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Trilobite vs. Engineer (Battle-Damaged)

by yo go re

As you know, Monkey Boy hated Prometheus. I didn't. I'll watch it for the second time while writing this review, and see if I feel differently by the end.

After being awoken from hibernation, the lone surviving Engineer of LV223 faces unrelenting resistance from the human visitors. Leading up to his efforts to leave LV223 behind, he is confronted by a creature of unexpected might and evolutionary prowess, the Trilobite, a nightmarish twist on the Engineer's own bio-weapons.

One of the major questions about Prometheus seems to be "what does the black goo do," but that seems obvious: it hyperaccelerates life. It turns alien inchworms into bone-crushing cobras, skin contact with it makes Scottish geologists monstrously strong and fireproof, and ingestion makes a sterile man fertile again. It may not be life the way we recognize (or want), but it's life. Dr. Ian Malcom would be proud. Anyway, the "Trilobite" (as it's called for no good reason) is the roundabout result of the goo (with a little robotic intervention).

If the Deacon is Prometheus' xenomorph, then the Trilobite is its facehugger. Its massive, man-sized facehugger. The packaging proclaims that the tentacles span 18" when fully assembled, and that's correct: the central body hub is only about 2", but the tentacles range from 6¾" to 9" each. They all plug into the body with balljoints, and their bendy nature allows you to pose them however you wish.

The arms have a nice amount of detail, from the fleshy claws at the tips to the ridges and splits near the base. The flaps on its belly are open, revealing what we assume are its hideous mouthparts. Seven skinny tendrils erupt from the body, perfect for grabbing prey - the only drawback being that they're very skinny, and so just bend whichever direction they want rather than aiming toward a central point.

The Trilobite also has an "accessory," of sorts. It's the... tongue, we want to say? Maybe an ovipositor. Whatever it is, it looks even worse than ET's neck. It's 2¾" long, and plugs into the center of the Trilobite's... face? Undercarriage? Body. It plugs into the center of the body. It, like the arms, is bendy.

The Trilobite is too big to sell alone, so NECA had two choices: either part it out and bundle some of the arms with the Deacon, or put it in a two-pack; clearly, they went for the second option. While they could have gone for "stomach sutures and underwear" Shaw, they instead went the more frugal route, a battle-damaged Engineer.

For the most part, this Engineer is identical to the "Pressure Suit" Engineer - he's got the more organic design (as opposed to the square, tech-y design of the "Chair Suit" version), with rounded edges, short interconnected ribs, and a surface that's covered technological details, but still doesn't look like a separate space suit - more like a second skin. If the Chair Suit is an Engineer version of a diving suit, then this is one of those skintight dealies Olympic swimmers wear.

The suit is darker overall, suggesting the dirt and grime he was covered with by this point in the film. The fade from the forearms to the hands is also better this time, but still not as seamless as NECA wanted it to be. Not that we have any special insight into their expectations for the product, but we know how hard they try to duplicate what's seen in the source material - and in the film, the colors blended perfectly. So it has to annoy them. The Engineer's articulation is the same as before: balljointed head, torso, wrists and ankles; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, hips and knees; and swivels at the top of the thighs.

But the paint isn't the only change to the figure: the left side of his face has been burned and scarred, as has the left side of his chest. That's not just painted on, it's actually sculpted - which means new tooling! He's also got his mouth open in a shout, and has one of the best mouth-interiors we've ever seen on a toy. No joke. Also, new hands, ready to grip.

When NECA was first figuring out how the Trilobite and Engineer would fit in their clamshell, they toyed with having them locked in combat, as seen in a photo shared on Twitter. The final product just has them standing next to each other - possibly because it offers a better view of the figures you're buying, possibly because the other way would have made the blister too thick. Either way, the important thing is that the phallic tip of the wang dang doodle ovipositor is hidden behind the "TRU Exclusive" sticker. Thankfully!

So, as promised, I watched the movie again while writing this - and on the second watch, yeah, I still like it. A movie that led directly into Alien would have been as boring as a movie that led directly into Star Wars. [wait, aren't you, like, the prequels' only supporter? --ed.] Prometheus just sort of brushes up against the Alien storyline, and that's enough for me. Plus we're getting some pretty cool toys from it.

-- 04/20/13

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