Review: Millennium Godzilla
Nothing can last forever, and KB Toys was no exception. While visiting my wife's family in Massachusetts, I had an opportunity to stop by a mall. There, I came across the decaying corpse of what was once a proud KB Toys.
There was hardly anything left, but what remained was half-off. Among the scraps I came across a toy I've wanted for years but was never willing to pay retail price: a rotocast Godzilla figure.
There were actually a few options available. They had a couple of figures based on the original 1966 design as well as numerous Hedorah figures and a lonely 12.5 inch Godzilla. I don't have any use for a Hedorah, though I seriously considered picking up the larger version: at 50% off he'd only have run me ten bucks. After taking a closer look, though, I realized his tail was busted and... well... I was a long way from home. While the original is certainly more authentic, I went with the Millennium version. I have a great deal of respect for the first film, but I actually prefer the modern design.
I'm assuming this design was from Godzilla 2000, a cool (if somewhat campy) monster movie from (surprise, surprise) the millennium. I caught this in the theater when it originally came out, and I recall enjoying it. It's far from the best recent Godzilla film, however: that honor rests with Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: All Out Monster Attack (or any of the other two dozen titles this had), directed by the greatest monster-movie director alive, Shusuke Kaneko. If you haven't seen Kaneko's Gamera trilogy from the 90's, by the way, you owe it to yourself to track them down. As good as his Godzilla was, his Gamera films are a hundred times better.
These toys are made by Bandai, incidentally.
Appearance: 8 out of 10
Tough call, that one. I oscillated between a score as low as seven and as high as nine. I compromised with an eight, though I'm not a hundred percent sure that's right.
The problem is that I'm not entirely sure how to grade it. If I'm looking at it as a rotocast toy, then I'd lean towards the higher end of the scale: this is a very good example of a rotocast figure done right. But, if I'm thinking of this as more of a statue, I'm inclined to score lower, since it looks, well, rotocast.
As a method of production and design, there are few methods of production I like less than rotocasting. It gives toys an almost "balloon-like" appearance that I associate with cheap toys more than collectibles.
That said, for a rotocast figure, this is exquisite. Bandai put some work into giving Godzilla's skin the right textured look. It's a combination of sculpt and paint work that creates the right illusion and sense of depth. It does an amazing job of duplicating the look of suitmation; so much so I feel bad penalizing the score at all.
The mouth and face are particularly effective here. Godzilla has a convincing expression that conveys anger and power. I wouldn't want to be whatever monstrosity from outer space that has this lizard mad.
The hands are also good, though they aren't quite on par with the head. The paint is a little sloppy around the claws, and that doesn't help elevate the overall look. And, as good as the detail is on the sculpt, it's still far simpler than the movie (just take a look at the photo they've stuck on the front of the pack. There are limits to rotocasting, and this can't quite transcend them.
So, I'm going with a score of eight. Just take it with a grain of salt, since I don't even know if I agree with myself.
Packaging and Extras: ----
The packaging is fairly minimal, representing about a third of a box. I imagine that die hard collectors who want their toys in mint condition are probably unimpressed, but rotocast figures tend to be nigh-invulnerable, so I don't see a problem.
In terms of extras, you get nothing. Well, what did you expect? Sure, it'd be nice to have some rubble or toppling buildings, but we all knew that wasn't going to happen.
Play and Display: -1
The articulation here leaves a lot to be desired.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 7 out of 10
I like this Godzilla quite a lot, though I'm glad I got a good price. KB Toys had him marked at $10, which was less than I've seen him for (I usually see these going for closer to $13). He's not worth $13, but $10 isn't unreasonable. Getting him for five dollars is even better, though there's a higher cost, I'm afraid.
My final score of 7 reflects the limited articulation more than anything else. This was a difficult figure to grade, since my opinion changes greatly depending on the angle. It really does capture the look and feeling of Godzilla, and, articulation aside, the pose you get is a good one.
But it wouldn't have been that hard for them to include a neck and tail joint. Rotocasting is a cheap method of producing toys, so I'm sure Bandai could have afforded it.
If you can look past the articulation, this figure is really an eight, which is why I break the scoring process down this way. It really is cool, and I recommend it to any fan of the films.
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