ADVANCE REVIEW: NECA's Prometheus SERIES 1
The Engineer Debuts New Series With Style...
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Moviegoers walked out of seeing Prometheus two different ways. Some left the theater feeling cheated by the less-than-decisive ending; the film raising more questions than it answered. Others appreciated the movie's many perplexing puzzles; fans left analyzing Prometheus long after the credits rolled. I fall in the middle, but I think both sides can safely agree that Prometheus brought to the silver screen some grand sci-fi visuals: from the fantastic near-future tech to the exotic alien locales. A good sci-fi film takes you to another world. Prometheus did just that and beyond.
While nothing will ever top H.R. Giger's haunting vision in Alien, Prometheus did establish some memorable creatures, primarily the enigmatic race of humanoids called The Engineers. These god-like beings were central to the story, possessing the power to create life on a planetary scale... and destroy it. The mysterious "Space Jokey" seen in the beginning of Alien finally had an identity. Prometheus answered the "who," "what" and "when" of the Engineers... it just left us all guessing to the "where", "why" and "how".
Shipping later this month, NECA debuts their all-new Prometheus 7-inch scale action figure line with two versions of the Engineer. Fans will receive the Engineer in its now iconic Chair Suit (think living Space Jockey) and the Engineer wearing what is being called a Pressure Suit. To me the Pressure Suit appears more like an exo-skeleton, an extension of the creature's flesh, but that's the beauty of these imaginative alien designs. Both figures are quite large - measuring close to 8 1/2 inches tall - and retail for slightly above the NECA norm at $18.99 each.
Packaging for the Engineers is your typical NECA clam shell. The insert is a starry black background with "Prometheus" prominently written across the top and the figure's name along the bottom (along with "Prometheus" spelled out in fading letters). It's not a particularly exciting package design from the front, but then again Prometheus never really had a strong marketing logo or tagline. It's not like Alien and it's unforgettable "In space no one can hear you scream" and eerie green-glow-hatching-egg. Fortunately, NECA's beautifully sculpted action figures more then make up for Prometheus' lackluster promotion; the collectibles instantly grabbing attention behind their large bubble windows.
The back of the packaging, however, is pretty slick. NECA utilizes stills from the film and a photo of the actual figure in a triangular configuration that merges alien architecture with that of human tech. The front of the insert actually has the scene where all the dead Engineers are piled up at the closed door, while the back - at the very bottom - is the Weyland Corporation logo. Sharp!
Awhile back when news of Prometheus first broke to the public, I asked NECA's Randy Falk if they were going to make action figures. I mean, they had tapped Alien and Predator... it seemed like a natural fit. My answer was a disappointing "not interested yet". Fast forward to Toy Fair 2012 last February and Randy's response had surprisingly changed to an excited "YES". Now working as a toy journalist, I am privy to some secrets before they go public. Not so with Prometheus - Randy Falk was tight as a clam with what they planned to do. I DID manage to gleam some information, and that was the small bit of knowledge that Prometheus would have more in it than just humans. Randy wouldn't say what, but he was pretty confident that collectors would like what they saw. That, my friends, is the Engineer... and the later-to-be-released Trilobite, Deacon, and even the space suited-up humans.
NECA's sudden interest in Prometheus wasn't the only thing that took me off guard. Their announcement that Series 1 would open up with the Engineer blew me away. I was sure (weren't you?) that we'd get some ho-hum human lead characters first. Nothing against that, mind you, but let's face it - the monsters are where it's at! Kudos to Randy Falk for "getting it" and giving collectors what they want first. But enough stories, let's take a look at the Engineers...
Measuring 8 1/2 inches tall, the Engineers appeal to me very differently than most character toys. These aren't the adrenaline-pumping "kick-butt awesome!" of a gun-toting Gears of War figure, but more of a cerebral "whoa, cool" I get out of an art toy. That's because these two figures ooze amazing artistic design. Like yin-yang, the two Engineers compliment each other with their light and dark color schemes. Where the Pressure Suit appears almost angelic with its calm expression and ivory, bone-like "clothing," the Chair Suit menaces with an insect-like helmet and inky black armor. These two figures perfectly reflect the Engineer's two distinctive traits: life and death.
Some have pointed out that the Pressure Suit should be a much darker grey in color. While I will quickly point out that the figure is slightly darker than some of my photography shows, the fact that it isn't 100% screen color accurate doesn't bother me in the slightest. Like I said, I prefer the illusion that the Pressure Suit is more of an extension of the flesh (which it just might be) over the starker image of it being clothing. Regardless, there is no denying the jaw-dropping sculpt on the Pressure Suit, or the Chair Suit for that matter. NECA's sculptors have to be commended for a job well done on the elaborate detail captured on these two collectibles.
There are no included accessories with these figures, which is a bit of a shame, but given their large size, understandable. The addition of a black goo-filled canister would have been nice, or even the DNA box at the beginning. Still, these figures impress with size, sculpt and articulation - the latter quite abundant. Each Engineer features:
- Ball-jointed head
- Ball-jointed shoulders for full 360 degree rotation.
- Hinged/ Swivel elbows
- Ball-jointed wrists
- Ball-jointed waist
- Ball/ Hinged thighs
- Hinged/ Swivel knees
- Ball-jointed feet
While the Engineer doesn't go around doing jumping jacks in the movie, the amount of articulation in these figures is greatly appreciated for display purposes. Best yet is how well-concealed all the points are, each joint blending in nicely to the bony sculpt of the suits. NECA also utilized some softer plastics for greater flexibility and joint concealment: the Chair Suit features a softer torso and hoses, while the Pressure Suit features a squishy abdomen. In turn, this more rubbery material blends in well with the harder plastics used on the majority of the figures.
What else can I say? Prometheus fans are going to LOVE these Engineer action figures. To me, these two collectibles scream "art" - cool display pieces that not only show off my passion for the film, but represent my appreciation of imaginative and unusual design. Prometheus may have asked more questions then it answered, but owning a slice of its visual majesty is enough to put your brain on pause. Until Prometheus 2 comes out, that is.
NECA's Prometheus SERIES 1 hit retail SOON - this week or next. Highly recommended.
All Photography by: Jeff Saylor
Samples Courtesy of NECA