One of the movies I was most excited about seeing last summer was Pacific Rim. Not only was it a monster movie inspired by Godzilla and similar Japanese Kaiju films, but it was directed by Guillermo del Toro who has directed great pictures like Hellboy, Blade 2, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Del Toro has a unique visual style and is a good storyteller so I figured we’d be treated to a monster movie like no other, a big-budget cinematic tour-de-force as opposed to the B-movie schlock we monster fans usually get.
I liked it, probably even more so upon my second viewing, but I was initially a bit disappointed by it. The monsters looked great but they were usually shown in the dark of night or underwater or both and it was often hard to decipher the details of their designs. I really wasn’t a fan of the robot/jaeger designs, especially the hero, Gypsy Danger. Plus I found the story dragged in parts and suffered from poor/over acting. Having said all that, the monster vs robot fights were awesome and that’s primarily what I was there to see. There hasn’t been much talk of a sequel but I hope we get one so Guillermo has a chance to improve on the first. Pacific Rim is a franchise with a ton of potential.
Prior to their release I was just as excited about collecting the Pacific Rim action figures as I was about seeing the movie. But like the movie my initial reaction to the toys was underwhelment (if that’s a word, I know it’s not ‘cause I looked it up). The first series of figures consisted of one monster, Knifehead, and 2 robots. I always knew that I’d collect all of the monsters but I was on the fence about the robots right up until the figures were released because as I stated, I didn’t love the designs. When the toys arrived at Strange Adventures I was disappointed by their size, their lack of articulation, their shoddy paint jobs, and their high price tag. The splotchy paint apps on the robots insured that I wouldn’t be purchasing any of them. I did buy Knifehead but I definitely felt ripped off having paid thirty bucks for him.
I was hoping for big new monster toys that I could display next to my King Kong and Godzilla figures but size-wise Knifehead didn’t come close to measuring up. The sculpting on the figure was decent but it only had a few points (9) of articulation which really limited his posing possibilities. I was glad to have him, as he was my favorite monster in the film, but I questioned whether I would buy any future releases.
The second series featured two more robots and one more monster, Leatherback. Leatherback was larger than Knifehead, his paintjob was much more-eye catching, he had increased articulation (over 20 joints), and he had a completely unique design. Buying him was a no-brainer.
When the wave three monster figure was revealed, Trespasser, I was bummed to see that NECA had reused Knifehead’s body. The only apparent difference between Trespasser and Knifehead was a newly sculpted head. This meant that all of the improvements seen on Leatherback would be undone. I was quite sure that I would not purchase Trespasser once he showed up in stores.
But then of course he showed up in stores and I had to have him. This Trespasser figure is WAY better than my Knifehead figure. The online images were deceiving. While this figure as the same basic body design as Knifehead (the monsters are all clones so it makes sense they’d share features) it’s an entirely new sculpt. This figure is substantially bigger, probably by 2 inches, that he ends up being even larger than the bulky Leatherback (he’s still not big enough to go toe to toe with my Godzilla or Zilla figures but it’s a good size). This new body sculpt features 19 points of articulation, superior sculpting, and an excellent paint job. Like Knifehead, Trespasser also has a flexible tail and a shell on his back. Trespasser’s shell is much bigger and really adds some bulk to the figure. The jaw opens and closes and he looks great either way. This dude has the freakiest face of all the figures released thus far. While I was lukewarm on Knifehead I can wholeheartedly reccomend this figure. Best of all, NECA has released a new and improved “battle damaged” version of Knifehead in this improved scaleso get ’em both. 8 out of 10.