#1145: Zira

ZIRA

PLANET OF THE APES (NECA)

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Hey Ethan, what are you up to today?  Oh, nothing much voice-in-my-head, just following up on an item I looked at 797 reviews ago, that’s all.

Yeah, you remember waaaaaay back in #0348 when I reviewed Cornelius from NECA’s Planet of the Apes line?  Well, I really liked that figure.  He was sort of lonely on the shelf, so today, I’ll be taking a look at his lovely wife, Zira.  Okay, that actually really undersells Zira, since she’s probably the most important of the ape characters (in the first three movies, at least). She’s the first character to discover Astronaut George Taylor’s heightened intelligence, and she serves as an ally to both Taylor and his companion Nova for a large part of the first two films.  And she’s also super cool, so there’s that!  Also, fun fact: the role of Dr. Zira was originally offered to actress Ingred Bergman, who cited turning down the part as one of her biggest regrets.  Now, onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

zira2Zira was released in the second series of Planet of the Apes figures (the last series of the line to be released at retail, sadly).  She was a pretty natural choice, especially since Cornelius had found his way into the first series, and it would be silly to have one of them without the other.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  Zira is based on her standard look from the first two movies, which is certainly good.  Would have sucked is NECA had thrown us a curveball and given us Zira from Escape from the Planet of the Apes, now wouldn’t it?  Zira’s got herself an all-new sculpt, which is pretty good, if perhaps just the slightest bit of a letdown.  See, NECA’s Cornelius is a pretty strong sculpt.  And Zira’s pretty good too, but I’m just not sure she’s quite at the same level.  I think a lot of it’s the head.  It’s not awful, but it’s a little large, and the hair is really solid, almost as if there’s no real weight to it.  At the very least, it should come down a little further, rather than just abruptly ending in the back.  Also, while Cornelius’s actor Roddy McDowell is very evident in his figure’s sculpt, I’m not seeing Kim Hunter in Zira’s sculpt.  It’s still pretty clearly a Planet of the Apes Ape, but it’s slightly on the generic side.      The body is a bit better.  It matches pretty well with Cornelius stylistically and does a pretty good job of capturing Zira’s costume from the films.  Her skirt is actual cloth, which can always be an iffy venture, but NECA remembered the one key rule of real cloth on figures that Hasbro keeps forgetting: don’t phone it in.  The cloth is of a decent quality and they’ve done such crazy things as actually fitting it to the figure and, get this, hemming the bottom.  I know, that’s zira5out there, right?  Seriously, though, it’s nice that they actually put in the effort, and the figure is better for it.  Zira’s paintwork is alright, though not quite as sharp as some other NECA product.  The head seems the get the worst of it.  It’s mostly the eyes, which just feel sort of lifeless.  It’s out of place for me to say that for a NECA figure, which is why it stood out so much for me here.  Apart from that, the work isn’t awful.  It’s all pretty clean, and once again she matches up with Cornelius, which is certainly appreciated.  Zira includes three accessories: a photo of her and Cornelius, Taylor’s “MY NAME IS TAYLOR” note to her, and the paper airplane that Taylor makes for her and Cornelius.  All of these are just made from paper/cardboard, but they’re really fun little extras.   

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I meant to buy Zira when she was first released.  I really did.  I even saw her a few times and almost bought her.  But there was just something ever so slightly off that always held me back.  Ultimately, I ended up finding her at Suncoast (one of the last seven in the country!) marked down to like $8, which was enough to push me into buying her.  Zira’s not as strong a figure as Cornelius, but I’m still glad to have her.  She’s one of my favorite characters from the movies, and it’s just not right having only one half of my favorite ape couple.  It’s just too bad this line didn’t last very long.

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#0348: Cornelius

CORNELIUS

PLANET OF THE APES (NECA)

Well, I still haven’t gotten around to seeing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes yet, which means I still don’t know if my purchase of NECA’s Caesar figure from the movie was warranted or not. Okay, actually it’s a great figure, and even if the movie was terrible, I wouldn’t feel bad about spending the money to get it. However, that figure was more or less a trial run for what was to come. See, I haven’t seen the latest Apes movie, but I’ve seen all of the originals. And NECA, who are well on their way to being my very favorite toy company, are making a line of Classic Apes figures to compliment the new ones. The first series consists of a generic Solider Ape, the esteemed DR. Zaius, and Cornelius. I’ll be looking at that last one today. Cornelius is one half of the pair of apes that assist Taylor and Nova in the first film, as well as returning for the second film, and gaining a starring role in the third.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cornelius is a part of the first series of NECA’s Planet of the Apes line. The figure is about 7 inches in height and features 24 points of articulation. Cornelius only really ever had the one look in the movie, so that’s what the figure has been based on. The sculpt is completely unique to this figure, and it is just fantastic. It would have been easy for NECA to phone things in a bit on the head, and make it more generic, but they haven’t. Roddy McDowell was pretty well buried under the ape makeup in the movies, but there’s no denying that this figure is based on him as Cornelius. On top of the great likeness, they’ve also included some wonderful details in the face and hair that make the figure look incredibly lifelike (well, for a fake monkey…). The body is pretty great too. Cornelius’s garb is nicely detailed. I really like how they’ve differentiated between the different materials of his clothing. They’ve used a rubber add-on piece for his torso, so that he can have some torso articulation without ruining the flow of the sculpt. Cornelius’s paint is just as good as his sculpt. Everything is nice and clean, with no slop or bleed over. They’ve done a great job using the paint to really accent the sculpt. The paint offers just as much detail and texture as the sculpt, and it looks really nice. Cornelius’s only accessory is one of the ancient scrolls. This same piece is also included with the Dr. Zaius figure from this series. I don’t mind the re-use, but it seems to be a last minute addition to the figure. His hands haven’t really been sculpted to hold it, so there’s not much he can do with it. He’s a perfectly nice figure without it, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was younger, I used to stay at my Grandparents’ on a fairly regular basis. My dad wanted me to have some things to play with, so he brought out his old Megos. Mostly, I was just focused on the super heroes, but he had a Cornelius, and I remember playing with that one a fair bit. When I finally got around to seeing the movies, Cornelius was far and away my favorite character. When NECA announced they had gotten the Planet of the Apes license, Cornelius was the figure I knew I wanted right away.

Cornelius was purchased for me by my dad from a local toystore by the name of All Time Toys. I wasn’t certain if I wanted the whole first series of this line, so I wanted to get Cornelius by himself. Cornelius is a fantastic figure and I would wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone who is a fan of the movies. Or if you just like really good action figures. Or monkeys!

#0265: Caesar

CAESAR

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (NECA)

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It’s not often that I review a figure from a film I haven’t seen. I think the last time I did that was with The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Minimates set, and those were Minimates, so I had that excuse going for me. Sometimes I’ll buy figures from a movie I’m looking forward to prior to seeing it. It’s not often I buy a figure from an upcoming movie I’m not even certain I’ll see in the theatre. But, that’s the case with today’s figure, Caesar, the lead character from this month’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I’ve seen the previous film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I thought it was pretty good, but I’ve yet to really make up my mind on the sequel. It looks like it may have potential, so I might see about checking it out. Anyway, NECA picked up the rights to the film, and they’re doing a line of figures that just started hitting. So, let’s see how Caesar turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ceasar3Caesar is part of the first series of NECA’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes line. He stands about 6 ½ inches tall and features 24 points of articulation. Caesar is based on his look from Dawn, which is slightly different from his look in Rise, mostly in build and the presence of the tribal paint the apes are sporting this time around. Caesar sports an all new sculpt, and a very good one at that! Near as I can tell from looking at trailers and the like for the movie, Caesar’s sculpt is a pretty dead on realization of the CGI model used in the movie. The figure is covered from head to toe in hair detailing, which is all impressively handled, but I think the best part of this figure is his face, which features an amazing amount of texture and detail, and just seems full of character. It’s not all perfect; some of the hair points in odd directions, and there’s a bald patch on his torso that looks a bit off. However, the sculpt as a whole is definitely most impressive. The paint work is on par with the sculpt, doing an amazing job accenting the already great sculpt with some pretty great texture work. They’ve also included the tribal paint, which looks appropriately uneven and worn. Once again, the bald spot on his chest stands out as one of the few bad marks, being just a slop of flat brown paint amongst an otherwise heavily detailed figure.  Caesar includes a spear, which can be separated into two pieces, and a spare set of gripping hands to hold the spear. The spear is nicely sculpted, though I did have a bit of difficulty getting the two pieces together. The hands hold the spear nicely, and swap out very easily.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I honestly hadn’t intended to get this figure, at least not before seeing the movie. However, I was walking around my local Toys R Us, on the same trip where I acquired my second Striker Eureka figure. I didn’t want my only purchase to be a duplicate of something I already had, so I looked around to see if there was anything else I wanted. I came across an Engineer from Prometheus marked down to $2.50…and put it back. I do have the ability to say no! Ha ha! Anyway, I eventually came upon the Dawn figures, and I was so impressed by Caesar in person that I decided to go ahead and get one. Even if the movie’s terrible, he’s still a really great figure, most definitely worth the purchase!

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