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Toy Story 3
by yo go re

One of the fun things about the Toy Story movies is the way they mix a few real toys with all the ones they just made up (because being real makes things better). So for every wholly imaginary creation (yeah right, like we're going to believe someone made a 12" fashion doll named "Barbie" - that's clearly just Pixar's STBLDF version of Bild Lilli), there's a little bit of reality. Reality like Twitch.

In the movie, Twitch is the muscle-bound, insect-headed member of Lotso's gang of thugs at Sunnyside Daycare. Lotso runs a tight ship and won't tolerate any toys that question his authority.

You remember the Insectaloids, right? They were the new faction of villains introduced near the end of the Musculor toyline? Surely that rings a bell. Musculor, the Strongest Hero in the Galaxy? Protected the world of Mysticana from Thoom, the Lord of Destruction? Thoom and his lackeys were always trying to steal The Book of Forever from Castle Gladgood? Yeah, you remember it.

While there was a "basic" Twitch figure that really was about 5" tall and moved like a He-Man figure, this one is from the Toys Я Us-exclusive Disney/Pixar Collection, which offered improved articulation and accessories (and pointlessly fancy packaging) at the expense of size. It's cool that the back shows some of the original concept art that led to the character, but this is still overly ornate. Random yo go re fact: I don't like to throw away the packaging until after I've reviewed something - do you have any idea how gratifying it will be to get rid of something that's been sitting on my desk for seven years? It's the little victories that make life worth living.

Since he's a MotU knockoff, Twitch has those proportions: massive chest, small but muscular limbs, etc. He wears a studded yellow chest harness, orange trunks, and may be wearing orange gloves and boots, but it's hard to tell - while the gloves have a definite upper edge, the legs just sort of fade from green to orange with no clear delineation between them. His arms have a bumpy texture, the legs are smooth, and the torso is sculpted with angular plates to make him look like a bug. His feet have similar elements behind the big claws, so maybe the implication is that his species just has orange feet, and he chose his gloves and panties to match them?

The name "Twitch" doesn't seem to relate to the character at all - not the way Stretch and Sparks do. We have no way of knowing for sure, but we'd wager that the original idea was to have him randomly shake his head or wings and give a buzz (to reinforce his insectness), and that's where his name came from. Hey, it worked for Jeremy Stenberg, right? Twitch has fearsome mandibles; large, bulging, metallic compound eyes; and two segmented antennae that fade from green at the base to orange at the tips.

The figure does have wings, but they're fairly disappointing. They're done as one solid chunk of translucent plastic that plugs into the center of his back. This is a toy aimed at adult collectors; they couldn't have given him real wings? Even the basic toy had real wings! It's not like we're asking for moving jaws, like the 12" toy from Thinkway had, just some swivels or something so you could move the wings at all. Making them one conjoined piece just ruins the point of them.

What makes the wings particularly disappointing is that the rest of the joints are above average (for Toy Story 3 toys, that is): Twitch has a swivel neck and wrists, swivel/hinge shoulders and hips, and hinged knees and elbows. Yes, that's a lot by this line's standards. Unfortunately, the way the joints are made, you can't quite get him into the appropriate "He-Man squat" that the Masters of the Universe toys were known for, even though the concept art definitely knew to include it.

Another advantage this Twitch has? He actually gets his accessory! His "signature magical battle staff," according to the character's official bio. It's just solid yellow, lacking the orange paint apps seen in the movie, but it exists. So yay? He can hold it in either hand. It's also much smaller than it should be - as seen on the back of the packaging, his staff should be about two heads taller than he is, while here it's just under 4" tall, exactly the same height as his antennae. The poor guy is already GI Joe-sized instead of MotU-sized, you couldn't even give him this?

The Toy Story 3 Disney/Pixar Collection toys were remarkably overpriced - I paid $10 for this in 2010, and that was when TRU was having a sale on them. Even DCU Classics only cost $15 back then! Twitch is nice enough, as is the other one I bought (ooh, foreshadowing!), but he could certainly be better.

-- 02/02/17

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