It is difficult to easily describe how great the original The Planet of the Apes is. It's a milestone in moviemaking with great actors, awesome effects, and a stunningly dickish hero who is utterly crushed by the realization of where he has been - it seems like it could have come right out of The Twilight Zone, and I can't help but assume the spirit of Rod Serling more than mildly influenced how Charlton Heston played the role. The way he chews on diatribe after diatribe over how civilization has fallen and everyone you love is dead, you'd need some pretty intense villains to make such a nihilistic (but realistic) protagonist particularly relatable. So Dr. Zaius, as played by Maurice Evans, gives us a twisted take on the ruling class with control over matters of faith and science that ultimately don't seem too unrealistic as something our kind could experience. He's smart, pragmatic, and a product of his culture - not evil, but certainly quite a menace. And to anyone born after 1975, likely best known as the subject of "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!" from The Simpsons. It's not unlike being introduced to The Dark Knight through Adam West's 1966 Batman TV show - - except there's a lot of meat on the bones.
The aged, squinting figure has a lot more detail than your average Pop! Movies vinyl figure. There are lines around his eyes, he has a nose and a mouth plus a sculpted ridge on his brow. The light blond hair is cut neatly, with a pattern on his beard that feels like it came out of a 1960s advertisement of some sort. The packaging is similarly old school, adding the 1960s texture of the movie poster with the clean lines of a 21st century Funko box. In a word, it's close to perfect. Dr. Zaius has gloves on his feet, hair on his hands, and a cane. His glossy black eyes pop nicely, and the shiny leather elements on his orange jacket look just about as great as you might hope for - really, the lighter-than-expected hair is my only quibble.
Just like the majority of the line, there are no moving limbs. The neck turns, and it's a solid piece of plastic from the neck down. On the bright side, it stands well and doesn't seem to require any extra support - it'll look good next to your Shag prints and Servotron album covers. I have no doubt I'm the ideal customer for this kind of item - I have a lot of collectible toys, but nothing from The Planet of the Apes outside these vinyl guys. It's a small, cheap collection that's easy to complete - and I'm assuming is done at this point. The form is charming and unobtrusive, easily one of the better ways to make a figure in the era of Hot Toys and Sideshow. Why? Because Pop! figures aren't going to get a lot better - the design thought process may change, but the size, proportions, and general feel will likely stay this way until they become unpopular. There's not going to be a Zaius 2.0 in 5 years, there's no technological advances in mass-production that will result in a more stylized, fancier figure. It is what it is, and it's good. There's not much nitpicking to be done here, which is really liberating because a retro ReAction figure has to be held up to the standards of real 1980s toys, and a 6-inch NECA figure would similarly need to be scrutinized due to the penchant for realism. A stylized figure need only be judged on its own merits, which makes it much easier to do right by a fan - especially one who isn't a hardcore toy collector.
It's a gorgeous figure, and a steal at ten bones. A heavier, taller figure could easily sell for four or five times the asking price, so this entire assortment was quite a treat. It's a shame we didn't get Zira and Taylor, but it also means we didn't see the line succeed to the point where Lucius to remind us that your boss is always giving orders, just like every other adult. If you see this figure, and love this movie, you really ought to buy it. It's the sort of thing you need to keep at work just so you have an excuse to punch them when they start singing the chorus to the "Dr. Zaius" song.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.