Sunday, February 13, 2022

Jessica Rabbit Merchandise Review #72 - ReAction Figures

The Who Framed Roger Rabbit ReAction Figures by Super7 were recently released, much to my huge surprise. When the movie debuted in 1988, there were a series of traditional 3¾" action figures made called Animates and a 6" scale of bendy figures called Flexies. They remained the only carded figures of the characters ever produced for nearly 35 years. Super7 has finally broken that streak, adding five of the movie's characters to the popular ReAction Figure line - including Jessica! 

Lets take a closer look...

First, I can't believe it has been 8 years since my last merchandise review. They had been quite a regular occurrence for a few years but, after time, life got busy and I eventually moved over to posting everything on Instagram. This, however, is a very special occasion and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sit and write a full review on the new ReAction Figures by Super7.

There was quite an array of merchandise available of Roger and Co. when the movie was released. The toys (mostly by LJN) appeared early on. There were traditional 3¾" figures called Animates which included 4 characters (Roger, Eddie, Judge Doom and Smartguy.) A larger scale series of bendy figures called Flexies were also made which included the above but also Jessica and Baby Herman. They had no articulation, since the premise was the bendable feature. Jessica was obviously short-packed and very hard-to-find. It took me ten years before I was able to buy Jessica online, and to this day that had been the only real type of "figure" for her.

Over the years there have been plenty of statues, mugs and pins made by Disney, but not much from another company. The last few years we did see a few collaborations on merchandising from companies like Funko, The Hundreds, Cakeworthy and Ciaté London. Cut-to 2022, toy company Super7 manages to pull off the impossible and surprise fans, and even themselves. Who Framed Roger Rabbit ReAction Fgures were revealed and the reaction was very positive. It quickly became one of the most liked images on their Instagram feed, with literally hundreds of comments by people wanting more. This has already prompted Super7 owner, Brian Flynn, to announce that a second wave of figures is being worked on.

After decades of hoping, you can imagine my excitement for all this. A Jessica Rabbit action figure has long been something I had hoped for and discussed here and there in other reviews. I was extremely honored that Super7 sent me these figures to review and I cannot thank them enough for this opportunity. I received all five characters they created for Wave 1 - Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, Judge Doom, Smarty and Stupid. They all feature the retro 5-points-of-articulation and include some great details. Each comes on a sturdy cardboard backing, with Jessica's card having a glitter effect on her dress. The cards harken back to the LJN figures, with the brick background and yellow and blue accents. Here's my thoughts on each figure:

Roger Rabbit
I'll start with our titular character, Roger. This was the first character I saw upon opening the box and I was extremely impressed. Seeing it in person gave such a different feeling. On card, these characters all looked great but I promised a review so I did open them. It's worth noting if you are a big fan you may want to get two of each or at least of your favorite character. Roger's profile is so movie accurate. Super7 expertly captured Roger's awkward frame, from his floppy ears to his baggy pants. The patch around his cotton tail is sometimes shown as green, but often as blue as well, which it is here. He is the shortest of the figures, but with his ears upright he is not far off in height. One thing I noticed right away were how his eyes are a little askew. This is how his eyes appeared on some of the vintage plush toys. Roger comes with a very small silver handcuff accessory. You'll want to be careful where you put this tiny piece. It's scaled perfectly to size but this could easily get lost. The cuffs have a small cut in them and are flexible enough to put on Roger's wrist. Roger's legs were a little tight to move but I didn't want to turn them too much. The rest of the articulation worked just fine. He also has no problem at all standing on his own. His face is so innocent, it really begs for more versions with other expressions and ear poses.

Jessica Rabbit
At long last Jessica Rabbit makes her action figure debut. Obviously, this is the figure I was looking forward to the most. From what Brian Flynn at Super7 said in an interview, he is aware of her popularity and that everyone would have mainly wanted her. Therefore, she was put into this first wave. Jessica's backer card features a glitter-foil accent to the dress, giving it some real sparkle. People did notice that she might not be as curvy as she is in the movie. As THE obsessed Jessica Rabbit fan that I am, I have seen various modifications to her over the decades when it comes to merchandise. At a small 3¾" scale, I'm not sure an overly curvaceous frame would have translated well or even allowed for balance. This is something that has always made Jessica a difficult character to create dimensionally. I feel Super7 accommodated very well and kept her form and character, which was more important to me. Her face is what I looked at first, and Super7 managed to capture her wonderfully. She has a small peek of her green eye showing under the heavy purple lid. The shape of her hair is spot-on and curves around her face, keeping her pouting lips in view. The dress is a semi-clear red plastic which has glitter inside, giving her some sparkle. This is an interesting choice that works very well. While the dress might not be as pink as in the film, in the right light it gives off a beautifully cartoony effect. Super7 could have cheated a little by bringing her dress to the floor so she could stand, but they didn't. Her feet are showing and she is in heels. She does have the slit on the correct right side of the dress. It's a little difficult to stand her but she does if you pose her right. All the characters have peg holes in the feet, so with the right stand she should be able to stay upright on her own. She comes with a frying pan accessory which has Roger's face smashed into it. The handle is very small so use caution, as it takes a little effort to get it in her hand. Jessica has the five points of articulation with her legs cut at the center of the dress. It looks a little funny with her legs moved but at least she has the same movement at the others - and the cut is not really noticeable when looking at her. Her head does not really move much because of her long hair, but it is jointed. She's the second tallest figure next to Judge Doom, and certainly the slimmest.

Judge Doom
The only drawback I would say is that the card art for Doom does not feature actor Christopher Lloyd. He's such a beloved presence and terrifying as the character that you definitely want to see him included. I'm not sure why any stills are used on the cards, but in all seriousness the figures steal the show anyhow. It does raise the question if Bob Hoskins will sadly not be on the Eddie Valiant card. Upon examining the figure, I would say the face is surely that of Lloyd's Judge Doom and not something generic. All clad in black, there isn't as much that pops here, but they got everything correct upon close inspection. Doom wears a cape and they did incorporate that on his shoulders. Very briefly seen is the chain hanging from his inside vest, but Super7 noticed and included that. I quickly looked at Doom's glasses when I opened the figure as they had a very unique shape - but they even captured that detail correctly as well. Doom is the tallest of the figures and also includes the same articulation points. His accessory is that poor squeaking shoe that he dips in the beginning of the movie. While this brought back trauma in many people's memory, at least the shoe lives on in figure form for the first time ever. I think Doom is supposed to be able to hold the shoe, but his hand does not quite want to go in the open top portion, and I don't want to force it.

Boss Weasel, Smartguy - anything to understandably cover up his actual name on merchandise, which is Smartass. Like everyone else, not only was I surprised to see two weasels included in this wave, but very impressed with how well they turned out. This has already prompted people to tell Super7 we now need a full set of the weasels, which have been teased as eventually coming. The feel of this character is so evident and correct in this figure with that thin, curved neck and toothy grimace. He has a chain that is visible in the movie and it is on the figure too, painted in gold. They even remember the spats he has on his clawed feet. While a gun accessory might have been left out for obvious reasons, he instead comes with a toilet plunger from Eddie's apartment. It's worth noting that the recommended age on the figures is 14 and up so I'm not sure why they'd omit any pistols unless otherwise asked to by Disney. The scale of both weasels might be a little larger than in the film, but they are shorter than Doom and Jessica but taller than Roger.

This ReAction Figure is Stupid! Yes, that's his actual name. This is the the other character making its action figure debut and it does not disappoint. The fact that they added two weasels was a great tease, as now everyone wants the other three. I was very surprised to see how people were clamoring for The Weasels when these were revealed. I've said before that they should release only two more in Wave 2 and save the last one to justify a Wave 3, but we'll see what happens. Stupid has the distinction of that propeller on the top of his hat and his hanging tongue, both of which seem secure but you might want to be careful of when handling. He has the usual five articulation points and on mine his legs were a little tight, but he stands unassisted just fine. His accessory is his baseball bat with a nail in it, an imposing weapon for the silliest weasel. Posing the two weasels together, or with Judge Doom looked fantastic. Having the full set is really going to look amazing.

There does seem to be some confusion on the rights to these characters, with several people thinking Warner Bros. has some ownership. That is not true. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a Disney movie. The characters are Disney characters. Because of a special deal they made with Steven Spielberg, he co-owns the rights with Disney and therefore they must agree jointly on any projects or merchandise. It was Spielberg who convinced Warner Bro. and other companies to put their characters in a Disney movie. So, while we'll never see a Bugs Bunny figure released under a Roger Rabbit logo - Roger, Benny, Jessica, etc. were always Disney characters and merchandise can be made so long as Spielberg's company agrees. It does make things a little more difficult in that respect, but as we see with the release of these figures, it is possible.

Like I mentioned before, the reaction to these figures was very strong. This was a big surprise to Super7, but Brian Flynn himself said they will get to work on a second wave of figures. It was said that Wave 1 was cut short due to the uncertainty if people would buy any merchandise from this movie. Many people noticed that Eddie was not included. Since Super7 made two weasels it was easy to speculate on a second wave. If they go with another five it could easily consist of Eddie, Baby Herman, two more weasels and an alternate Roger expression. With one weasel left to complete the Toon Patrol it could possibly be stretched out into Wave 3, also including an alternate toon Judge Doom, another alternate Roger, Dolores and maybe a character like Bongo the Gorilla. There was even mention of Benny the Cab being made. There's a lot of potential for these characters and I suppose customer interest and sales are going to play a big part in how far it goes. 

The other thing people wanted to see are the characters made into Ultimates, larger scale and highly detailed figures with several accessories. So far, Roger Rabbit Ultimates were not mentioned by Super7 but they are what people say they want to see. Perhaps we will see a lot more over time should this series of figures prove successful.