Review: Search and Protect Eve
What would Romeo be without Juliet? The answer, of course, is alive, but you wouldn't know his name. Wall-E fares a little better than Romeo: both of them died, but only Wall-E came back. That, incidentally, can be attributed to the fact that Eve is a far better woman than Juliet (really: Juliet's arm doesn't turn into ANYTHING).
The point is, if you're going to buy a Wall-E, you might as well put down a few more bucks and pick up an Eve, as well.
By the way, if you missed our review of U-Repair Wall-E, you might want to take a look before reading further. Go ahead. We'll wait.
Like her boyfriend, Eve was made possible by a joint endeavor between Buy n Large and Thinkway Toys.
While I don't like Search and Protect Eve quite as much as U-Repair Wall-E, she comes extremely close. Unlike Wall-E, she has a couple of action features, but you won't mind them here. In fact, you'll absolutely love at least one of them. She also comes with several accessories and a base. Some of these are good (even great), others are not. But there's no reason to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Eve is not as easy a design to capture as she first appears. While composed of simple shapes, the designers had an unusual obstacle: in the film, these shapes aren't actually connected. Eve is fundamentally a disconnected head, body, and two arms. In fact, the character has no joints in the movie, save for those built in her chest and on her right arm (which folds out into a gun). Even her facial expressions were entirely dependant on a screen with digitally changing eyes.
How well did they do? Well, they came closer to the movie design than I'd have thought possible.
The figure's head is connected by a sturdy plastic rod, which elevates it enough to provide some movement but not so far as to look out of place. The arms are attached by a mechanism that allows them to pop out, move around, and then fold back flush with the body.
Accurate to the film, Eve's chest opens up to reveal a hidden compartment. While this works well, it does hurt the overall look of the figure. You can clearly see the panels on Eve when closed, and the button on her back, while not overly obtrusive, is certainly evident.
Eve's facial expressions (you have several options - more on that below) are very good, though they aren't perfect. The eyes are solid shapes here, but in the movie they are made up of horizontal lines, similar to the look of an old computer screen. Personally, I think they could have kept the look of the film without hurting the figure. I want to stress, though, that this is a very minor point: overall, the look, options, and mechanism behind Eve's eyes is awe-inspiring. I just think it could be a little more so.
The overall look of the figure is quite good, but is dragged down by the chest panel and the button on back. I'll be rough and say 7/10.
Packaging and Extras: +1
Wall-E may have came with next to nothing, but they made up for it with Eve. In fact, if you put them together, you really get two figures worth of extras.
Eve's least interesting accessory is a rock. More accurately, it is a scaled down version of the rock wall Wall-E was hiding behind when the characters first "met." And just like the one in the movie, this one is meant to be blasted. Press a button on the top, and a blast-shaped hole appears. It works fine, but the small size and lack of paint prevent it from really adding much of worth.
You might count her base as an accessory. It looks good, it's solid, and it does its job. You don't get any articulation out of this (the figure won't pivot in the joint), but this is a minor issue. Eve comes with an extra arm which is in gun mode. It looks good and it's easy to change out. I prefer the normal arm for display, but it's a great extra.
More importantly, you get the plant-in-a-boot, which is probably the single most significant accessory from the film. This is the best crafted of the accessories, and you'll probably get the most use out of it.
Play and Display: +1
It's very common for action features to come at a cost. You almost always wind up trading a bit of the character's appearance or articulation for something else. What's unusual about Eve is that these features are worth actually worth it this time.
Eve's articulation is impressive considering the circumstances. My largest complaint isn't a complaint at all: the head turns from side to side, but doesn't tilt or elevate. I can't fault them, however, because this is tied directly to a feature I can't imagine losing. Press on Eve's head, and her expression changes. I believe she's equipped with every expression she had in the movie (except for the "off" mode, but nothing's perfect). While I'd love to have a little more head movement, I'd never trade it for the feature.
She comes equipped with one more action feature: press a button on her back, and her chest panel slides open. This works well, and it's pretty cool. Is it worth having the overall look of the figure diminished? Well, it might be. I go back and forth, because it is a major aspect of her character and a large part of the film. An ideal solution might have been if they had found
a way to leave off the button: they you'd have the option of turning her head around and displaying her that way. Of course, with the button present this isn't much of an option. As it is, the feature works well and is a lot of fun.
The only other articulation is in the joints connecting Eve's arms to her body. This must have presented a difficult problem for the designers. If they had positioned her arms away from her body, there'd be no way to display her in "pod" form.
The solution they came up with is nothing short of brilliant. They created complex joints which slide in and out of a hollow tube. You get a remarkable amount of articulation while still having the option of folding them into her body. The possibility doesn't quite match the articulation, however: on mine, at least, there are some poses her arms just can't retain.
Sadly, as I mentioned above, you don't get any additional articulation out of the base, but at least it's steady and holds her up.
You also receive an alternate arm with blaster. It looks fine and certainly offers some additional display possibilities. Snap this in and bring up her "angry-eyes", and you've got one deadly vegetation evaluator.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 9/10
Ten bucks for all this? Sold. Like I said at the start, I like Wall-E better as a figure, but Eve is a better value.
The added accessories and features push Eve's score to 9 out of 10, which is actually higher than Wall-E's. If you're only getting one, you'll of course want Wall-E: it's his movie, after all.
But pick up both, and you'll be much happier. Together, this pair is even better than the sum of their parts.
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