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Movie Maniacs 4
by yo go re

Nearly 10 years after Sarah Connor survived an attempt on her life from the future, the Terminator is back. And this time, he's looking for her son, John.

Ah, the T-800. I don't think any Movie Maniac has caused as much grousing or gnashing of teeth as Arnie's Terminator. Of course we were subject to the usual whining about how this wasn't true to the spirit of the line, how a robot can't be a maniac, blah blah blah. And then there was the controversy about the head.

Initially, the T-800 was intended to come with two heads: one battle damaged, and one unscarred. Whether they were to be interchangeable or variants, we don't know; Schwarzenegger changed his mind about the figure and withdrew his likeness.

This was during the time that he was considering a run for governor of California, so everyone's best guess as to why he nixed the figure was that he didn't want a figure of himself brandishing weapons on store shelves at the same time he was trying to improve his political standing. Like no one was going to associate him with his movies anyway.

Never one to give up easily, McFarlane simply tweaked the design, giving the damaged face a bit more damage and exposing a little bit more of the endoskeleton. And that's when the fanboys went 'round the bend.

Remember scene in the steel mill in Terminator 2? After he's sent John and Sarah to hide, he stalks through the plant, looking for the sinister T-1000. Two hours and 13 minutes in (that's scene 69 on the dvd, "Hand to Hand," for those of you playing along with the home game), you'll see this exact pose. Well, almost.

McToys gave the T-800's body the battle damage that it accumulates through the film, so it would be a cooler figure. The "problem" is that the Terminator doesn't have that damage when he's in this pose. He gets the damage a few minutes later when he's hit in the chest with a swinging I-beam. Thus, the rabid fanboys said that the figure was wrong; that they wouldn't buy it; that McFarlane obviously didn't care about the movie or its own fans. Yes, a lot of toy collectors are that petulant. And this was all before the facial debacle. When that went down, they got even angrier, since "his face never looked like that in the movie!" They didn't want to buy it? Good, easier for the rest of us to find one.

Even with all the damage, it is readily apparent who this figure is supposed to represent. It's quite telling that McFarlane's sculptors can make a lump of plastic look like a real person, even when two-thirds of his face is missing. Good show! I'd try customizing him, but I'm no sculptor - if you've got the talent, though, it would probably be pretty easy.

"Uncle Bob's" articulation is on par with most of the Movie Maniacs; that is, he's got one real pose and minimal articulation. And by "minimal" I mean "if McToys could find a way to get their figures out of the mold in one solid piece, they would." He moves at the neck, waist, shoulders, right bicep, wrists, thighs, and boot tops. While that may sound like a lot, don't be fooled - you can't really do much with him. He's going to stand in his one pose for all time, with zero other options. This is getting old.

The T-800 comes with a pistol and grenade launcher. The launcher has a hinge, so you can actually flip it down to pretend to load the gun. He comes with a bandolier that holds nine (removable) shells. In the movie, he wore the bandolier over the other shoulder, which was yet another complaint. As was the fact that he comes with dark glasses, since he never wore them when his face had been torn up. Cleverly, the bandolier plugs into his back to hold it in place, and the holes are perfectly disguised in among the dozens of bullet holes.

So, is the T-800 a movie-accurate figure? No, but it was never intended to be. As a representation of the character as a whole, it's very good. No, he doesn't move, but that's no surprise. For a Movie Maniac, the Terminator is top-notch, knocked down a peg only by Arnie's back-pedaling, and that's not something McToys could control. They gave this figure their all, and made the best thing they could.

-- 10/11/02

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