JAR JAR BINKS
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“As an outcast, Jar Jar spends much of his time in the Naboo swampland. It’s there that the hapless Gungan encounters a pair of Jedi as they elude enemy forces.”
In the over two decades since the Star Wars prequel trilogy began, the opinions on it have shifted somewhat. In general, it does seem to at least owe to the fact that Star Wars fans just like to hate the newest thing, and there’s the new era of movies to hate on, so I guess that helps? We’ve come so far from the hatred of the prequels, that even the most hated element of the prequels, Jar Jar friggin’ Binks, isn’t even all that hated any more. I know. I’m shocked too. Even more shocking? There’s an honest to god deluxe release Black Series Jar Jar, like, actually available to buy. Like, from real stores. I know. And now I’m reviewing it. Again, I know. Weird, right?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Jar Jar Binks is figure 01 in the Phantom Menace sub-set of Star Wars: The Black Series‘ fourth phase. So far, we know of no more TPM figures, at least in the main line, but Jar Jar’s presence suggests there will probably be more. It’s thus-far the least explored entry in terms of Black Series, so it makes sense to do some more. Jar Jar is at the deluxe price point, which makes him the second such figure since the line’s re-branding under the new phase. There’s been a little bit of discussion about whether it was wise to put him at the higher price, and if he truly warranted it. Whatever the case, the figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. Jar Jar’s articulation isn’t *quite* up to the standards of other Phase IV figures, but it’s certainly on par with a lot of the better Phase III figures, suggesting that he was possibly designed a little earlier and then held onto? There’s certainly a lot of good posing to be had with the articulation he’s got, and he’s a far cry from the line’s earliest entries. The sculpt is a pretty strong recreation of Jar Jar’s 1999 animation model. The proportions are definitely there, and there’s plenty of smaller detail work that’s gone into him. The head’s get the best work, which isn’t terribly surprising, I suppose, since his TPM design was largely pretty unimpressive apart from the design of the head. The head sculpt gets all of the important details, and presents a far more reserved Jar Jar than we see for most of the movie. It’s certainly a different choice. Honestly, it’s probably the right choice. The figure’s paint work is actually pretty solid for the most part. The patterns on his skin are definitely impressive, as is the work on the face, which makes use of the printing technique. There’s a lot of rather subtle work on the skin, and I definitely like to see that. The only thing I’m not too crazy about is the wrist joints, which are molded in the off-white of his under arms, a color which is exposed when his hands are posed. It’s kind of a necessary evil, and generally pretty minor, though. Jar Jar’s accessory selection includes a staff, shield, and Atlatl weapon (the ball on a stick thing). The shield and staff are pretty sizable, and are presumably meant to aid in justifying the cost. Personally, I’d have liked to see some more character specific stuff, like maybe some extra heads with different expressions, or maybe even an extended tongue. I mean, the Gungan battle stuff it cool too, and will certainly have more re-use potential if they decide to do other Gungans, but it feels sort of out of place with Jar Jar himself.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Alright, time for my crazy, controversial opinion: I’ve never really hated Jar Jar. In fact, when the movie first came out, I kinda liked him. Don’t get me wrong, I get some of the complaints about the character, and there are certainly some discussions to be had about some of the potential stereotypes present and the negative connotations they might carry. But, on his own, I don’t find him quite as monumentally bad as some people did. I mostly went along with it, because it felt like a bit of an uphill battle. Fortunately, time, as well as his appearances in The Clone Wars have at least quieted down the hatred a bit, so, hey, he’s gotten another toy. Cool. I knew this guy was coming before he was officially announced, and I knew he’d be deluxe, but I didn’t quite know what that would entail. I wasn’t really expecting the extra weaponry, and I question whether it was the right choice. Jar Jar is, even in these slightly more Jar Jar-tolerant times, a harder sell than other characters, so adding the extra $10 to his retail might be an iffy prospect. That said, the core figure is pretty nice, and the extras aren’t the worst thing. I’m overall happy with my purchase, and I think most people who are willing to pick him up will be, too.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.