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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
by yo go re

Since writing the previous two Planet of the Apes reviews, I've actually seen most of the new movies. But who cares, because this is another NECA-​quality "zoo replica," and that's all that matters.

Maurice was Caesar's friend at the primate shelter, and had been a circus performer before that. He was already fairly intelligent before being exposed to the ALZ-113 drug, and became a teacher after the revolution. But again, nobody cares, NECA made a plain orangutan toy!

Orangutans are the only great ape to come from Asia - chimps, gorillas and bonobos are all from Africa. Their name comes from the Malay orang (man) hutan (forest) - or literally, "people of the woods." They're the largest arboreal mammal in the world, rarely ever coming down to the ground. That's why their feet look and function more like hands; Alex Heinke sculpted feet that look ready to grab a branch or vine, but are completely awkward when just standing on the ground (which is exactly what real orangutans are like).

Maurice, who was named after Maurice "Dr. Zaius" Evans, is apparently the only mature male orangutan around, because he's developed a flange - that's the name for the big cheek pads some orangutans grow for reasons that are not entirely clear. His neck sack is rubbery, and there's even a little wattle stretching from it to his chin, flexing when you move his head.

In addition to the head, he also moves at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso/waist, hips, knees, and ankles. All of those are either balljoints or swivel/hinges. Thanks to his weird feet, it's hard to get him to stand, so maybe take a cue from NECA when they were showing him off, and just have Maurice sit. His shaggy red fur doesn't really get in the way of the joints, but he does still have the incorrectly made elbows - you know, where the forearms spin instead of turning for normal poses. We've asked NECA several times what the story is with these joints, but have never received an answer. So we're just going to go with "unfortunate mistake."

Maurice comes with a red book. Presumably it's the sketchbook Alex dropped in the woods, which is why it looks so well-worn. Unfortunately, neither of his hands (nor his feet) are designed to hold it securely, so most of the time it will just have to lay on the ground near him. Still, it's a cool little accessory.

As the only plain ape in Series 1 of the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes line, Maurice was the fastest seller. People love cool, well-made animal toys, and nobody makes them better than NECA.

-- 07/01/15

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