|B u y t h e t o y s , n o t t h e h y p e .|
by yo go re
Man, the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon was really screwed up, wasn't it? It drew a lot of its main ideas from the original black and white comics, but then twisted them in ways that left them almost unrecognizable.
Utroms - the little aliens with the big brains and even bigger ideas! Having crash-landed on earth ten centuries ago, the Utroms have been patiently awaiting the day when human-developed technology catches up to the point where it can be of service to the Utroms and enable them to return to their homeworld far across the universe. Basically brains without strong supportive bodies, the Utroms often move about in human-like exoskeletons. And even though they've lived in the shadows of history, they haven't been inactive - far from it! From having created the loyal Ninja Guardians to building the TCRI industry, the Utroms have had their tentacled little hands (feet?) behind many aspects of the lives of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - too many aspects for mere coincidence!
Little brain in the stomach of a big robot body? Now who does that sound like? Yes, the benevolent (or at least "indifferent") Utroms of the comics were turned into tiny evil mastermind Krang. How screwy is that? Now that the new TMNT cartoon is actually drawing upon the original comics, the Utroms are feeling like their old selves.
Playmates' Utrom figure plays to all their typical strengths and weaknesses: the sculpt is good but the articulation is not. Though the figure looks like its animated counterpart, it moves only at the Big Five: head, shoulders and hips. This is particularly bad, since we're talking about a robot.
If you can't put good articulation into a body that's sculpted to look mechanical, then you're doing something wrong. His shoulders look like balljoints - make them balljoints! Why are there no knees? No elbows? Why sculpt parts that are intended to look like joints, when making them actual joints would serve the same purpose? It's ridiculous.
The sculpt is simple, but it's on-model to the cartoon. The paint is basically a few varying tints of gray. The robot stands 5 1/2" tall.
The Utrom can be removed from the exoskeleton. His squishy little body is 3/4" tall and made from a very soft, sticky rubber - kind of like those Wacky Wall Walkers you used to get from cereal boxes and gumball machines. As you'd expect, the little guy is mostly pink, though he has a few paint apps for his mouth and eyes.
To help him move about unencumbered by the giant humanoid automaton, the Utrom comes with a little 1" hoverdisc. Now, obviously the thing doesn't hover, but if you really jam the brain on there, it will make the disc stick to it and you can pretend he's flying.
The Utrom figure is okay, but not as good as it could be. The little brain is fun, and looks good in his robot host, but there's just not enough play value. It's a good thing the TMNT figures are so cheap, or this line would probably be as dead as He-Man by now.
Do you prefer the old Turtle cartoon or the new, darker version? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.