REVIEW: Mars Attacks! Martian Ambassador
Mars Attacks! is a 1996 feature film starring a slew of Hollywood bigwigs (Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short, Michael J. Fox, Jack Black, Pierce Brosnan, among many others). The black comedy, directed by Tim Burton, was based on a science fiction trading card series released in 1962. Unfortunately, it received mixed reviews from critics and become much more of a cult classic as opposed to a box office success.
And considering that it’s been over 13 years since Mars Attacks! was released, toy collectors probably imagined that their options for this license were set in stone. Well, Hot Toys stepped up and, in December 2009, released a pair of Movie Masterpiece Series 1/6 scale figures of the Martians from the movie. For this review, we’ll be taking a look at the Martian Ambassador thanks to the fine folks from Sideshow Collectibles.
Mars Attacks! Martian Ambassador
Series: Movie Masterpiece Series
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Sculpted by: Andy Bergholtz
Material: Highly articulated plastic body with rubbery green spacesuit
Dimensions: Approximately 10” tall
Points of Articulation: About 20 (including click joint arms and legs, movable eyes, and working jaw and tongue)
Outfit: Red robe with gold accents
Accessories: Ray gun; 4 extra hands (6 in total) and 2 extra wrist plugs; Clear bubble helmet with movable front shield; Mars Attacks! Figure stand with Martian Ambassador nameplate
The box art for the Martian Ambassador brings aspects of the Mars Attacks! film as well as the original trading card series. It’s designed with a plastic windowpane front, dual interlocking plastic trays inside and instructions for operating the figure on both the outer box and a paper insert.
I’ll admit that I’m a huge fan of Mars Attacks! Where else can you see football legend Jim Brown and sixties sex symbol Tom Jones whooping up on aliens? Nowhere! And while the ensemble cast of actors is impressive, the CGI Martians are who really stole the show. Mars Attacks! was one of the first films to feature CGI characters in such a prominent role (Casper and Toy Story led things off in 1995).
So, let’s take a look at the Martian Ambassador figure. It’s a lot easier to look at the sculpting work of a human actor’s face and determine whether or not they nailed his or her likeness. It’s a little more difficult to judge a CGI character. Compared to film stills, it appears that Hot Toys has nailed another sculpt. And with the help of the sculpted (and fully functioning) eyeballs and jaw, you can get multiple looks from the sculpt.
The paint is also nearly perfect. There are a number of spots where the green and yellow blends well. There’s not much paintwork on the body. The head, which includes the neck, is where most of the paint application is happening. And, as you can tell from the photos, the brain area has a glossy look to it.
The accessories are great, but I actually prefer the figure be displayed minus the robe. Since the robe is so big, and Hot Toys did a good job on the figure’s outfit, I want to show that off. The helmet works well and snaps into place, although it makes it impossible to move the Martian’s eyes without removing it. And the ray gun is a must for a Martian.
Overall: I love that Hot Toys picked up this license. Even if it took nearly 15 years to get some quality toys based on the Mars Attacks! film, fans of the cult classic will be nothing but pleased with the quality of the Martian Ambassador piece.
You can pick one up at the following:
Sideshow Collectibles $119.99 (Waitlist)
Mars Attacks! Martian Ambassador Grades
Figure Quality: 9/10
Fun Factor: 10/10