Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Best Of The Crappiest Toys: The Gorn Minimate Is Still Not Worth It!

The Good: Well, it's more interesting and a fair likeness compared to others . . .
The Bad: Small, Pointless, Not collectible, Poor playability
The Basics: This worthless toy might be the best of the lot, by simple virtue that it is a figure of a creature impossible to mistake for any other from Star Trek.

In reviewing other Star Trek minimates, I think I have made the case and point that Minimates might well be one of the most pointless and dumbest toys in the history of action figures and play. Seriously, these little toys make the "ball in cup" look like a sophisticated piece of play material. For those unfamiliar with this pointless phenomenon, "Minimates" are two-inch tall action figures that instantly remind one of the people that populate the Lego world (the toy people in Lego sets, not the people who collect Legos!). Someone, apparently, decided that major franchises like Star Trek, Marvel comics and DC comics should not limit their toy production to highly-detailed action figures that push the envelope of quality, but ought to also corner the market on pure crap that looks nothing like the supposed subject of the toy.

In the Star Trek line, the only superlative Minimate is one of the obscure figures that only the most devoted fans of the series are likely to appreciate. The Gorn, the giant reptilian creature that appeared in the Star Trek episode "Arena" (reviewed here!) is immortalized in every major toy line for Star Trek, including the Minimate line. The only reason this minimate scores as high as it does is this: the Gorn looks mostly like what it is, which is pretty easy considering if one has a Star Trek line and it's big, green and looks like a lizard monster, it pretty much has to be the Gorn. In other words, this figure has the virtue of looking like what it is, not by the precision of craftsmanship, but rather by simple default.

There is nothing else that quite looks like the Gorn, so it's hard to screw it up. It's one of the iconic aliens of the original Star Trek and the Minimate does it fair enough justice. PA Distribution (Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys) has the license to market Star Trek minimates and I continue to wonder why they sully their reputation with this product. Art Asylum revolutionized action figured using body scans for the most accurate possible action figures yet. Minimates, seriously do look like little Lego figures or toddler's toys, even the Gorn.

The Gorn minimate is a two inch tall piece of plastic that vaguely resembles the villain from "Arena." The blockish figure comes with the rock knife used by the Gorn in the actual episode and that's a nice touch. However, this little shard of plastic is ideal for being stuck in a baby's mouth and being lost forever. It might not be much of a choking hazard because it's so small it might not even be able to be lodged in an airway, but honestly I don't think it's worth the risk!

The figure is articulated, I have to give PA that; the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, knees and thigh-socket are all articulated. Given, however, the way the feet are essentially little blocks, the leg articulation does little as far as poseability of the figure. It needs to be stood flatfooted in order to remain up and as a result, the knee and thigh articulation are a bit of a waste.

Which leads to the question of playability. I don't get the point of this figure. Sure, you can pose the Gorn, ready to slay Captain Kirk or (perhaps) looking like it will mix a drink for the other Minimates, but the scale is prohibitive for playing with others and the poseability is pretty rotten for simply displaying. As far as a toy goes, this basically seems like an ideal toy for a young child to pick up, pop in their mouth and get lodged there as a result of the limb articulation.

I tend to look at the Star Trek toy lines through the eyes of a collector. As a fan of the Star Trek franchise, toys from Star Trek that I've collected have to be pretty special and, well, collectible. I'm not sure what makes minimates collectible other than that Trek-fans are told they can collect them. In any case, the best collectibles remind the buyer of the subject of the collectible. The best collectible toys rock because of the realism to the likeness of the character they are supposed to represent and articulation. Quite simply, the best collectible toys are the most striking likenesses of the characters they represent for collectors and great articulation for those who bother to take it out of the pack for play enthusiasts or those who want to actually display their figures.

The Gorn minimate is neither limited nor an incredible likeness. As it is, the scale is too small for the minimate to create any realistic likeness and the generic expression on the same cylindrical head as every other minimate lacks any real definition that would define the character (outside the color of its skin and the fact that it is obviously not one of the main characters). And while the figure is articulated at twelve points, much of that articulation is pointless and cannot be used to pose the toy for displays in intriguing fashions.

Some might wonder what might inspire me to take on such ridiculous toys for my reviews. Well, somebody had to. And if I can prevent even one Trekker from wasting their hard-earned fan dollars, well, then maybe I've done my job!

For other Star Trek MiniMates reviews, please check out my takes on:
Khan Minimate
Captain Kirk MiniMate
Dr. McCoy MiniMate


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

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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