I wanted to wait to open the Gremlins figures for Christmas reviews... maybe that was a mistake. The quality of this line has been up and down, which resulted in my initial reaction (oh wow! I'll buy every last one of these!) to apprehension to disappointment. I had three Doc Browns break out of the package. A Predator seemed OK, but it turns out the joint in the arm wasn't actually turning - it was twisting and broke off. Boiling water helped loosen some stuck joints, but the night I opened Christmas Gizmo, I found he had a stuck right arm. I figured, well, let's try the Cinema Gremlin - all five joints were stuck and couldn't move. Stripe with Chainsaw had one stuck arm, but the legs were warped so he can't stand. Since the Mogwai Stripe and Billy Peltzer figures I looked at earlier were both good, this was really heartbreaking. I'm going to see if I can boil or freeze the joints into working order, but generally it just means something is going to break. With that in mind, let me preemptively advise caution - Funko makes a lot of neat stuff, but their return policies and CS on broken toys is basically "take it back to the store." With that in mind, I advise strongly on buying these figures to leave in the packaging if you plan to buy them at all. This isn't meant to sound like sour grapes, but when 3 of the 5 figures have assembly problems we've got real issues.
You don't get a lot for your money - $10 can get you a much larger Pop! Vinyl figure from Funko, or any of a number of toys from other manufacturers. NECA's figures aren't that much more expensive, yet they're larger, more expressive, and more detailed - and with some of these nostalgia lines, the Kenner format isn't necessarily as important as it is on others. Gizmo's santa hat adds a lot of weight to the figure, and since he has no moving legs by design you may have to turn his head just to achieve balance so he can stand upright. He can't interact with the keyboard accessory in any really meaningful way, but at least he was sculpted nicely with separated toes and tiny, teensy fingers. The fur looks good, and his expression resembles the movie puppet. For something you leave on the card, it's great - but wait! The adhesive on the package is some of the weakest I've ever seen. You can pry the bubble off the cardback with little to no tearing. Only a tiny bit of white on the bottom of the card is visible after tearing the plastic off the cardboard. Over time, it's possible this figure might just open himself.
The figure sports the same body as ReAction Stripe, which was a more interesting figure if for no reason other than mine worked. Gizmo also suffers from a weak accessory - a toy piano that looks neat but doesn't do much. While other figures have chainsaws, popcorn buckets, and backpacks, this one is destined to just sit around. Perhaps I'm the one who missed the point of this line and I should never have opened any of these, but as a hopeless toy romantic I assumed that i'd be getting something on par with the Star Wars toys I played with in the 1980s. Nope. So really, all Gizmo is good for is standing around or staying in the packaging.
$10 is a lot to pay for a 1 1/2-inch figure of a popular cinematic creature, but we've done it before - we'll do it again. Licenses, shipping, materials, and labor aren't free and setting up a figure in a factory is much of the item's cost. That being said, I'm not very forgiving of a line that had a bunch of problems with stuck joints and breakages in its first year, and then it continues in the next year. I loved me some Alien and The Fifth Element, but this is getting to a point where I'm thinking I don't want to deal with more problems. Obviously your mileage may vary - as I mentioned above, my Cinema Gremlin and Chainsaw Stripe share the same bodies but only one had all 5 joints stuck while one had 1 joint stuck - but that's really enough for me to pack it in and put my toy dollars on brands that work. I should've bought more Gremlin Pop!s or NECA's (or Jun Planning's) toys.
Addendum: For those of you familiar with the Boiling Water Trick, it worked here. The joints of this (and the other) figures were indeed frozen by the friction caused by the paint - it wouldn't move. By dropping the figures in a glass of boiling water for about a minute (as the water cooled), it was possible to pop the limbs and heads out of the socket and put it back together - now the joints on all 3 figures are functioning and unfrozen. Due to the frustration of opening a toy and being unable to perform a simple function like "move arm," though, I still advise caution. You shouldn't have to use tricks to make a new toy work.
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