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Elizabeth Swann

Pirates of the Caribbean
by Artemis

Is turning a live-action idea into animation a good idea or not? Star Trek became Star Trek: The Animated Series and sucked. The Star Wars prequels became Clone Wars, and, amazingly, didn't (at least, a lot of people claim the cartoon series was good, and I'll stand behind the CGI one, so that covers our bases). Farscape, already excellent, managed to get even better when John hallucinated himself and D'Argo into a Road Runner cartoon. But animated porn generally ditches consenting adults in favour of schoolgirls and tentacular critters of distressing character. Heads or tails, really.

Never fear when the swashbucklers from the Pirates of the Caribbean are near! Join forces with Jack and the rest of your favorite pirate characters as they battle to control the seven seas!

What, even the Caspian? I guess Jack must still have some of those ship-hauling crabs around, given that it's landlocked and all. That's dedication to your chosen profession. I'm not sure I'd agree with "Never fear," though - isn't the whole point of being a pirate that people do fear you? I mean, you're doing it wrong otherwise. Barbossa's certainly a stone cold killer, Davy Jones is a ruthless sonofabitch par excellence, Jack Sparrow may not be deliberately malevolent, but he's about as safe to be around as loose gunpowder, and even Elizabeth had her moments. I think the only one of them who wasn't at least a bit scary was Will - and that was just because he was Orlando Bloom, and it's difficult to be afraid of a guy who can't seem to stop being Legolas.

Anyway, Cartoon Lizzy. She and her fellow animated buccaneers are branded with the title "Dead Men Tell No Tales" - why? Who knows. I don't think there's an animated movie or anything of that ilk - at least, not that a quick Google could tell me - so maybe they just borrowed the phrase as a name for the figure line. Liz is 4½" tall - which probably means the guys are around 5", since it's a cartoon rule that girls are smaller - and garbed in her everyday pirate ensemble from Dead Man's Chest of a white shirt, brown pants, burgundy coat, and tricorn hat, which at least makes her look nice and businesslike (skipping the popular cartoon rule two: girls are useless). Simplicity is the rule of the day - her costume has only the minimal fabric contours you'd find on a regular animated character, and the paint is purely flat colours, with no fancy shading or highlights. Amusingly, regardless of being half her height, she's got slightly bigger breasts than the NECA DMC Elizabeth - so much so that she's got enough of a cleavage for the skin tone paint to pool in it due to poor coverage.

Her face is... well, you can tell it's Elizabeth because she's female and she's dressed like a pirate. Or perhaps she's Morgan Adams from Cutthroat Island, it's that vague. I have a soft spot for Cutthroat Island, so let's say someone somewhere thought it'd be worth having merchandise, and this is it, regardless of the hair being too light. Okay, so Morgan's face doesn't look anything much like Geena Davis - nor Keira Knightley, apropos of nothing - and if the sculptor had any real resemblance in mind, it's buried under the caricature mechanics of the animation style. One interesting feature is that she's absolutely without lipstick or lip colour of any kind - probably realistic, for a pirate (assuming you're going to ignore that even bare lips have a darker shade), but it's odd to see such a stylised figure do something out of the ordinary.

Morgan's got pretty simplistic articulation - well, I guess it may be a 1995 figure - with just a shallow balljoint neck, swivel/pin shoulders, swivel wrists, a swivel waist, and peg hips. The neck has almost no range, due to the hair bumping up against the shoulders in front and behind - it's loose too, so it's functionally useless as a posing joint. The right hip's kind of loose as well, making it a bit tricky to keep her standing unless her arms are at her sides, keeping the centre of gravity nice and even.

She's got three accessories, the most useful of which is that pirate favourite, a cutlass. It's cast in plain silver plastic, with a little ornamentation on the guard, and fits either into her hand (either) or through the loop on her bandolier, which leaves the oversized handle sticking out in front of her rather comically, but she's a cartoon figure so she can live with that. For ranged fighting she's got a flintlock musket with a bayonet - due to her generic hand sculpt she's incapable of holding it properly with a finger on the trigger (or even anywhere near the trigger), but that's not such a big deal, because her articulation doesn't allow her to hold the gun in any kind of realistic stance anyway. And even that's not too relevant, because if she's got it raised at all - just waving it about, more or less - she'll fall over.

Accessory number three is the obligatory Kids' Toy Action Feature, a giant spring-loaded crossbow with an equally gigantic flaming bolt. The nut (the bit that, on a real weapon, would hold the string back) is the trigger, and regardless of looking pretty junk, it at least has a decent kick to it when it's fired. Of course, Morgan's just as incapable of wielding it as she is the musket, so all in all you'd be best off just giving her the cutlass and letting her take her chances.

You can go a long way with cutesy cartoon versions - just look at Lego Star Wars (and Batman, Indiana Jones, et. al.), or any comic drawn by Amanda Conner, or those two W.I.T.C.H. dolls I have that I pretend are Willow and Tara (Will and Cornelia - c'mon, that's not a longshot). This figure just doesn't, though. It's not bad, although it scores poorly in several areas - overall, though, its failing is that it doesn't seem to be trying. Ho-hum sculpt (that actually adds little in the way of cuteness), negligible articulation, disposable accessories - there's just nothing really appealing about her.


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