Friday, May 25, 2012
Hasbro's Warrior Alien and Newborn Alien Action Figures Review
From what I can remember of the Alien quadrilogy, only two of the films in this franchise had action figures released around the same time as the film's run in the theaters: Alien and Alien Resurrection. (Aliens had its own action figure line too, but that line wasn't launched until almost a decade after the film's release.) The Alien Resurrection action figure line by Hasbro consisted of six figures, and two of them are the subject of this review: the Warrior Alien and the Newborn Alien. I purchased these two figures shortly after their release because they were the only movie-accurate Alien figures in the line and I purchased each figure for less than $15 each. While these figures have some problems, they are both good examples of what an Alien franchise collectible should be. Read on for my complete review and photo gallery.
The Alien Resurrection action figure line was a mixed bag. It had two human characters (Ripley and Call), two creatures from the movie (the Warrior Alien and Newborn Alien), and two creatures that were, uh, "inspired" by the plot of Alien Resurrection but didn't actually appear in the film (the Aqua Alien and Battle Scarred Alien). Yet of these six figures, the Warrior Alien and Newborn Alien proved that there was at least some talent behind this short-lived line.
As an action figure, the Warrior Alien doesn't have much to offer. It only has six points of articulation: five swivel joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips, and a hinge joint that connects the tail to the figure's body. The figure's legs are spread at an odd angle, so the hip joints are largely useless when trying to change the figure's pose. Furthermore, the plastic in legs weaken and bend slightly when the figure is left standing on its own for a while, so it helps to have the figure propped against something if you use it as a display piece. In terms of posability, the Warrior Alien pales in comparison to the deluxe Alien Warrior Drone figure that released later under the same license.
Where the Warrior Alien figure shines is in the sculpt, which more than compensates for the figure's flaws. This is one of the best Alien Resurrection creature sculpts I've seen, and it's vastly superior in detail and appearance to the same figure produced by McFarlane Toys for its Movie Maniacs series. One of the major plot points in Alien Resurrection is how the Alien genetic code becomes corrupted by the cloning process that's used to re-create them, thus resulting in misbegotten human/Alien hybrids. Hasbro's Warrior Alien sculpt reflects this plot point by depicting the connection of human musculature to biomechanical exoskeleton in the figure's shoulders, hips and calves.
The Newborn Alien figure has fewer points of articulation than the Warrior Alien counterpart, with only four swivel joints in the shoulders and hips. Unlike the Warrior Alien, the Newborn Alien figure's legs are better positioned so that it can stand unassisted for long-term display. Even though the overall design of the Newborn Alien isn't nearly as intricate as the other creature designs in the Alien franchise, Hasbro's sculpt makes its Newborn Alien figure a worthwhile addition to any Alien collection.
The Newborn's design reminds me of the Brundlefly monster from David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly: Both are fleshy, malformed freaks that result from the unintended genetic union of two very different life forms. Hasbro's ghoulish and gaunt sculpt of the Newborn Alien captures the creature's unnatural and perverse origin, including its skull-like visage--a clever nod to the humanoid skull that appears under the semi-transparent dome in the original creature design for Alien.
The Newborn Alien figure also came with a facehugger accessory. Even though the facehugger's tail is stubby in comparison to the original design on which it is based, the overall sculpt features an impressive level of detail.
Of course, replicas of the creatures from Alien Resurrection are not in as much demand as replicas of the creatures from Alien and Aliens; nevertheless, the Alien Resurrection figures produced by Hasbro provide a decent degree of quality at a reasonable price. The next price point for a replica of the sequel's Warrior Alien would be the one produced by Sideshow Collectibles for over $200. With such a huge price jump (even at today's prices), Hasbro's Warrior Alien and Newborn Alien figures are the logical choice for budget-conscious Alien fans.