Retro Review: Nightmare Before Christmas Cyclops (with Elf)
NECA's Nightmare Before Christmas line has been out of commission for a while now, but I still see a surprising number of these figures floating around comic and collectible stores in the area. Since said area is New York City, where items have a shorter shelf life than anywhere else I've ever lived, I suspect these are easily enough obtained in most places. And, now that there are newer figures being produced by Jun, some shops are letting NECA's go at absurd prices. The one I'm looking at today, for example, ran me all of five bucks.
You can sometimes find these - and others like it - on Ebay at reasonable prices, too.
The figure I'm reviewing is, in some ways, two figures: a Cyclops and a Christmas Elf. Officially, this is a Cyclops, and the elf is an accessory. I'm going to score these as if they were a two pack since, ultimately, the elf is as impressive (if not more so) a figure as the Cyclops.
If I had been reviewing this a few years ago, back when it came out, I'd probably have given it a higher rating. But then, this site wasn't up and running at the time and, while I like this guy, he's not exactly something I was willing to pay retail price for.
The thing is, over the last few years, the overall quality of action figures has been gradually improving. Now, a great deal of these improvements are because of the work done at NECA, so I feel a little bad scoring this as harshly as I am.
The Cyclops is really nice, but there's something a little dull about the overall appearance. There's not much wrong in a specific sense, but looked at broadly, it's not as interesting as I'd like it to be. Now, to be fair, this is probably due, at least in part, to the source material. The Cyclops isn't really the most fascinating of the citizens of Halloween Town.
Looking at the figure, I think a little more detail work with the paint could have helped.
Packaging and Extras: +2
The packaging is perfectly serviceable. It's not all that much to look at, but it seems to keep the figures safe indefinitely. Beyond that, who cares?
The accessories are a bit more impressive. In addition to the Cyclops and Elf, you get a crate, a clear plastic peg, a present, sheet music, and a doll.
The doll is a fairly detailed recreation of the prop in the movie. As it usually the case, NECA's done some good work here.
Play and Display: +1
All things considered, these figures have a surprising amount of poseability. You've got a ball jointed neck and shoulders, pin elbows, cut joints on the wrists, and a modest amount of leg articulation.
In addition, the mouth opens and closes and the eye is a ball joint in itself.
What's more, the Elf is almost as articulated as the Cyclops. You've got a cut neck, cut wrists, ball jointed shoulders, and his legs turn together on a giant cut joint (not that useful, but more is better than less).
All of the smaller accessories look good with the figures, and the crate/peg works well (though it does of course become awkward at angles other than head-on).
Between the versatility from the accessories and the better-than-expected articulation, I'm giving these another bonus point.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 10/10
The real reason these figures are just "good looking" as opposed to "awesome" has more to do with the design of originals than any deficiencies in production. That isn't to say they're bad designs: both of these characters were intended to basically be part of the backgrounds of their respective settings.
Fortunately, NECA made them work anyway. Incorporating good articulation, a wide variety of accessories, and an innovative stand, they've made a set of figures who certainly worth their original price.
Fortunately for me, not enough people were interested at this price, and these found their way to clearance.
The Elf alone is worth five dollars.
If you've got any questions or comments, head on over to The Middle Room and post a response!