We'd like to apologize to the children of the world for ruining toys. See, our generation made a very bad mistake. They wanted to keep playing with action figures, but instead of just doing it quietly by yourself in the shameful dark like our parents we demanded that toymakers develop more adult dolls so that we could pretend that buying them was somehow cool.
It's not. You're a grown person buying toys. Please accept that. By labeling them collectibles we are directly responsible for the death of awesome action figures as we know it. We're looking at you Todd McFarlane. He knows we're not going to take them out of the box and imagine wild adventure, so he makes plastic statues.
Before him of course we had the companies who saw every movie and TV shows as simply a toy vehicle, and therefore did not really plan out the logic of recruiting these characters for your playtime. Between the two camps exists a wasteland where the following merchandise wander aimlessly and alone.
5. Bob the Joker's Goon
Tim Burton's Batman is still a hell of a good film, even if it does stand out a little hokey after Christopher Nolan turned in the first superhero movie to snag a major Academy Award. Between Michael Keeton's Batman and Jack Nicholson's Joker you had more than enough action to put together a fantastic line of toys, gadgets, and what not.
However, if your parents bought you the action figure for Bob then they didn't love you. True, Bob actually performs pretty well throughout the film, serving as a loyal enforcer for the Joker and is a surprisingly competent henchman for a comic book character. Most of the people in Bob's position exist solely to warm-up the hero's fists before the real battle, but Bob actually holds his own in a knife fight with the Dark Knight in a deleted scene.
No, what makes Bob a pointless addition to playtime is the fact that Joker shoots him for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Here's Bob, the only man to stand with the Joker when he transitioned from regular mob guy to psycho killer, who has supported and aided the Joker with competency in all his endeavors, and then here's the Joker, who asks for Bob's gun just to put a bullet in him because Batman stole Joker's freakin' balloons.
Now that may make a good scene in the movie, but what the hell are you supposed to do with the action figure? Did Bob survive and still serve the Joker because no child is going to believe that. Or worse, is your kid just going to replay that scene over and over again until you finally put him in a farm they say is funny, but is really very depressing?
4. Edward Scissorhands
Really, anything Todd McFarlane ever did besides the first two lines of Kiss figures can make this list, but at least some of the "toys" he created were fun to pose or look at. Alice Cooper and Ozzy for example were lovingly done depictions that sit on a shelf in our bedroom right now. Then there was his Movie Maniacs series.
The first series had Freddy, Jason, Leatherface... and the monsters from Species and Species II. Ok, weird choices there at the end but still killers. After that, McFarlane apparently couldn't get the rights to any more good slasher characters and decided that he would make Edward Scissorhands into an action figure.
Is Edward creepy looking? Yes. He's also a sad, lonely automaton who kills exactly one person out of self defense and then spends the rest of his life making it snow beautifully on the small town that rejected him completely. It's a great film, probably Tim Burton's best, but you imply cannot reenact that with an action figure.
Also, like most McFarlane creations he can barely stand upright. The scissor articulate, though, that's something, and we guess if you wanted to really up the anti on your imagination you could employ him as Barbie's live-in stylist. Actually, that's a really good idea for a crossover sequel.
OK, confession time. We love the book Congo by Michael Crichton. We must have read it over a dozen times, and each time we do we get more and more depressed because we simply don't understand how you could mess up a movie based on the novel. We don't understand how you can mess up a movie that has both Tim Curry and Bruce Campbell in it either but Hollywood has done so... twice.
In the book, Kahega is almost a major character. He's the leader of the native porters hired by the expedition to find the diamonds. A friendly, competent man, he's one of the few members of the team to make it out alive. He even continues to travel all over Africa aiding scientist in various adventures.
In the movie though, he's just gorilla fodder. They obviously didn't even bother to scan in Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's face or even try to make the figure resemble him in anyway. Plus, they have armed him with a bazooka because apparently the mutant gorillas that attack the party have developed tank technology that must be prepared for.
Of course, it's not a new thing to make a figure out of every single possible character in order to suck up a few more merchandising dollars...
2. Admiral Motti
Remember this quote: "I find your lack of faith disturbing?" Darth Vader casually drops it as he force chokes Admiral Motti for talking smack about his religious beliefs. Yes, that guy got an action figure.
Star Wars is famous for taking every single person or thing that has ever appeared in any film, television show, or drawing and building around it some kind of massive back story. Admiral Conan Motti's entry on Wookiepedia is longer than Wikipedia's entry on the Civil War (But only half as long as Conservapedia's article on Homosexuality, though).
Our point is that there are lots of scenarios you could play out with Motti. For instance he rescued Tarkin in a daring attack from the Star Destroyer Talon when Tarkin was ambushed by the Rebel fleet. In the end, however, we really only know him as Vader's bitch, and his action figure reflects that. There he stands, just a gun and a grimace, neither of which are going to do anything against a Sith Lord unless he pees in his suit from laughing at you and it somehow messes up the electronics.
We've mentioned before how Ma-Ti was a completely useless addition to the Planeteers. Compassion is not a superpower. We're assuming that since the spirit of Earth herself has just bequeathed rings of incalculable power to five sets of angst and walking hormones that these particular kids are already possessed of some pretty impressive hearts. Making one kid extra sweet is like topping a birthday cake with Nerds. It's bit much.
But, hey, we understand. It's not like you can just leave out one of the five principals of the show when it's time to make the action figure. He's got to be there for completion sake. So what did they give Ma-Ti to help even out the distribution of power?
A wagon. A wagon obviously designed to transport the wounded. That's nice, but here's the problem. The other members of your team have real superpowers like setting things on fire or controlling the wind. You on the other hand wield the might of hugs. Know who's getting grill-checked and end up needing to go to the hospital? It's you, Short Round. You come with your own stretcher. Good job.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.