If the 80s was all about an insane amount of merchandising and toy branding, there was one small place where we were all sort of collectively let down by this blitz and that’s movie-themed toy lines. Sure, we had a ton of Kenner Star Wars figures, there were a handful of Raiders of the Lost Ark toys, and we even got four Legend of the Lone Ranger figures from Gabriel, but there were so many hugely popular flicks that never had lines released. I’m looking at you Ghostbusters. Most of the toy lines were tied into either cartoons, or cartoon spin-offs of movies (okay, we did have Real Ghostbusters toys, but it’s just not the same.) It really wasn’t until the 90s when we started to see movies regularly getting their own short run toy lines (the Shadow, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and Dick Tracy all spring to mind.) So for years us 80s kids had to really concentrate, evoke the theme song of the Muppet Babies, and use our imagination (said with all the extra syllables baby Piggy added in the cartoon.) I distinctly remember using my G.I. Joe and Star Wars figures to play V or the Last Starfighter (the B-Wing pilot from RoTJ made a good stand in for Alex from the Last Starfighter, and if you turned his head around he makes a nice Shocktrooper from V.)
In the past couple of decades a lot of toy companies have done some fun work addressing the lack of 80s movie toys, but the figures are usually in the 6-8″ scale and are sculpted in such a way where they tend to only work as one-pose plastic statues. Again, fun, but it they never really hit that “action figure” nostalgia I have for Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. Well, last year a couple of companies teamed up (Funko and Super7) to release vintage Kenner-style figures based on original molds for the movie Alien. These were a huge hit with really fun retro inspired cardbacks and limited articulation and detail in the sculpts. Sure, it’s a little gimmicky and it evokes a false sense of nostalgia, but who cares, these figures are a lot of fun! Based on the success of that line Funko and Super7 have launched a much larger line of these ReAction figures that will start hitting stores this month. Most of these toys feature characters from movies which either never had toys or never had complete lines, but there are also a few sets of TV Show figures thrown in as well. There’s a lot of great stuff in the line including stuff from the Terminator, Predator, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Halloween, The Crow, Escape From New York, Pulp Fiction and the Rocketeer, but the two lines that have really grabbed my attention are a series of Goonies and Back to the Future figures!
I can’t even express how long I’ve wanted to have vintage style Goonies figures. In this first wave there are five figures including Sloth and the kids (Mikey, Mouth, Chunk and Data), and I hope they sell well enough that we can get a second wave featuring at least Stef, Andy and Brand, but I’d love a set of Fratelli’s for sure.
I know a lot of folks have been bummed that the sculpting and paint apps are super simple, but I actually like that. It reminds me a lot of the original Star Wars figures and honestly these toys aren’t about photo-realistic accuracy, they’re about having fun toys to have further make believe Goonies adventures with. Besides, if you’re like me then you’ll want two sets, one I can open (and have fun with) and one to hang on the wall of Branded HQ. The card art alone is worth it for me on these.
I’m not quite as jazzed about the BTTF figures, though mostly this is because the design team at Funko/Super7 chose to use one standard image for the card art (and in doing so chose NOT to license/use the bitchin’ Drew Struzan poster art.)
It’s not a huge deal, but because of the repetitive card art these won’t look as good on the wall, so I’ll probably just end up opening a single set…
Again, I hope these sell well enough for a second wave because I’d really like to have a Loraine, as well as a Marty in the radioactivity suit as Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan! As it is, at least I can re-enact George punching Biff in the parking lot of the Enchantment Under the Sea dance…