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Tom Hanks

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by yo go re

Wait a minute, I thought we were getting a figure of India's answer to Brian Dennehy - Otm Shank!

In The Simpsons Movie, Oscar-winner Tom Hanks guest-starred in the role he was born to play: himself. The Simpsons come to their hometown's rescue when they see Tom Hanks' ad revealing the government's evil plan to destroy Springfield and replace it with "New Grand Canyon."

Tom Hanks began as a comedic actor before starting a long, unbroken stretch as a serious dramatic star. In recent years though, he's relaxed a bit, and has started to show some willingness to go back to being silly - just witness his guest spots on The Colbert Report, for instance, or the time he played himself on SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy. And of course, part of that was finally doing what so many respected actors had done before him: joining The Simpsons cast.

The figure's likeness doesn't quite match what was seen in the animation. There are three pictures on the back of the card that show the art, and judging by those, his forehead should be slightly bigger, and his nose should be rounded, not pointy. He could also use some deeper bags under his eyes, but the wrinkles at the corners of his mouth are perfect.

Tom is wearing a plain dark suit with a pale shirt and a bright blue tie. In the movie, all three were in shades of blue, but here the shirt is gray and the suit has more of a green tint (it's also done in a lighter tone than the movie gave it). He's sculpted with heavier wrinkles on the back of his slacks than the front (which makes sense, since that's the direction a human's knees bend), and there are small wrinkles pointing toward the single button that's holding his jacket closed. The sculpted fabric also bunches up near his elbows and shoulders, so overall this is a very realistic-looking 5" man in a suit. Well, "realistic" in so much as it can be, since it's based on a very stylized kind of animation.

As you know, (almost) all of Playmates' World of Springfield figures moved at the same four joints: the neck, shoulders and waist. It happened so much and so consistently that we even gave it a specific name: the Springfield Four. Tom Hanks bucks the trend. While he does move at the neck and shoulders, he doesn't have a waist; his legs go up into his coat, and then that's it. It's not like he's the first to be lacking that joint, or like articulation was the selling point of Simpsons toys to begin with, but Tom Hanks will never be able to turn his torso (presumably to look at someone while he unabashedly pees in front of them).

Series 1 of NECA's Simpsons 25th Anniversary line seems to be doing well, and Toy Fair revealed more exciting figures for the future. Tom Hanks may not be perfect, but getting a figure of him for this line is kind of awesome.

-- 03/26/14

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