The much-anticipated sequel to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, entitled PotC: Dead Man's Chest, is getting a lot more action figure attention than its predecessor. While the original had a fine line of figures devoted to it, they were released a good while after the movie hit theaters. Dead Man's Chest, meanwhile, is getting two separate lines from two different companies, and both have hit shelves well before the movie is scheduled to hit theaters.
Zizzle is providing the mass-market line, which consists of 7" figures, 3" figures, 12" figures, playsets and all manner of other crap. It's currently selling well at places like Wal*Mart, Target and Toys R Us. For the specialty market (i.e., us collectors) the line is being handled by the same company that gave us figures from the first movie: good ol' NECA. While the Zizzle figures aren't bad for what they are, they are clearly kid-oriented. For the real detail, you go to the NECA line.
Hot on the heels of their third series of Black Pearl figures comes the first series of figures from Dead Man's Chest. The line consists of Jack Sparrow (using pretty much the same ol' Jack sculpt we've seen over and over again with minor changes), Will Turner (who gets a new sculpt every time since NECA can never seem to peg Orlando Bloom's likeness), new villain Davy Jones, and apparent Jones henchman Maccus.
The last two are clearly the most interesting of the lot; particularly Maccus, with his very distinctively shaped head. Since the figures have arrived before the movie, there's not much that can be said about Maccus, except that he follows an apparent trend in this movie of characters who seem to be amalgamations of "all manner of sea creatures," to paraphrase Mr. Gibbs. Maccus is seen quite a few times in the trailer for DMC, and you can't miss him due to his wicked, hammerhead shark-inspired cranial design.
Maccus hasn't been featured (so far) in Zizzle's line of PotC figures, so NECA's figure is the only way to go. And they did a fine job on him. His sculpt is extremely detailed and covered head to toe in barnacles, coral, seashells and the like, with lobster legs protruding from his spine and forearms. There are two starfish on his torso, and his hands and forearms are encased in lobster-shell gauntlets. There's some great detail all over this guy.
Unfortunately, the one area where the sculpt slips is the most important: his hammerhead. It doesn't look bad on its own, but it's woefully off-model compared to the Maccus seen in the trailers. The movie Maccus's head seems much flatter, more streamlined, and generally geared more toward the shark end of the spectrum.
NECA's figure has a blunter, thicker head that definitely leans more toward the human side of things. Basically, in the trailer we see what looks like a hammerhead shark's head with a human face on the bottom, whereas the figure represents a human head with hammerhead shark eyes sticking out of the side. Make sense? While it doesn't hurt the overall look of the figure itself, it's definitely not as movie-accurate as I would have preferred, particularly with such an interesting character design.
Paint is good, although from far away the figure can look a little dull. However, Spawn: Regenerated Series 2 this ain't, by which I mean to say there's a lot more than brown and gray upon closer inspection. Each different type of organic element gets a unique paint app, and the human face is particularly well represented. Having said that, Maccus's tattered clothing doesn't look different enough from the skin, especially thanks to the glossiness of the plastic, although the paint doesn't help.
In typical NECA fashion, Maccus has some decent movement above the waist, but pretty much nothing below. His head is balljointed, although sadly he does not have enough range of motion in his neck to tilt the head completely forward as we see in the trailer when he rises from the ocean. He also has balljointed shoulders, although again the range of motion is somewhat limited. Peg wrists and waist complete the equation. While it really isn't much, the head and shoulders elevate this figure above the level of cheap statue, and some decent variation in posing is possible.
Maccus comes equipped with a crusty, rusty axe and a three-part base. The axe fits nicely in his closed right hand, and the base is full of cool detail.
It's a section of flooring from Davy Jones's ship, the infamous Flying Dutchman, and features a nice warped section of railing that plugs into one edge. Maccus stands fine without the base, but he also fits securely in the two footpegs provided on the platform. The last section of base is a small staircase that's actually meant to be placed in front of Davy's base. As with the last two series of PotC figures, the bases in DMC Series 1 and 2 connect to form a jungle beach scene and a deck scene. The package insert features a map that details how the bases from both series co-mingle and connect.
Maccus is a nicely detailed, well-done figure of a very unique design. I would have liked for his head to be more like the one seen in the trailers, but it's not a figure-ruiner. Despite the constant re-use of Jack Sparrow (hey, it's a great sculpt, after all) and the lack of a good Will Turner (who really cares about his character anyway [besides teenage girls]?), the PotC line is a shining example of NECA at its best. The sculpts have been great, as has the paint, and the connecting bases make for a great display. They even managed not to ruin the line's only female figure. Maccus is a worthy addition, and I only hope the movie is as good as this first series of figures.
How is it that Zizzle gets more detail into their 3" figures than their 7" ones? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.