and "The Chair recognizes the senator from the sovereign system of Naboo." Truly stirring dialogue from the most powerful man in the galaxy!
The four inch toy line was designed for play, but Chancellor Valorum is terribly lame in that regard. This is not a literal thing, the Chancellor Valorum figure is fairly well-balanced when in a flatfooted position. Even with the Ceremonial Staff in his right hand, he is pretty balanced. As well, one has to move the feet a bit out of position to get him to become wobbly; this is a pretty balanced figure. Still, the casting of this figure makes his leg articulation pointless; the robes act as a dress and prevent much movement for Valorum's legs. He is confined to no greater than forty-five degrees of leg movement. Chancellor Valorum cannot kick, but one might imagine moving his legs to stamp in an annoyed fashion . . . if only he could bend his knees to stamp.
Despite having the flexible robes, Chancellor Valorum is a poor figure as far as posability goes. He is graced with only six points of articulation and that is a huge letdown considering the overall quality of the figure. The lowered flexibility pretty much mandates collectors pose the figure in very set ways. Chancellor Valorum, as an action figure, has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck and waist. There is no articulation in the knees or ankles, which matters less considering that the thigh joint can barely be moved. As well, this politician may rotate his full, straight arms, but nothing else. The result is a figure that may rotate slightly and point up and down. Good times for play.
Chancellor Valorum is part of the 1998 "Episode I" collection of four-inch action figures. This series of Star Wars action figures was dramatically overproduced and was largely sold in massive clearance bins after the hype over the movie had died down. As a result, Chancellor Valorum may be found exceptionally easily even now on the secondary market for less than the original issue price. In other words, this Chancellor Valorum is a poor investment and is more ideal for collectors and children who actually want a Chancellor Valorum to play with!
Chancellor Valorum is a fair idea, overproduced for collectibility, and executed about as well for the character as could be expected. If you're buying a lot of figures and there is a Valorum in it, it might be decent to keep is, but otherwise this is not a Star Wars figure worth going out of your way for. At all.
For other Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace action figures reviewed by me, please check out my reviews of:
Deluxe Darth Maul with Sith Speeder
Gasgano with Pit Droid
For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit the index page on the subject by clicking here! There you will find an organized list of all my toy reviews!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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