Planet of the Apes ReAction Figure
Item No.: No. 03004 Manufacturer:Super7 Includes:n/a Action Feature:n/a Retail:$17.99 Availability: April 2018 Other: One of Two (well, Three) ReAction Planet of the Apes Chimpanzees
The greatest compliment I think any of Super7's retro ReAction Figures can get is "feels legit. Zira from Planet of the Apes once again nails the look and feel of the kinds of toys sold in the 1970s and 1980s. The packaging artwork features an Ed Repka painting that's so good I almost expect it to speak or wink at me, or wrinkle its nose. It's alive. The action figure isn't nearly as lively, but it's not supposed to be - it's supposed to look like something Kenner, Fisher-Price, or Mattel may have sold you for $2 or so back when Carter or Reagan were doing their thing. And they succeeded!
Mego made her in the 1970s, and a new version is available now too - but Mego was just before my time, so I have no actual nostalgia for the squishy-headed doll figures that can't stand up. I want a figure like this - at about 3 3/4-inches tall, she fits in with the toys I played with as a kid. More importantly, she can stand on her own two gloved feet. She doesn't do anything, nor does she have any accessories, but the magic trick Super7 pulled off by making a convincing new "old" toy (from 2018) is impressive.
With a variety of sculptors working with digital and presumably analog tools, Funko and Super7 cranked out retro figures that didn't always look old. For me, the hands were always the tell - Kenner tended to sculpt hands to hold accessories and rarely - other than Ewoks - would give a figure two "gripping" hands unless the figure also had two accessories. Much like Anakin Skywalker 1984, who had no accessories too, Zira's hands are just there and can't grip anything. You can see fingernails, a little hair on the back, and limited paint. The designers lucked into a line that demanded minimal paint decoration, because she's molded in green with painted brown elements and fleshy hands. Even though this is a figure made with an intentionally simplified aesthetic, it doesn't really hurt her and it isn't obvious either. The face is painted flesh color with simple line eyes - the way Kenner used to do it. Her hair has lots of detail and looks really great, and just like in the movie she has wider coifs than most of her peers. While the original Princess Leia figure had her buns, most Kenner women had pretty tight hair without a lot of body. She really stands out, particularly given how the figure replicates the movie's legendary ape make-up. The lips don't have the level of detail in the film, but they get the broad strokes right in a way that makes the figure look like something you glossed over in an old Sears catalog.
Articulation is hit and miss on a lot of faux retro figures, and Zira is pretty great. The arms and neck swivel freely, although the legs are sculpted in a way that has her always bending forward a tiny bit. It might be a choice to affect her pose, but the reason it stands out to me (and I don't like it) is that there's a weird gap and break on the back of her outfit that other robed figures usually don't have. Mendez XXVI [FOTD #2,534] has straight lines for his outfit, but he also came out a year later.
There's not a lot to pick out about her outfit that stands out as particularly exceptional, such is the danger of producing a figure that looks right the first time. If I was asked to give notes on this one, I don't think I'd have any beyond the legs not standing up perfectly straight. The sculpting is simple, with clean lines on her outfit and perfectly good ape shoes. Gloves? Footwear? Whatever it is, everything looks like I would hope.
Given what these figures cost, I would have liked to see an accessory - even if it's a stretch, like a notepad or a doll from the cave. It might not be exciting - heck, it might not be a selling point - but something to add to the sense of value would be nice. Super7 and the rest tend to hew pretty close to Kenner Star Wars packaging, but even that line eventually put coins in the packaging. A little knickknack would have been nice.
I look at it this way - if someone like fan-maker Stan Solo produced this figure for $40, I'd probably buy it. It was mass produced for under $20, so really, it should have been a no-brainer for an entire generation. I assume fans younger than me will roll their eyes at the mere suggestion that they should buy a figure from 2018 that was in a movie from 1968 to look like it came from a toy line in 1978. Older fans may similarly sneer at its fake authenticity. It's real, but not. It could have been something you were given for your birthday while playing Space Invaders or Pong, or maybe picked up at a garage sale in the mid-1980s while hunting for Micronauts and Star Wars. So for you Xennial weirdos out there, this one's for you.
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