PLANET OF THE APES (NECA)
Hey Ethan, what are you up to today? Oh, nothing much voice-in-my-head, just following up on an item I looked at 797 reviews ago, that’s all.
Yeah, you remember waaaaaay back in #0348 when I reviewed Cornelius from NECA’s Planet of the Apes line? Well, I really liked that figure. He was sort of lonely on the shelf, so today, I’ll be taking a look at his lovely wife, Zira. Okay, that actually really undersells Zira, since she’s probably the most important of the ape characters (in the first three movies, at least). She’s the first character to discover Astronaut George Taylor’s heightened intelligence, and she serves as an ally to both Taylor and his companion Nova for a large part of the first two films. And she’s also super cool, so there’s that! Also, fun fact: the role of Dr. Zira was originally offered to actress Ingred Bergman, who cited turning down the part as one of her biggest regrets. Now, onto the figure!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Zira was released in the second series of Planet of the Apes figures (the last series of the line to be released at retail, sadly). She was a pretty natural choice, especially since Cornelius had found his way into the first series, and it would be silly to have one of them without the other. The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Zira is based on her standard look from the first two movies, which is certainly good. Would have sucked is NECA had thrown us a curveball and given us Zira from Escape from the Planet of the Apes, now wouldn’t it? Zira’s got herself an all-new sculpt, which is pretty good, if perhaps just the slightest bit of a letdown. See, NECA’s Cornelius is a pretty strong sculpt. And Zira’s pretty good too, but I’m just not sure she’s quite at the same level. I think a lot of it’s the head. It’s not awful, but it’s a little large, and the hair is really solid, almost as if there’s no real weight to it. At the very least, it should come down a little further, rather than just abruptly ending in the back. Also, while Cornelius’s actor Roddy McDowell is very evident in his figure’s sculpt, I’m not seeing Kim Hunter in Zira’s sculpt. It’s still pretty clearly a Planet of the Apes Ape, but it’s slightly on the generic side. The body is a bit better. It matches pretty well with Cornelius stylistically and does a pretty good job of capturing Zira’s costume from the films. Her skirt is actual cloth, which can always be an iffy venture, but NECA remembered the one key rule of real cloth on figures that Hasbro keeps forgetting: don’t phone it in. The cloth is of a decent quality and they’ve done such crazy things as actually fitting it to the figure and, get this, hemming the bottom. I know, that’s out there, right? Seriously, though, it’s nice that they actually put in the effort, and the figure is better for it. Zira’s paintwork is alright, though not quite as sharp as some other NECA product. The head seems the get the worst of it. It’s mostly the eyes, which just feel sort of lifeless. It’s out of place for me to say that for a NECA figure, which is why it stood out so much for me here. Apart from that, the work isn’t awful. It’s all pretty clean, and once again she matches up with Cornelius, which is certainly appreciated. Zira includes three accessories: a photo of her and Cornelius, Taylor’s “MY NAME IS TAYLOR” note to her, and the paper airplane that Taylor makes for her and Cornelius. All of these are just made from paper/cardboard, but they’re really fun little extras.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I meant to buy Zira when she was first released. I really did. I even saw her a few times and almost bought her. But there was just something ever so slightly off that always held me back. Ultimately, I ended up finding her at Suncoast (one of the last seven in the country!) marked down to like $8, which was enough to push me into buying her. Zira’s not as strong a figure as Cornelius, but I’m still glad to have her. She’s one of my favorite characters from the movies, and it’s just not right having only one half of my favorite ape couple. It’s just too bad this line didn’t last very long.