Sideshow Collectibles' Planet of the Apes: Astronaut Taylor and Exclusive Dr. Zaius
by Mr. Stinkhead
Sing with me! Dr. Zaius Dr.Zaius! Doctor Zaius Dr. Zaius! Dr. Zaius! Help me Dr. Zaius!How can you not? Anyway, when we were oogling the Sideshow Collectibles booth at Toy Fair, the first thing that stuck out in my mind was the Planet of the Apes line that was getting ready to hit shelves. [Ed note: The life-sized T2 Endoskeleton is a close second]
I am a big fan of the level of quality that Sideshow adheres to. When they start something up, they go all the way. That's evident in the detail, the likeness, and the included accessories. One of the first toys ever reviewed on MPb was the Twilight Zone Gremlin. Not only does that figure look exactly like an actor rolled up in carpet (just like the show), he comes with a ripped up panel and extra wires. Read the review... anyway when I saw the Planet of the Apes line at Toy Fair, I started crying for Ma-ma....ma-ma.... [Ed note: He really did, we had to leave and come back]. Despite my episode, Sideshow was kind of enough to send us Astronaut Taylor and Exclusive Dr. Zaius to review.
I love the overall look and feel of Astronaut Taylor. I work in Washington DC, and when I get the chance, I sneak over to the Air & Space Museum on lunch breaks to look at the old space suits. They creep me out. (Read all about that, space poop, real frozen monkeys, and more POTA merchandise in my Space Monkey Oddessy) So I'm already a big fan of 60's era space gear. His flight suit is nice. Heston doesn't wear this outfit in the movie terribly long, so I don't have a strong impression in which to judge it against. But you'll notice the real snaps and buckles. I also love the detail and weathering on his boots.
The coolest of the cool is the space-survival back pack! Man oh man is this sweet. It straps onto Taylor for his initial trek from the sinking Icararus, but once he gets to shore he can open it up, and there is a plethora of survival staples inside! There's a nice removable handgun and hammer. But the other items are beautifully sculpted and offer varying levels of depth. In fact, some of the cuts are so deep that it looks like multiple pieces of plastic. Even cooler. He also comes with a half-smoked stogie. Sweet.
Standing tall at 12", Astronaut Taylor sports the standard articulated Sideshow body under his clothes. This allows for some great poses. (Quite a bit more than I was used to with the Gremlin, whose bulky suit is somewhat limiting). But the classic display stand is a great touch, and really helps support the figure when he's wearing his back pack.
I am weird when it comes to action figure likenesses. Sometimes it's eerie how much something resembles the subject (any Seth Green action figure) sometimes it's mind boggling how far one could get from a likeness (any Princess Leia figure). I understand actors' releases and things like that, but regardless, a lot of times I'm left saying "Yeah, I guess that looks like him. (or her)" Sideshow typically does an above and beyond job with capturing a likeness both in sculpt and paint application. My big thing with Mr. Heston is that I'm only used to his iconic scowl, I've really only seen a few movies of his when he looked this young, so my brain doesn't have the instant recognition for Heston from this era. I do think that the profile is spot-on, and that reminds the right parts of my brain. It looks like Taylor, but usually Heston is wearing an exaggerated expression, so it's not on the "eerie side" at all. Maybe that's a good thing.
Exclusive Dr. Zaius
Great Lawgiver Zaius, keeper of Earth's history, and maintainer of Ape Law, Dr. Zaius is looking proud in his collectible form. This specific tunic he's wearing was a convention exclusive, and varries slightly from the standard issue Zaius. (Hey, that's a great name for a band). I love the head sculpt and the hands, the detail and likeness are great. Zaius sports the same sculpted body as Taylor underneath his clothes (but an orangutan-appropriate shade of orange if you peak).
The good doctor also comes with some accessories. Though not as spiff-a-riffic (if I can use that word) as the space-pack, they are certainly appropriate. There's his trusty walking stick, and scrolls, and the detail fits with the high level of expectation you have with Sideshow accessories.
I love how iconic Dr. Zaius is. I have the Hasbro Dr. Zaius that came out a few years ago. Being POTA was well before my time, I'm a little bit limited in what I can find a decent prices. I do have the Dr. Zaius Kubrick, who you'll have to agree, is the cutest Dr. Zaius there is.
Overall these collectibles deliver what you're looking for. Superior, top-level collectibles that are well above the realm of "action figure," but articulation and accessories that put some action figures to shame. The price is $40, but if Planet of the Apes is your thing, you can't go wrong.
I also want to mention the packaging. Not only was the original Planet of the Apes from 1968, but it's set in a "primitive" post-stone-age type of environment. Though the movie's theme is primitive, the packaging had a cool digital, contemporary look that fit the logos and photos nicely. It also has a front flap for viewing the figure and accessories if you'd prefer to keep it in the box. This is some of my favorite packaging out there, as they look sharp in the box or out. (But how can you not open these?)
Speaking of Twilight Zone and Planet of the Apes you have to check out this video clip on TheForbidden-Zone.com. Both the Zone and Apes were written by Rod Serling, so they reimagined POTA as if it were a half hour episode of The Twilight Zone. It's pretty cool, and very professionally done. (It has nothing to do with my joke here on the right).
Sideshow Collectibles is more than alright in our book. Be sure to swing by their site, SideshowToy.com and also check out their whole line of Planet of the Apes collectibles. You can see what else is coming up from Sideshow in our Toy Fair coverage. Check out my review of the Twlight Zone Gremlin, and Lando's review of Freddy vs. Jason's Jason or James Bond.
I'll even go out on a limb and say that these figures from Sideshow have even eased the pain that is the permanent burn on my retinas from watching Tim Burton's 2001 POTA remake. No, no, there's just some things only a sudsy Brillo pad can cure.
Article and all images ©2005 MillionairePlayboy.com