And now, Scary-Crayon reviews... The Twilight Saga: New Moon Alice

Figure Information Name: Alice Cullen
Line: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Scale: 7 inch
Manufacturer: NECA
Year Released: 2009
Suggested Retail Price: $13.99
Purchase Price: $3.74

Full disclosure: I don't give an undead crap about the Twilight series. Among other things, it features some of the most derivative teen girl/vampire romance I've ever seen -- and whereas it's at least made sense in other media (vampires love death and Buffy was the frickin' Slayer), there's no good reason whatsoever that an uber-sexy centuries-old vampire should fall in love with a plain, boring schoolgirl (unless he is a pedophile, and there is nothing uber-sexy about pedophilia despite what the Japanese think). And that vampires glittering in the sunlight crap? Almost impossibly lame -- and yet it's obviously not impossibly lame since Stephenie Meyer actually committed that ridiculousness to paper. If that idea had popped into my head, I'd sooner have driven my inkpen into my iris than preserved it for posterity.

And since I don't care about Twilight, by extension I don't care about Alice Cullen. Yes, I bought and am currently reviewing the figure -- I like action figures, generally dig stuff with a gothic flavor, and think Ashley Greene is quite the cutie -- but don't expect me to describe the character's background or her place in the Twilight series by way of introduction. That ain't gonna happen, and if you want to know about her character you should read the entry about her in the Twilight Saga wiki. I did skim that article, however, and apparently the character is married to some doofy-looking vampire named Jasper. I don't recall this character appearing in the first movie at all, but I find myself a little jealous and hating the Twilight series even more.

Let's talk about the figure, shall we?

Packaging

Score: 7.5 / 10

Ah, if only it weren't a clamshell...That depends -- will we end up in the back seat afterwards?

Yeah, you probably know how I feel about clamshells by now -- I flipping hate them -- but almost everything else about this package is really well done. The colors are appropriately dark, the little swirly designs are nifty, and I love the look of the twilit trees behind Alice in the package. The back also features a tolerably compact bio of the character -- apparently she's into car theft or gaming, either of which makes her seem even hotter -- along with a very fetching closeup photo of Ashley Greene. Daddy likes! The only problem aside from the clamshell construction (which is mostly why I've docked the score so heavily) is the figure's appearance in the package. NECA has a tendency to showcase its figures in the worst possible light, and Alice here is no exception -- for some inexplicable reason they've got her looking up, which just makes the figure look awkward and calls attention to the painted nostrils. And while the nostrils look okay on this figure, I've seen some with darker paint that just look dreadful in package. I mean, as hot as Ashley Greene is, she'd be decidedly less so if you were staring at her face from below and her nose hairs were in serious need of trimming! On the other hand, since I probably would've gotten the figure long ago and at full price if it'd been placed in the package at a more flattering angle, I guess NECA saved me $10. Yay.

Visual Appeal

Score: 8.5 / 10

Alice from the front......and the side......and the back! Let the catcalls commence.

The looks department is where Alice really shines -- provided you've got the figure positioned right. The sculpt is excellent, with lots of wrinkles and detailing on the clothing (I love her tie); a realistic, not-too-slim figure; and an attractive face that looks quite a bit like Ashley Greene in the role. Her expression is a bit bland -- I'd prefer the smirk she's sporting in the photo on the back of the insert -- and the hair's not as spiky as the character's 'do (both issues that were absent from the Alice figure seen at Toy Fair 2009), but she's still a very pretty toy. And The health benefits of smiling mean nothing to immortals!while the articulation is admittedly limited, it's to the creators' credit that nearly all of it is invisible. Only Alice's wrist swivels are really obvious, but they do provide enough of a distraction that I wish NECA had either left the joints off or just given the figure more articulation...

...which would have allowed collectors to correct the main problem with the sculpt: the pose. Alice is standing with her right leg thrust forward and leaning slightly back on the left in this "I'm an ultra-cool girl" kinda way -- which looks fantastic from certain angles -- but from the front it looks a bit awkward, especially since it's necessary to turn the left foot outward in a somewhat unnatural fashion in order to keep her standing. The angled pose makes this look completely normal, however, and the facial expression gains a bit of sass when Alice is looking to the side rather than staring blankly ahead.

Alice's paint is also somewhat problematic. The face and arms look great and the hair isn't remarkable either way, but there are lots of instances of overlap and spotting on the purple shirt and black vest -- among other things, there's a glob of purple on her left breast -- and the stripes are really sloppy. That said, the colors are dark enough that these blemishes aren't especially noticeable at a normal viewing distance. In some instances, they even enhance the look of the figure -- frex, the way the black paint on the vest runs onto the shirt doesn't look great in closeup, but from a foot or more away it looks like a slight shadow. The pants aren't so lucky, however, as the very slight grey drybrush they've been given just looks like scuffs at the creases and on Alice's well-sculpted buttocks. The finish around her crotch is also glossier than the rest of the pants, which... nope, I'm not gonna comment on that. :P Anyway, despite these issues, Alice's sculpt and appearance at an angle are strong enough that the figure looks pretty great overall.

Articulation

Score: 5.0 / 10

Superposeable she is not.

Unfortunately, Alice isn't so much an action figure as she is a slightly poseable statue. The ball-jointed neck is great and can significantly enhance the figure's body language, the very swivel-hinged shoulders allow Alice's arms a wide range of motion, and the wrists turn freely -- so you can get some posing out of the figure -- but the remaining joints from the waist down are pretty useless. While Alice's waist affords very minor tilting action and side-to-side movement, the hard plastic and shape of Alice's body really limits how far you can turn her in any direction (picture an oval-shaped cylinder with a slightly smaller one inside; you can't move the larger cylinder very far without its motion being impeded by the smaller one). And the ankle swivels? They're only useful for keeping Alice on her sexy feet. This is pretty important -- and I suppose the joints will allow you to keep Alice standing despite any imperceptible inclines on your shelf -- but the ankle swivels would have been completely unnecessary if the sculpted pose had been more solid or the figure had come with a base. Obviously, more joints would have been preferable, and the general argument about aesthetics doesn't really hold up considering that NECA was willing to mar the figure's appearance with the wrist swivels.

Accessories

Score: 0.0 / 10

Alice doesn't come with any accessories, which makes this section super easy to write! That's awesome -- thanks for saving me some time, NECA -- but the fact that Alice is so lacking here is decidedly less excellent. Granted, I didn't see the second movie, so I have no idea what she might've come with. (A purse? An extra pair of shoes? I hear women like these things.) At the very least, a base would've been appreciated.

Fun Factor

Score: 7.5 / 10

"Come with us if you want to live."REAL vampires don't sparkle in sunlight, little girl!Alice totally digs hairy guys.

Despite the lack of articulation, Alice manages to be a fairly fun figure. She's hot, gothic, and hot (did I mention that she's hot?), so I imagine the target audience (that is, people who enjoy hot girl figures) will enjoy ogling her sexy plastic hotness, tweaking her appearance as the articulation permits, and/or placing her alongside other Twilight, monster-themed, and/or gothic-flavored figures in a display capacity. And if you're not a fan of the Twilight media or don't mind mocking things you enjoy, you can always use her to make fun of the series! If I'd had these figures back when I saw the first film, I'm almost certain there would have been multiple toy comics about the utter ridiculousness of vampires that sparkle in sunlight. Worst. vampires. ever.

That said, I can't score Alice higher than a 7.5 -- much like the abominable clamshell limited the packaging score, there's definitely a limit to the fun factor of a slightly poseable statue. Depending upon who you are and how much you enjoy sexy girls in miniature, however, you may wish to give Alice an extra point or two here.

Value

Score: 8.0 / 10

Swoon.

Since Alice is still generally available for $13.99 at Toys "R" Us, I'm scoring her here with reference to the original MSRP. That's already a competitive value for a 7" action figure -- but, considering that Alice comes across as a bonafide "collectible" rather than a really nice "toy" owing to the limited articulation, she somehow manages to seem like an equal value to far better action figures at the same price. I mean, I'm no connoisseur of miniature statues and busts, but the sculpting quality (if not the paint) of this figure seems at least equal and potentially superior to the quality of many of those products, yet they go for $50+ and Alice generally can be had for under $20 at even the most expensive retailers. And if, by some stroke of luck, you happen to find Alice for $3.74 in the clearance section of your local Target? Her perceived value skyrockets.

Review Summary

Packaging
  • Wretched clamshell!!!!!!
  • Attractive layout and graphics
  • Great, compact bio with sexy closeup photo of Ashley Greene as Alice
  • Unflattering figure position
SCORE: 7.5 / 10
Visual Appeal
  • Fantastic sculpt diminished only by ugly wrist cuts and awkward pose
  • Could use a more expressive face; hairdo could be spikier
  • Looks great despite problematic paint
SCORE: 8.5 / 10
Articulation
  • Ball-jointed neck, swivel-hinged shoulders, and swivel wrists work well and offer minor poseability
  • Waist and ankles are mostly useless
SCORE: 5.0 / 10
Accessories
  • Alice comes with nothing but her sweet, sexy self.
SCORE: 0.0 / 10
Fun Factor
  • Even when they're small and plastic, it's fun to look at hot girls
  • Collectors will enjoy displaying Alice
  • Still, slightly poseable statues (even sexy ones) aren't that much fun.
SCORE: 7.5 / 10
Value
  • $13.99 is a competitive price for a well-sculpted 7" action figure
  • Perceived value is even higher given that this figure seems less like a "toy" than a mini statue or bust
SCORE: 8.0 / 10

Overall

Score: 8.5 / 10

They'll rip you up with their savage kisses.

Alice Cullen is one of those figures that manages to be greater than the sum of her parts -- mostly because she's just so darned cute! Yes, folks who can only abide superarticulated action figures need not apply, but anyone with broader taste in toys collectibles and an appreciation for sexy and snazzily dressed goth girls in miniature will appreciate having Alice on the shelf. Of course, dead-icated Twilight fans will also want to pick this figure up -- but if you happen to be one of those unfortunate souls I'm guessing you've already done so. By now, you've probably even gotten a second Alice to customize with Glitter Mod Podge. ;P

-- Wes --

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