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Movie Mania

Pass the popcorn - action figures are off to the movies

By Andrew Kardon     March 21, 2002

Spider-Man as depicted in the Sony Pictures feature film
© 2001 Sony Pictures

Break out the sunblock, the toy shelves are heatin' up. I know, I know. According to that calendar thing, summer's still a few months away. But when it comes to summer blockbuster movies, it's never too early to start the screenings. And you better believe that action figures get the front row.

If you've been watching TV at all lately, you can't help but notice Sony's big push for the SPIDER-MAN movie. And wouldn't ya know it, Toy Biz's Spider-Man movie toys are already crawling all over toy store racks.

Heck, if Frodo and his ring-protecting fellows aren't careful, toy fans are likely to swing right by them in favor of a certain friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The Fellowship may have avoided Sauron's clutches, but they're no match for the dreaded bargain bin! Yep, it's out with the old big-budget box office, and in with the new. But the wall-crawler might be in a bit of a sticky situation himself...

Chances are you probably caught the all-new 2 ½ minute STAR WARS: EPISODE IIATTACK OF THE CLONES trailer either on Fox or in movie theaters. If so, your wallet was probably bawling every time it saw a new Jedi, alien freakazoid or crazy clone leap across the screen. If there's one thing Star Wars isn't short of, it's merchandising. And you better believe the toy force known as Hasbro is ready to unleash a galaxy of new Star Wars figures upon the masses.

It's movie madness, I tell ya. And there's probably no end in site, especially with all the new comic and sci-fi flicks on the horizon. THE HULK. DAREDEVIL. X-MEN 2. GHOST RIDER. BATMAN: YEAR ONE (or whatever the heck they end up doing with the Caped Crusader). MEN IN BLACK 2. THE MATRIX 2. I'M SICK OF ALL THESE DAMN SEQUELS 2. You get the idea. Genre movies seem to be really hitting their stride, and that just means plenty more movie-based action figures for us.

Now, if they'd only get around to making a Roger Ebert figure with spring-loaded "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" action.


Speaking of movies...while Wesley Snipes will be kicking major vampire butt this month in BLADE II, you won't find any supporting toy lines at stores. You'll actually have to wait until October for Toy Biz's new MARVEL STUDIOS line. This all-new line of 12" figures with removable cloth costumes and killer accessories will include a Blade II.

Good grief, I can't believe no one's transformed Charles Schulz's PEANUTS characters into actual action figures before. Well, looks like coming this summer, Playing Mantis is stepping up to the plate with a full line of figures based on your favorite Peanuts characters from those classic holiday cartoons like IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN. Fat chance that they'll make that cute little red-headed girl, though. Rats.


Slammin! The J. Jonah Jameson action figure from the Spider-Man movie line.

Apparently it is easy being green...if you hook up with Palisades Toys, that is. The toy company just announced two exclusives for its new line of MUPPETS action figures. (And thankfully one of them's not Beauregard the janitor...) The special MISS PIGGY (exclusive through Electronics Boutique) features the swine princess with her hair down, a different color evening gown and a different colored boa. As for the green one himself, the limited KERMIT FIGURE (a shared exclusive with Toys R Us and ToyFare magazine) sports a dapper tuxedo, complete with top hat. Both are shipping simultaneously with the regular MUPPET SHOW Series 1 figures, scheduled to hit stores in April/May.


Being famous has its price. This time around, that price is roughly $5.99. Yep, the SIMPSONS ALL-STAR VOICES celebrity figures are out! The packaging may be a bit different, but these figures are just as detailed as the regular World of Simpsons figures, and contain the same interactive voice-chips. This first wave includes Phil Hartman as TROY MCCLURE, Danny DeVito as Homer's smarter brother HERB POWELL, and Joe Mantegna as FAT TONY. Why these characters needed their own separate toy line, however, is beyond me...


Well, unless you skipped the entire intro of this week's column, you know that Toy Biz's SPIDER-MAN movie figures are out. With some laser scan technology, the movie's actors are shrunk down to toy proportions. Check out all your favorites, like Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson, Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin and even a Mary Jane. Standout action feature? Jameson comes with a desk-pounding action so he can slam his fists down hard on the desk, causing tiny objects to fall.

Go Figure is our weekly Toys and Action Figure column.


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