Let's start 2014 off right, by reviewing the star of the biggest movie in the world right now!
Bilbo Baggins is the oldest of all the Hobbits.
He has benefitted from the life-extending powers of the Ring, all the while taking the risk that it could ultimately claim his soul. Trusting Gandalf's counsel, Bilbo gives up the Ring and goes to Rivendell to enjoy his retirement. There, beneath the trees and in the company of his Elvish friends, Bilbo at last begins to feel the touch of time. As the long years of his life carve their lines slowly upon his features, the old Hobbit's only care is for the safe return of his beloved cousin Frodo.
Wait a minute, something seems wrong here... oh, I know what the problem is! It's the likeness! This thing doesn't look like Martin Freeman at all!
It's more like, I don't know, the guy who played Father Cornelius in The Fifth Element, but if he was under the effects of really mediocre "young age" makeup. Weird. If they wanted to do that, it's not like they couldn't just look at Ash the android in Alien to see what he should have looked like in the past. The prototype was better.
Also, what's up with these clothes? This
isn't what Bilbo was wearing when he played a game of riddles in the dark. In The Hobbit, he was wearing a reddish brown coat with a green vest, smooth pants, and had a scarf around his neck; this figure is wearing a grey coat with a red vest, corduroy pants, and has no scarf. Man, that's the type of thing you should really go complain about on the internet, if you're lonely and no one will ever love you! It's almost like this figure represents a hazy memory six decades after the fact, rather than a strict representation of historical fact. What kind of madness is that?! The really crazy thing is that the vast majority of this figure is the same mold as the Pippin figure ToyBiz released for The Two Towers - the only differences are the head, coat, and the left hand.
Yes, the left hand. Although the underlying sculpt is the same as Pippin's, there's one important difference. Since this figure is all about the scene where Bilbo (spoilers) gets the ring, he's got a ring. It's permanently molded as part of his hand, perhaps showing the way bearers of the ring don't want to give it up, and perhaps just a way to include it without making a tiny, loose accessory that we'd lose in 10 minutes.
Bilbo has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel wrists, swivel waist, T-crotch, hinged knees, and swivel ankles. That may not sound
like much, but it could be worse - the first time ToyBiz released a Pippin figure, it didn't have any knees. He also has an action feature: press the button on his back, and he swings his right arm slightly. He includes his sword Sting, which has a truly lovely sculpt, and a sheath to store it in on his left leg (it's a separate piece, it just plugs right in to the front of his pants).
Okay, all joking aside, it was pretty exciting when ToyBiz released this figure as part of the Return of the King line. Sure, the prologue he's taken from was actually at the start of Fellowship of the Ring, and there is a better "young Bilbo" figure available now (thanks to Bridge Direct), but at the time, this was the only one available, and it was easy to overlook his flaws.