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John Raymond Arnold

Jurassic Park
by yo go re


The head computer technician at Jurassic Park, John Raymond "Ray" Arnold reluctantly shuts down the park's power system in an effort to undo Dennis Nedry's destructive and dangerous programming. After initiating a reboot, Arnold's decision to check the circuit breakers gets wildly out of hand.

We here at OAFEnet would like to offer our blated congratulations to the nameless Mattel copywriter who created that bio on the birth of their first child. We feel absolutely confident saying that, because the whole "out of hand" bit is a premium, restraurant-grade Dad Joke. I don't care if a woman wrote it, Dad Jokes know no gender boundaries. Upon placing the period at the end of that sentence, a pair of socks and sandals spontaneously appeared on their feet, and they realized they were wearing cargo shorts. In their closet at home, a pair of grass-stained white New Balance sneakers materialized.

Once the 4" Jurassic Park line ended with an SDCC exclusive, Mattel shifted to a new scale for 2019's six-inch "Amber Collection." The initial releases were a single velociraptor (which Monkey Boy will be reviewing any day now) and Dr. Ian Malcolm - meaning that through pure happenstance, we got three 6" Jeff Goldblum action figures in the span of just a few weeks. Allegedly some more humans were released (Starlord and Dennis Nedry) but certainly not into any stores. After two years of repainting that one raptor and giving it new names, Mattel's finally released something new: Samuel L. Jackson!

Well, new to them: Hasbro, McFarlane, DST, Lego, Mezco, Lanard, and Sideshow have done figures, NECA did a couple dolls, statistically there has to be a Funko POP!... but this is the first one from Mattel! The likeness is decent - I mean, at least they got his '90s hair right, which is more than we can say for Nick Fury - but the glasses are non-removable, so you can't really appreciate it fully.

In the book, the chief engineer was named John Arnold - but worrying that he'd get confused with John Hammond, Spielberg gave him a new name. That seems unnecessary at best. Jurassic Park came out in 1993; until this review, could you have named Samuel L. Jackson's character? Can you name him now without looking back up at the top of the page? Of course not, he's just Samuel L. Jackson, right before he became a household name. Joey Jo-Jo Junior Jonathan John Jacob Ray-Jay Jingleheimer Raymond "Manny" Arnie Arnold Allen John is wearing his white Park labcoat with the logo on the breast pocket, but no nametag. There are two pens sculpted in his pocket, and beneath the coat he's wearing a striped shirt with a greyish neck tie.

The paint may not be flashy, but it's done well. The intricate JP logo on his pocket is tampographed cleanly, and though the pattern on the tie isn't quite as complex as it was on the real costume, but they certainly did their best - adding in the additional outlines inside the little diamond shapes wouldn't have really added that much to the look of the toy. Wait, no, correction: they did include the additional outlines, they just all run together at this size. So like we said, they don't add that much. Mattel has opted to paint the stripes all the way around the back of his shirt, even though it's under the coat and will never be seen. Also, way to airbruch on his bald spot!

The articulation is mediocre: there's plenty of it, but all the joints feel a little wobbly, which isn't good. Sam moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. Thankfully, because this is Mattel and not Diamond Select, the tie is a separate piece, rather than being sculpted on the two pieces of the chest. That always sucks. Since the chest joint is a balljoint, the waist joint really doesn't serve any purpose. Also, without any movement in the neck, the head's range of motion is a little lackluster. For whatever reason, the feet seem sized more for a 7" figure than a 6" one, but at least they keep him standing.

We do get some nice accessories, though. There's the simple (alternate hands, a microphone headset) and the sublime (the full desktop computer he used to monitor and control the park), but then there's also what may be 2021's Accessory of the Year: his severed arm! It's a solid piece, despite going up nearly to the shoulder, and features the striped shirt rather than the coat. The upper end is ragged and painted a bright, cartoony red - still, this is visible blood on a mass-market toy available right in the aisle at Target, and that's something toymakers usually try to avoid. They didn't even try to hide the arm behind the carboard or anything, it's right in the center!

(While there's no indication of this on the packaging, the figure's right arm can be pulled apart at the bicep joint to simulate battle damage. We know this is intentional, because the left arm doesn't pull out as easily, and the interior is painted red. Easter egg!)

Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to have more scenes in the movie - in particular, showing him making it to the maintenance shed instead of just saying he was going and then disappearing entirely - but Huricane Iniki hit Hawaii and destroyed a lot of the outdoor sets, so we never got to see him face down a raptor. But thanks to the Jurassic Park Amber Collection, you can finally make it happen!

-- 07/29/21

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