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Prologue Elf

LotR - The Two Towers
by yo go re

It's rare that a movie is better than the book it's based upon, but such is the case with Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien's plodding, sprawling, sexist seminal work has been transformed into a tight, enjoyable piece that lacks none of the book's integral flavors.

The books were actually one large opus that was divided simply for marketability's sake, and the film followed suit; it's actually a nine-hour film that's just being shown over the course of three years. In this spirit, the toy line is just changing packaging to keep pace: just because the box says "The Two Towers," there's no reason that you won't find a character within that appeared only in the first film.

In the Second Age of Middle-earth the Noldorian King Gil-galad assembled a mighty army of High Elves beneath his starry banner. Armed with elegantly curved blades, tall shields, bright spears and strong bows, the host of Gil-galad joined King Elendil's army of men in an alliance against the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. Sauron's Orc minions, while more numerous, were no match for the Elves, who fought their way to the very doorstep of the Dark Lord's stronghold.

Though The Two Towers had one of the most complex battle scenes ever committed to film, for sheer "cool factor," nothing can beat the elven lineup seen during Fellowship's prologue. From the opening volley of arrows to the beautifully synchronized sword slashing as the orcish hoards drew nigh, those big gold fairies kicked ass.

We've already got figures of Elrond and Sauron, but so far they were the only combatants from the film's opening scenes. To remedy this, ToyBiz has just released a Prologue Elf.

Standing 7" tall, the elf has 16 points of articulation. ToyBiz has done their usual great sculpting job, detailing the elven armor from crested helmet to toe: the mail looks like actual chain, the cloth is wrinkled, and the metal is layered and etched. His ornate helmet can be removed to reveal the chainmail-clad head beneath, and the face is based on ToyBiz Senior Product Manager Damon Nee.

This elf is a warrior, and he comes with an arsenal of weapons: longbow, arrows, sword, spear and shield. Press the button on his back and his right arm slashes, allowing you to recreate that initial swordfight. Both hands are molded to hold any of the weapons, and careful planning will allow you to stock him with everything at once.

There's a bit of a problem, though, with the quiver. The Prologue Elf comes with a strap that fits over his shoulder and is designed to hold the arrows to his back. Unfortunately, no instructions are included for the proper way to hang the quiver, and the only way it seems to "fit" is if it's hung backwards. It still looks good from the front of the figure, though, so it's not a terrible loss.

Right now the Prologue Elf can be hard to find - it's a well-designed figure with great articulation, cool accessories, and a superb paintjob. Plus, it's the closest thing to a generic soldier the films have yet seen. So a lot of fans are buying as many Elves as they can to serve as "army builders." If you can find a Prologue Elf, though, it really is a great toy, and will be a fine addition to your collection.

-- 03/31/03

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