Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Jurassic World 2 and the return of Kenner Style

Hello and welcome to inaccurate dinosaur theater! Did you grow up with movie-monster style dinos and Kenner's Jurassic Park toyline? Do you scoff at new discoveries in feathered dinosaurs? Then this series is for you! Oh, also if you like fun toys. That's a must.

Seriously though: We're not gona talk about current dino discoveries here. This is pure Nostalgia Country with a stopover in Now Town to gas up on what's goin' on today. Jurassic World 2 is coming, and while I'm gona see it and I'm sure it'll be fun, the real excitement are these toys.

Mattel took the reigns for this movie's toyline, and they channeled their inner Kenner to bring back a classic 90's feel. Not only are there battle damaged dinos, action features, and multiple scales of figures, but they added a bit more articulation to each figure to bring the same 90's ideas into our new high speed world of super articulation. Not too much, though! Just enough.

To begin, I bring you the battle damage raptor, Blue, from the first Jurassic World movie. This was one of the trained raptors that were just straight-up the classic featherless raptors from the original Jurassic Park. In the movie, they cleverly make a slight mention of the fact that these are essentially monsters they created based on what dino DNA they could salvage, acknowledging that these are humanity's own creation, rather than a perfect recreation of the original dinosaur from the past.

Blue's sculpting is fantastic, and perfectly captures the classic Jurassic Park raptor design. The articulation isn't super, but it's just enough to have fun with while making a sturdy toy a kid can mess around with.

The hips move forward and back with a tiny bit of side-to-side movement, the shoulders are on disc-hinge joints, and the neck is on the same kind of disc-hinge, allowing him to look side to side and up and down. The best part is that the jaw can open! It's on a hinge that mimics the Schleich dinosaurs (static dino figures with mouths that open). The teeth lock into each other and keep the mouth closed. It has a great range, too! Anywhere from only a little bit of teeth visible to full-on Clever Girl attack from the bushes.

Also you can do that. If you want.

The battle damage action is super easy to use! You just push it like the old Battle Armor He-Man chest and the "flesh door" will flip down to reveal the red raw flesh meats. There's a little tab on the top so you can pull it back up into place, where it automatically locks.

Needless to say: I LOVE IT. Great feature, and it's not just the focus! You still get an awesome raptor toy that you can pose around. This is one of the few times where I feel like you get a better toy with the action-feature subset rather than the basic figures.

The battle damage figures run you ten bucks, which is a steal for what you're getting. Much of this series is surprisingly cheap!

Oh, did you notice the Chris Pratt? Yeah, let's take a look at one of our humans. "Owen", as he is called, but...well I'm probably just gona call him Chris Pratt.

The human figures clock in at a true 3 3/4 scale, which makes them a tiny bit smaller than new style G.I. Joes, and yet still seemingly smaller than classic G.I. Joes (though I think it's just the smaller proportions of these Jurassic World figures that makes them seem smaller than a vintage Joe).

Chris Pratt, surprisingly enough, actually looks like Chris Pratt! At this scale, I'm impressed! The eye paint isn't perfect, but it's far from anything I would call "bad."

The articulation isn't too bad either! disc-hinge hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, and a ball jointed neck. The only thing he could use are wrist swivels, 'cause it looks like some other figures come with guns, and without the wrist movement, they can't really get a two-handed grip. Still, it's a small gripe compared to the quality you're getting for 7.99.

This version of Chris Pratt comes with good old fashioned removable body armor: chest armor and two arm guards, and then the thing that drew me to the figure...a translucent bite shield with the Jurassic World logo on it. It's supposed to be held in his hands, but you can also shove the center of it on his arm so he can kinda hold it long ways.

I had bought this Chris Pratt first, and he impressed me so much that I went back and got the rest of the figures in this review.

Next one up is the Dilophosaurus! Also known as a Spitter (which I will be calling him from here on out, so I don't have to type dilophosaurus anymore).

You may know it as "that dinosaur that killed the guy from Seinfeld", or "the part in the book with the terrifying description of what it's like to be blinded and find out that the slimy feeling on your belly is actually your intestines falling out." Maybe that's just me. Jurassic Park was my first "grown-up book", so there's a lot of parts that stuck with me at a time where I maaaayyybe shouldn't have been reading it.

The Spitter has some awkward hinges on the side of his head for his "frill out or frill folded" action. Personally I would have liked a little button that popped the frill out, but the basic 7.99 dinos are a bit simpler with just articulation and no action features. The Spitter is on the lower side, with hinged hips, shoulders, and the hinges on the frill. It also comes with a spray of venom you can shove in the hole in his mouth and----WAIT THERE'S A HOLE IN HIS MOUTH?! WHERE'S MY OTHER ACCESSORIES HANG ON----

Ahhhhh, there we go. Sometimes you have to drop everything and take a picture, and that's just what I did when I first opened the Spitter. They breath fire now. It's a thing. I'm not alone in this, and I have proof:

This is a picture sent to me by Bazooka Shark 517 on instagram, after I posted the photo of the Fire Spitter. I remarked how that makes an awesome album cover, so he responded with making an album cover:

The album "Fiery Meteors in Miami" by Hawtsaurus

The band shall be called Hawtsaurus and the concert tour dates will be posted soon. Thank you Bazooka Shark, you're THE BEST.

Okay I think there was a toy review going on here somewhere...

There it is!

The Spitter could do with a different frill mechanism, but I still love the thing. I can already hear the Sega game Spitter's crazy garbled scream just from lookin' at this toy.

Let's switch back to the human side, with a totally Kenner-style unnamed mercenary dude, built specifically for your dino toys to chomp on. Every good Jurassic Park style toyline needs some randos to get eaten, and you don't get any more rando than this guy.

Mr. Sunglasses comes with a big 'ol cattle prod with some electricity coming off the end in a sort of "claw", so you can wrap it around dino necks. The man himself is...well, he's a mercenary! He's wearing military gear, he's got a pistol (non-removable) strapped to his leg, and chubby cheeks for slappin'...I dunno. How would you describe that face? About-to-be-eaten?

He also comes with a little rubber Dimorphodon, in the "keshi" style, or like a MUSCLE figure.

It's smaller than the regular Dimorphodon, and a totally different color, but I don't mind. It's neat to get little keshi dinos, honestly!

This mercenary, for some reason, really brings home the "Kenner" feel. He just feels so classically generic. and I love it. I love his "I'ma hurt some dinosaurs" look, his giant cattle prod, and old school 90's idea that the highly trained military dudes always get eaten first because they don't have names and that's just how it goes.

And now for my personal favorite: The Dimorphodon! He's just plain articulated goodness. No action features, just a moveable flying dino!

...in the snow. A moveable flying dino in the snow.

There's snow in the background now, because I took these photos on two different days, and I mistakenly trusted Michigan not to snow in the spring.


I remembered the dimorphodon from the first Jurassic World, at the end, when the flying dinos came in and started terrorizing the crowd (and terrorizing my thoughts when the fliers picked up that lady and tortured her for a bit before she got eaten by the mosasaur). I immediately loved the flying-dino-with-normal-dino-head look they had going on. This captures the look perfectly!

The neck is on a disc-hinge joint, so he can look up and down (for perching or flying) and the shoulders also sport disc-hinges for various flying and attacking poses. The hips are just on swivels, but that's all he needs. Finally: Another articulated jaw! I'm seeing a lot of these in this line, and it makes me very happy. It works just as well as the bigger battle damage Blue, and adds a lot of character to the little demon.

This one is my favorite because he does everything you need, while still being a sturdy little toy. I feel like every little movement is something new with this guy! He looks vicious, dour, scheming, and a little bit like a Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. This is definitely one to get, if you get nothing else.

...my boy really liked the dimorphodon as well, and I had to keep going back and giving it to him when I was done taking a picture.

I thought I would like this toyline, but I didn't think I would love it. Right from the start, with only one of the human characters, I was hooked. Once I got some dinos, I was pulled out of the water and tossed in Mattel's cooler. I'm very impressed with what they've been able to do here, especially with such decent prices! They look good, feel good, and parents who were fans of Jurassic Park can get down on the floor with their kids and play with the same toys that'll be familiar to both sides! Even more so, when you see the classic Jurassic Park characters like Grant and Ellie (you can guarantee another review once I find those!).

That Kenner feel, though! Maybe I'm pushing that idea a little too much, but I think you'll agree, once you get these in hand. Something about this toyline feels so classic Kenner, when they had the Jurassic Park license. I mean, the toys have more articulation, the faces are more accurate, but the spirit is still there, right down to little Jurassic Park symbols on the dinos. Affordable little toys, but with even better style and design than the originals. I would absolutely LOVE it if Mattel decided to repaint some of these figures in the classic Kenner style, like a brown raptor.

Bottom line: Go relive that Jurassic Park excitement! The toys are just spectacular. Get 'em while you can, before the movie hype dies out!


  1. thanks man, love your posts. YOU ROCK!

    1. Thanks man! I only started actually rocking since you drew me a freakin' fire breathing dilophosaurus wailing on a guitar amidst T-rex skulls and lightning!

  2. You know what they say about Raptor-Girls with big feet...

    1. The claws are bigger and therefore able to eviscerate you more efficiently?

  3. The dinosaurs look great. The humans look ok, too, but I wish they were actually in scale with the Kenner figures like JP and Aliens. They are a bit smaller, right? The Kenner figures were what; 4 1/2 inches or so? I'm definitely nostalgic for that style and scale having grown up with those figures.

    1. Yeah, from what I've seen on other reviews, these are smaller than the Kenner stuff. I hear you there, but looking at this toyline, I think they had a clear scale in mind and wanted them small enough so that the dinos could also be a good size to fit into a certain price point. Just a guess, anyway. It all seems pretty well planned out!

  4. After telling myself I don't need them, this review certainly didn't help. I can't belive after watching Infinity War, the toys I want are Dinosaurs!