Life In Plastic: Toy Review: Creature from the Black Lagoon (Mezco)

Creature-Lagoon

One way in which I agree with Michael W. Crawford is that the Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of the best, most convincingly-realistic movie monsters out there. Confession time: I was totally obsessed with this monster when I was a little kid, and even now one of my toy display shelves is the “Fishman Shelf.” Three guesses what’s on there.

Creature-HandsUp

In a crazy toy market, Mezco has outlasted McFarlane’s heyday, companies like SOTA, and so many others. They just continue to quietly trudge in the background, producing new stuff. over time, they’ve sort of developed a “Mezco Style” – a specific type of caricature that you can spot from a mile away. And since they have the Universal Monsters license, they’ve started Mezco-izing them! When I saw the Creature from the Black Lagoon, I just had to snag one!

Creature-Woman

You know, looking at it now, the movie is a little clunky – especially how it starts out with “In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth,” but then five minutes later switches to “This creature is the missing link in evolution between fish and man!”  But if you can ignore the clumsy attempts to have their cake and eat it to, you do have a really solid monster with an inexplicable attraction to human females.  And the figure?  Well hey, let’s have a look!

Creature-PackagedPACKAGING: ***

The figure is big, and so is the packaging! The Creature is stored in a big black window box that takes things entirely too seriously, but looks cool. Aside from that, though, the figure is held inside by a lot of twisty-ties – expect to take some time untying or clipping them if you try to own this.

Creature-BlackLagoon

SCULPT: ****

The best thing about this guy is the sculpt! First off, the Creature is HUGE. He’s about a foot tall, and it’s not something that you realize until you see him up close. He’s heavy, too – this toy feels like it’s made of solid plastic, and has enough heft to use as a weapon.

Creature-Back

He’s also really detailed – despite the cartoon proportions, they really took the time to sculpt every little scale, ridge, wrinkle, and gill. The figure’s proportions are off – he has a large head and long arms – but all the parts look good. The palms of his hands even have those little suckers he had in the film!

Creature-Side

As far as the “Mezco-izing” goes, I think it works.  He’s not entirely super-deformed, but he’s pretty top-heavy, and like something from a cartoon.

Creature-Face

PAINT: ***

The paint is detailed enough that it actually clashes a little with his cartoony proportions! he’s got a few shades of green, with a couple of different washes highlighting a few details and setting off his gills. The Creature’s fins and nails share the same yellowish bony color, which is almost a little odd, but overall it’s pretty good. The eyes are particularly nice, with a few different colors thrown in, and the same can be said for his red mouth!

Creature-Creep

But honestly, I have to point out that most of the paint is too thick and gloopy. It obscures a lot of that fantastic detail I pointed out earlier. It’s really obvious along the body, where his scales just kind of turn into lumps. It detracts from the figure, which is kind of sad.

Creature-Zombie

ARTICULATION: *

Now, this is a problem. In principle, I have no problem with action figures that don’t move much, if the sculpt and pose are good enough. McFarlane managed it pretty well a few times, and pretty poorly some other times. But the issue is how well it plays – can the figure stand the way that it’s posed?

Creature-Reach

The Creature from the Black Lagoon has a ball-jointed head, torso, and ankles, ball-and-socket shoulders, swivel elbows, and swivel wrists. Did you notice what’s missing? The Creature’s legs are totally immobile – hips, thighs, knees, and shins… but he has ball-jointed ankles. This is a problem. See, he’s very tall and very top-heavy, and with no way to reposition his legs, you have to rely on the Creature’s center of gravity – as his weight shifts, he will tilt on those ankles, overbalance, and fall. if his hands are even remotely in front of his body, down he goes! You are really, really going to get tired of that. I had to lean him backwards on my fishman shelf, or risk causing a domino effect!

Creature-Faceplant

The arm articulation is a little awkward, but passable. The arms are clearly meant to be at specific angles, because once you turn them, the fins no longer line up and things seem odd. It’s passable, sure, but… not really. And if you put him at the “right” angle with his arms in front of his body, well… down he goes!

Creature-Tall

Oh yeah, and the head ball joint is pretty restricted, practically just a swivel. Fun times!

Creature-Stick

ACCESSORIES: N/A

The Creature from the Black Lagoon comes with nothing. Not a base, a stick, a woman to carry, a fish… nuthin’.

Creature-Creature

VALUE: **

This figure costs $30. while that is equal to a He-Man figure half its size, it just… doesn’t feel right. If this were a $20 figure, it wouldn’t sting as much, but this guy can’t even stand for long on his own!

Creature-Atlantis

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Just like I said… he doesn’t stand up. Other than that, just compare the paint on the shelf.

Creature-Heirophant

WHERE TO BUY:

Toys R Us stocks these dudes, though you can always try eBay or Amazon. There are a few convention exclusive repaints, too, but they cost almost twice as much.

Creature-MerMan

OVERALL: **

Ugh. A great, creative sculpt and good paint are utterly ruined by terrible articulation. It really breaks this figure to the point that I can’t really recommend him.  He’s huge and bulky, out of scale with everything, and falls over without any provocation!

Creature-SeaCreature

If you’re a huge Creature from the Black Lagoon fan, then sure, you might like it (especially because of the creative sculpt), but Mezco can do so much better than this.

Creature-Predator

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