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NECA: Reel Toys Alien 40th Anniversary Ultimate Parker and Brett Review

I have to admit, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was probably never going to be able to complete the full crew of the doomed ship USCSS Nostromo in the NECA Reel Toys line. Sure, we got the most important member in Ripley a few years ago, and Captain Dallas, and Lambert made for some nice additions as well, but I had given up hope for Ash, Kane, Parker, and Brett some time ago. Well, fast forward to the movie’s 40th Anniversary celebration, and we are actually on the cusp of making the crew a reality. With the currently-shipping second series, Parker and Brett are finally joining up!

These poor unfortunate souls. I get it, everyone on the crew was okay with breaking quarantine by not listening to Ripley (and being manipulated by Ash), but no one deserved to die like they did. Oh, sorry, 40 year-old spoilers, I guess. Maybe it has always been more about memorializing these characters via plastic representation in the collection, but honestly, the movie does such a good job of portraying fleeting character moments for the entire crew, it seems like you get to know them better than the time would allow, and that makes the demise of each even more difficult. Parker and Brett were the “everyman” characters, too – not captains, not scientists, it was “just their job five days a week” so they both had an extra layer of reliability. Plus, again, the portrayals were so strong, and Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton put a lot of believability into those guys; Stanton’s quiet approach to Brett is especially under-appreciated, and his (and Lambert’s) encounter with the actual Alien is probably the most accurate human response.

As these guys were not a part of the “away” mission in the movie that required the compression suits, it was logical that they be portrayed in normal ship wear, and like the rest, I prefer the non-uniformity of the looks. Sure, most everyone wore the same style of trousers (save for Ripley), but I like how there was more of a personal touch to these get-ups that told a lot about the characters. Again, (Sam) Brett and (Dennis) Parker were the blue collar guys, and their clothes help convey that with the headband, hat, and Hawaiian shirt, all of which have been accurately depicted in these figures. These guys, of course, fit in great with the figures that are already in the line, and I cannot wait to make them a part of the whole team later this year.

Parker always seemed like the biggest and most physical member of the crew, and that is a reason why his friendship with the demure Brett was interesting from the start. So, this figure is the tallest of the set (save for the obvious BIG Chap), and that works well. I like that, even in their compression suits, Dallas and Lambert are noticeably shorter than Parker. The likeness is good here, though not as strong as the Stanton, and both of these figures successfully employ the face printing technology that NECA and other companies are utilizing these days. It would not be Parker without his trademark headband, and while he comes with a couple of different accessories, he is very much in charge wielding the flamethrower, so that is what he is going to keep with on the shelf.

If you are familiar with this line, or most Ultimate versions in the Reel Toys line, you probably have a good idea of the construction of this figure. All of the materials are nice here, and I think that is something NECA is getting better with as nothing seems brittle or particularly fragile in the composition. The articulation functions well, too – I mean, these are not meant to be Marvel Legends, but Parker is capable of most appropriate poses you want to achieve. He has a swappable hand to help hold the flame thrower appropriately, but I wish that he had another left hand with a tighter grip for the other accessory as well. It is not a big deal though as you can get him to hold both the box and longer “probe” after a bit of finagling. 

Personally, I think Brett is the real winner in this set because his outfit just lends itself to a a more interesting look. He is by far the most haphazard of the crew when it comes to looks, and his outfit is a mishmash of crew-issued uniform, logo apparel, and well, a Hawaiian shirt. The latter of which is such a contrast to the heavy, dark, and claustrophobic environment of the movie, and it makes for an interesting action figure. The printing is rendered well here, and that follows the patches on the jacket, and hat, too. I am pretty amazed how clean and accurate the tiny Nostromo logos are, and that is, I am sure, another credit to new modern deco techniques. The hat and leather jacket (again, emblazoned with the Nostromo name) are very real-worldly as they could just as easily be paraphernalia from a war ship or the like. The transition from the hat, shirts, and jacket of the upper body hits a stark contrast when you get to the plain blue crew trousers, but that encapsulates Brett well, I think.

The likeness to Harry Dean Stanton is probably the stronger of the two as well, but I am kind of torn here. Yes, it is great, and there is no mistaking Brett here, so kudos to the production team, but damn, man – that expression. I mean, it is pretty much perfect, but they captured Brett right as he was staring up into the face of the Alien, likely at the moment he was probably sure we was about to die. I look at this figure and get a sad face because the gruesome egg cocoon metamorphosis that awaits him is just terrifying. Like I said, the understated portrayal by Stanton is very memorable to me, and this figure just nails it with the hauntingly scared “oh F*&K” look. 

Man, am I glad to add Parker and Brett to my relatively compact (but AWESOME) Alien display. These guys are shipping as a part of the second series in the 40th Anniversary line, and it is exclusive to specialty shops, and your favorite online retailers. There is a bloody variation of the Big Chap Xenomorph accompanying Parker and Brett, and since I have not spotted him yet, I will be keeping an eye out, you should, too. The line will culminate with series three later this fall, and will feature another Big Chap, but also Kane and Ash, who are both making their likeness debuts in the NECA line; that series will be exclusive to Wal-Mart. 

Like I said, it is pretty incredible to have the entire crew of the doomed USCSS Nostromo in this line, but hope NECA is not done yet – we still DESPERATELY need Dallas, Kane, and Lambert in their crew jumpsuits to bring it all together. C’mon NECA – don’t make us scream, you can’t hear it in space anyway.