There is no Dana — only ZUUL! Actually, there almost was no Zuul, either, in the Mattel Ghostbusters line. However, Mattel has been able to take the Zuul figure (originally shown at SDCC 2011 and intended for the 2012 GB sub that never happened) and make her the Ghostbusters exclusive at Comic Con next month. Finally, you have your Gatekeeper to go with your Key Master. The future of the GB line is currently unknown, but hopefully we will get some news in a few weeks at the show. If you are going, you can pick up Dana Barrett’s alter ego for $25.00, and I am going to keep my fingers crossed for news concerning characters like Janine, Gozer, Tony Scolari, and Janosz.
As you probably know by now, the Zuul figure is actually more akin to a complimentary “staction” than an actual action figure. Aside from a neck and waist twist (with the latter being the change point for the swappable legs), Zuuly here does not have any of the articulation you might know from the Ghostbusters line. She is, of course, a completely new and 100% uniquely-tooled figure so I would place all my bets on the fact that the articulation was sacrificed due to all of the budget going to getting the basic molds cut. I am a fan of articulation. I mean, I am not one of those folks that want it everywhere to the point of it being ridiculous, but I like my figures to be able move. So while I understand the give and take with this hobby, I am still sad that Zuul can really only be displayed in one of two set poses.
This is accomplished by the inclusion of two different sets of legs that can be swapped out at the waist. The first set is for standing her in her “entranced” walking pose, and the second is for sexy Sumerian sitting upon the included bench/alter. The standing legs are fine and she can balance fairly well, but that cannot be enhanced due to the lack of leg articulation. However, I MUCH prefer the sitting pose and I will be displaying her that way. The positioning of her arms and legs fit the bench perfectly, and I am sure you recognize the shot from the movie from where the reference for the pose it taken. I think that since the articulation was cut from the figure, the design team did a good job in giving us two of Zuul’s more iconic poses and she can now sit with her long-awaited Key Master in your display.
Even with the lack of articulation (which I think a lot of fans have come to grips with at this point), I am willing to bet that the facial likeness to Sigourney Weaver is probably going to be the hottest topic of discussion with this figure. I think the GB line overall has been hit and miss with some of the character likenesses – Egon, Peter, and Winston are the best for my eye, while Ray is kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum. I am going to guess that the facial likeness to Ms. Weaver is going to fall closer to the “Ray” category than the “Winston” for most folks, though. I don’t think it is unrecognizable, but the sculpt we saw in San Diego last year was sharper, and I mean that literally — I think some of the details in the final mold were softened-up a bit. That is not to say that a lot of the sculpt isn’t there still: the eye position, mouth expression, and high cheekbones do ring true of the hard-to-capture Sigourney Weaver, but the softer edges don’t highlight her strong features as well; the face in the figure looks more rounded than the real life version. Plus, the paint detailing in the flesh tone is flat so the cheeks are lost a bit in the sculpt since they are not highlighted. The paint in the eyes is good, though, and they do have the “slightly crazy,” possessed look to them.
The rest of the figure is pretty solid in terms of sculpt and paint. Dana changes into a weird shimmery dress when she is possessed by Zuul, so I was wondering if they would be able to capture the look of it. As it turns out, it is probably my favorite part of the figure and I think it looks very much like the movie costume. Since the body sculpt is kind of lost in the loose outfit, there isn’t much to comment on with the upper body. The arms are down to her side so she can grip the bench, so they look more natural in the sitting position than the standing. Although, I do remember her arms being straight down and to her side as she walked while possessed by Zuul. The sculpt did nail Sigourney Weaver’s nice gams, though, and the figure (again especially the seated portion) has nice legs.
I am not really sure what to expect from the GB line at SDCC. I know we are due at least one more figure before the end of the year, but after that, it is anyone’s guess. Just as pure speculation, I have a feeling that things will be sparse until another movie actually hits production (if that ever happens, Mr. Murray), and I am sure the plans for such were a big part of why Mattel pursued the license in the first place. I do appreciate the fact that we were able to get a figure of this crucial character, even if it is more statuesque than anything. The likeness will be up for discussion and debate, I am sure, but I think that a lot of GB collectors will grab the figure since she is so important. I am going to continue to hope that we can still get characters like Gozer and Janine, but we will just have to wait and see. As it stands, if I had to pick between those two and Dana/Zuul, I would pick the latter every time, even though I still really, REALLY want a Gozer. Here’s hoping for good times in the future for us Ghostbusters fans!
*Thanks for reading and thanks to GB team at Mattel for sending along she that sleeps four feet above her covers for a First Look. We still have more to bring you!