NECA has been hitting on all cylinders with their Aliens figures recently, offering super-articulated versions of everyone’s favorite xenomorphs. But this month also sees the release of the S.H.MonsterArts Alien from Alien vs. Predator, courtesy of Bandai’s collector-oriented division, Tamashii Nations. I’m hoping to get my hands on one to review in the near future.
There is one thing that’s always bugged me a bit about NECA figures: the 7″ scale. Why don’t they produce figures in the more popular 6″ scale? I don’t know for sure, but NECA started their Reel Toys line in the early 2000s as both a competitor and a complement to McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs (which had started closer to a 6″ scale but then soon crept up to a 7″ scale, probably to allow for a bit more detail). In those early days, NECA wanted to appeal to Movie Maniacs collectors, so they went with the 7″ scale to make sure those collectors would feel comfortable placing their Reel Toys figures alongside their Movie Maniacs. Eventually NECA had produced so much of their own product in the 7″ scale that switching to a 6″ scale would risk alienating their own fan base.
To get back to Bandai, I was initially intrigued by the prospect of S.H.MonsterArts Aliens and Predator figures. I knew they would likely be in an actual 6″ scale, and would conceivably offer even better articulation than NECA (albeit at three times the price). But I was disappointed when the first two S.H.MonsterArts Alien and Predator figures were based on the two worst films of either franchise – Alien vs. Predator (the Alien) and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (the Predator). While I still plan to get both figures – mostly to sate my curiosity more than anything else – I’m not particularly fond of those designs. So it seemed that NECA would remain my one and only place for figures from my favorite Alien films.
But then Tamashii goes and announces this – an S.H.MonsterArts “Big Chap” from the original Alien.
Click on any photo for a larger version.
Like Poe said a while ago, Prometheus really isn’t a very good movie. And yet, I own it. And watch it. It raises some interesting discussion, especially on the difference between the philosophies of Dan O’Bannon, who wrote Alien, and Ridley Scott, who wrote Prometheus. Another thing is how much Scott flip-flopped on whether it was part of the Alien franchise or not. But of course it is. In fact, one of the early finished scripts had a bunch of xenomorphs, including a boneless one with tentacles. At the end of that version of the movie, a gigantic “Ultramorph” was going to burst out of an Engineer, and Dr. Shaw would have had to fight it with a diamond-tipped chainsaw. This did not make it into the final movie. The teaser before the end credits is all that remains of this. Remember? The one with the proto-xenomorph hatching out of the Engineer?
Called “The Deacon” because of the shape of its head, this little creature serves as the final link between Prometheus and Alien, showing what might be a prototype xenomorph design, or maybe a variant, or maybe what one looks like when it’s born out of the bigger Engineer aliens, who knows. But in a really good idea, NECA has made a toy of this creature. That’s really all we wanted from the movie, anyway. Toys! So, let’s see how this one stacks up!
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Prometheus is not a good movie. It’s a bloated, pretentious, incoherent mess of a film. However, I thought the aesthetic aspects of the movie were great, and that’s where this figure comes in.
I had high hopes for Prometheus. I’ve been a fan of the Alien franchise since I was eight or nine years old, and one of my favorite mysteries of that universe was the story behind the so-called “Space Jockey” (Prometheus calls them “Engineers”) in the chair on the derelict spaceship.
This unexplained and yet crucially important part of the Alien universe was so compelling to me. What was that thing? Was that long nose the trunk of an elephantine alien, or simply a breathing mask of some sort? Why was its bio-mechanical body, particularly its ribs, so similar to those of the xenomorph? What was that giant cannon-like structure it was sitting in, and why did he seem to be organically fused to it? Prometheus promised to answer some of these questions. And it did, I guess, but in an at best incomplete and at worst completely unsatisfactory way. And it was really poorly written, too.
But no matter – I’m not here to review the film. The fact is, regardless of how it got here, I now have an action figure of the Space Jockey – something I’ve always wanted but never imagined I’d have. Now that I’ve got him, I can imagine he’s whatever I want him to be.