Second ReAction Worse Than the First

Last week, I wrote about how disappointed I was with photos of the first wave of “ReAction” retro-style movie and TV action figures from Super7 and Funko. As much as I doubted such a thing was possible, the second wave unfortunately looks even worse.

This kills me, because I would really love to have quality action figures in the 3.75″ scale for some of these properties. To their credit, the companies have certainly licensed a wide variety of characters to play around with. Even the Gimp from ‘Pulp Fiction’ gets immortalized in plastic. That’s hilarious. Sadly, the resulting toys just aren’t good at all.

Once again, retailer Entertainment Earth posted the first images, plastered with obnoxious watermarks. Click to enlarge.

‘Back to the Future’

‘Pulp Fiction’

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

‘Firefly’

‘The Goonies’

Universal Monsters

‘Friday the 13th’

‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’

‘Halloween’

‘Hellraiser’

‘The Crow’

‘Scream’

‘Trick ‘R Treat’

What I don’t understand is how Funko was able to negotiate to use photographs of most of the original actors who played these characters on the packaging, yet (apparently) were denied the rights to sculpt the likenesses in plastic. Very few of these figures look anything like the characters they’re supposed to represent. Dear lord, the ‘Buffy’ and ‘Firefly’ figures are especially hideous.

Of this batch, the horror movie franchises come across the best. Most of the Universal Monsters aren’t half bad, considering the retro design intention of this line. They actually look like toys that might have been released in the 1970s, rather than crappy knock-offs like the others. (However, Frankenstein’s Monster is misidentified as “Frankenstein.” How did Universal not catch that?) I might even be inclined to buy that adorable little Pinhead from ‘Hellraiser’ to torment my G.I. Joes.

Still, overall, despite actually liking the concept behind this ReAction line, the products are pretty much a bust.

17 comments

  1. I was going to ask the same exact question you did, Josh – which is how can they use the photo of the actor, yet not have any of the figures looks like the actor. Maybe they’re just horrible at design. 🙂

    If I were Sarah Michelle Gellar, I’d sue just out of principle…that Buffy figure is f-ugly!

    • Alex

      They could easily be separate and very expensive licenses. The rights to the film images are most likely owned by the studio, but the rights to the actor’s representation can reside with the actor himself. I remember reading about the production of one of the Indiana Jones video games where the producers flat-out said that they had to figure out a way to make the 3D model look like Indiana Jones but not look like Harrison Ford because they couldn’t afford the licensing fee.

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        I get that the old 1970s Star Wars figures weren’t exactly flawless representations of the actors either, but a lot of these are just plain cheap and ugly. As I said in last week’s post, this line looks more like Playskool than like vintage Kenner.

        • Alex

          Oh, no arguments there. I’m not fond of them either. But I’m also not too much for the retro figurines. I tend to lean more towards Diamond Select.

  2. I’ve always thought the Kenner figures looked relatively close to the actors. At the very least, they at least looked like they were created by someone who cared about their work. These look like they were made by a high school art class.

  3. The Back To the Future figures look like they used the same mold for all of their faces. Exactly same shape and size, with only the paint being a little different. The Kaylee, Willow and Mia figures also look very similar. It’s almost that they got licensing so fast, and didn’t have enough mold artist, and the artist in a panic produced several molds with very few things changed other than just a new paint job. Seriously, look at the facial features and hair and stuff and clothing of several of these, and tell me that they are not the exact same mold with different paint.

  4. What’s up with the “no accessories” for George McFly and Biff Tannen? You could include so much: George’s notepad (in which he writes his first science fiction novel), or his binoculars, or a “Milk! Chocolate!”, or a bowl of oatmeal.

    You could give Biff a bottle of liquor, or even some manure.

    Lazy!

    (even “just one accessory” is cheap. The Goonies, especially Data, has a lot more stuff. Mezco Toys did a better job.)

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Yes. The Alien figures have a very dated style and level of detailing, but they’re actually very good for the time they were originally designed (1979). The sculpters put real effort into making them look as reasonably close to the movie characters as they were able with the tools they had.

      These other figures just look shoddy.

      • Patrick

        I think you might be looking at the Alien figures through rose-tinted glasses. For better or worse, I think they look to be of the same quality of these new figures. Maybe you’re a little disappointed that you paid $100 for that Alien set and think that they have to be better or you just wasted your money. Or maybe you’re just getting inundated with all of these new ones that the appeal of the vintage design is wearing off.

        Personally, I love the aesthetic. Like you, I purchased the Alien set and am quite happy with them. I’ll likely pick up a few of these new sets for the licenses that appeal to me. I’m not much of an action figure collector at all, but it feels like that if you’re looking for something very detailed, there are other options out there for you. If you like the 70’s and early 80’s aesthetic, then I don’t see why these wouldn’t appeal to you.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          It’s not that I’m looking for something super-detailed. The Alien figures look like legitimate vintage toys. Most of these look like crummy knockoffs with terrible design and sculpting.

  5. EM

    Hmmm…while I myself usually say “Frankenstein’s monster” and the like rather than simply “Frankenstein” to refer to the Doctor’s creation, I concede there is a cogent argument that Frankenstein can be properly considered the monster’s name. The germ is that the monster is in a sense the Doctor’s son and therefore a rightful inheritor of the family name. This kinship is spelled out in 1939’s Son of Frankenstein, in which Ygor declares to Henry [sic] Frankenstein’s son Wolf that Wolf and the monster have the same father but different mothers, the monster’s mother being the lightning. The very title of that film implies at least four possible kinships: Wolf as son of Henry; the monster as son of Henry; Peter as son of Wolf; and intriguingly, as some observers have noted, Wolf as natural son of the monster, who arguably could have sired him in the first film of the series during his attack on the future Elizabeth Frankenstein, an attack which left her lying on a bed. Likewise, the appellation Bride of Frankenstein has more than one interpretation: if one objects to its meaning “(intended) mate of the monster named Frankenstein”, one can feel reassured that it can also be interpreted as “mate (co-)created by Dr. Frankenstein”.

    As for the figures themselves, I’m fairly pleased. I didn’t expect spot-on actor likenesses even where they could be applicable, especially given the zeal with which the Lugosi and Karloff estates protect those licensing rights. The Chaney Phantom is surprisingly good, and one can at least tell that the Frankenstein monster and Dracula are supposed to be the Universal classic characters—the Dracula costuming especially sells the conceit. I may just have to buy ’em all…

  6. NJScorpio

    If I could walk into a store and pick up that Pulp Fiction set for $99, I probably would. Though nobody looks like they should. None of them would be recognizable as characters from the film other than Vincet, Jules, and Mia. And that is just because of their clothes.

    I’d like to buy that Universal Monsters set as a companion for my BD box set, but I wouldn’t pay more than $50.

    I would VERY MUCH like to buy just one or two of those modern Horror movie figures, like Freddy, the Crow (looks meh) or Michael Myers. Those I’d pay $5-$10 each for if I saw them in person…but again, only if I could by them individually.

  7. Bill

    I would love to have the Back To The Future figures, simply because it is one of my favorite trilogies, but I agree, the figures look like crap, even considering that they are suppose to be “retro”. I simply will not buy them because of that fact.

  8. PaulB

    What the hell… MIkey? What happened to you? Many of these look like a really bad Asian caricatures of the characters. You don’t have to make them as good as McFarlane toys but this is a mess. The only ones that aren’t horrible are the monster characters but any of the human ones are baaad.
    And as a redhead, I feel that whatever they hell they did to Wash is racist.

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