Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Wrapping Up 2020: Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro


   Before the Sequel Trilogy I would have guessed that there would never be a more divisive and more disliked Star Wars character than Jar Jar Binks. Guess I was wrong, huh? I've said a few times in different places that The Phantom Menace is probably the Star Wars film that I've most changed my view on over the years. I went from trying to embrace it when it came out while I was in 9th grade to ragging and hating on it for years, to starting to reassess it while watching through The Clone Wars to coming to love it and feel nostalgic for it around the time of the 2012 3D rerelease. It's certainly not my favorite but it's probably in my upper half of Star Wars movies now. It's a flawed but fun film that I could honestly watch over and over again. Jar Jar Binks is a great example of the nature of the film: A great idea that could have been executed better. Visually, he's pretty interesting and I find it fascinating that Hasbro's The Black Series figure seems to lean in the direction of focusing on what a more "serious" Jar Jar could have been like. He has a fantastic design, he's not making an overly silly facial expression, and he comes with some of the weapons of the Gungan army. Interesting. Jar Jar Binks is part of The Black Series Phase IV and he's sold as a deluxe figure. His packaging is a bit wider and he typically costs around $10 dollars more than your average figure. Why's that? My guess is it's because he's a bit taller than your average figure and he has a few larger weapons that may not have fit in a standard Phase IV box. Whether you think he's worth being a deluxe figure or not  is definitely a mater of opinion but let's dive in and take a look at Jar Jar Binks after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 6 3/4ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed hips, ball jointed torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/ hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed neck, and a double ball jointed head.

Accessories: Vest, shield, 2 piece staff, and atlatl w/ booma

Non-Scalper Price: $30 dollars 

The Positives:
*  Thinking back to getting the original Jar Jar Binks figure the day after the original midnight Star Wars event (my parents didn't let me go for that one) I remember the figure looking quite impressive. It still holds up well although this new Black Series figure is even more impressive. Jar Jar's vest and waist robe are separate piece which gives his outfit a bit more depth to it. The proportions are excellent and Jar Jar has the long, lanky appearance that some fans loathe and others love. It's interesting that my daughter loves Jar Jar, so do many of my friends who are just a few years younger than me. Chuck Wendig's Aftermath: Empire's End shows a post ROTJ Jar Jar working as a street clown who the kids love and the adults detest. That's kind of a true to life assessment for Jar Jar, isn't it?

* The headsculpt is very accurate and looks amazing. If you look from the side you can see a bit of a smile but from most angles he looks rather serene and serious. The skin color is really nicely captured as are his eyes. Hasbro did a great job on the eyes.

* The pantwork does an excellent job of capturing the intricate patterns on Jar Jar's skin. His ears and his arms really show this off well.

* Jar Jar Binks has fantastic articulation, especially in his head and neck. A lot of Jar Jar's personality is visible through his head and neck movements and the articulation definitely allows you to recreate that here. Everything is very smooth and fluid, too.

* Jar Jar comes armed with quite a few Gungan weapons. First up is the throwing cesta, a spear like weapon used by the Gungan Grand Army. This is a very long accessory (it's taller than Jar Jar) and it comes in two pieces in the package. I've always loved the designs of the Gungan technology and weaponry and this one is simple but elegant. 

* Next up is an atlatl with a booma on the end. The booma are plasma based throwing weapons that the Gungans can hurl from the atlatl. Jar Jar and many other Gungans use these when fighting the Trade Federation Battle Droids as they're very effective against droids. The booma on the end is translucent but it's not removable from the atlatl. 

* Last up is the large Gungan personal energy shield. The energy effects of the Gungan weaponry created by the Otoh Gunga Defense League is really cool and this shield captures the watery, plasma based shield perfectly. 

The Negatives:

* It's kind of weird that Jar Jar's outfit is too different colors. The top of his outfit has a matte finish while the bottom is very glossy. This seems like Hasbro using two different plastic types that don't match up. 

* I'm a little disappointed that the booma doesn't detach from the atlatl. It would have been a really cool feature and added a bit more play value to the set.

   Jar Jar is a pretty good figure with nice accessories but he does have some weird quirks (the outfit colors not matching and the booma not being removable) along with the absurdity of not including a head with Jar Jar grinning or sticking out his tongue. Being a deluxe Jar Jar Binks, a character we're not likely to see another version of except for a repack on an anniversary card (which is apparently happening this year for Jar Jar) Jar Jar really needed that alternate head to capture the most memorable expression for the character. He's a Good and a 1/2 figure but he really could have been so much better, especially given the increased price.

 If you're craving more Jar Jar Binks, check out my review of the Jar Jar Binks Hero Mashers figure, the Micro Machines Royal Starship Repair set, and the Episode 1 Micro Machines Collection III set with a microfigure Jar Jar Binks.

1 comment:

  1. At this price point, a grinning tongue-out head and a thumbs up hand should definitely have been included.


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