Editor's note: Hi. Just a brief editorial note before we begin. To get the full effect of this review, load this video in another window and let it play in the background while you read.
ThinkGeek is a geek-oriented novelty product store famous for its awesome April Fools' pranks, which typically feature
awesome but non-existent products. Often, if the fake product proves popular enough, they'll actually produce it. The best known is probably the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, but in April 2010 they had a product page for an "action figure" of the iconic black monolith from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Given the incredible ease of producing a big block of black plastic, they went ahead and made it anyway.
You can order it off ThinkGeek's website, from Amazon, and it's also been popping up at pop culture stores like Newbury Comics.
I'm not going to open this thing. Once I do, I have a big block of black plastic, so this is the incredibly rare toy that I will keep MOC. That said, ThinkGeek - who usually do a pretty good job with this sort of thing - should have thought ahead and made this "collector friendly" packaging; ie, made it easy to remove and replace the Monolith. But the packaging itself is great. The little blurbs like "It's full of stars!" are funny, as is the text on the back:
2010 - The year toys make contact.
Deep in the heart of Aisle 7 (the action figure aisle), all throughout the 70's, 80's, and 90's [sic], something waited. No one
knew it was there, until toy stores began their turn of the century renovations. Then the Monolith Action Figure was discovered (the first given the name "TMA-1"). What was it for? Where did it come from? Why wouldn't its barcode scan? No one knew. And no one knows to this day.
We here at ThinkGeek have some theories, however. We think the Monolith Action Figures were left by some ancient, extra-galactic, action figure intelligence. We believe, based on our tests (including pH, electromagnetic, and taste) these Monolith Action Figures will eventually cause other action figures to evolve. We're not sure if that means gaining better accessories and articulation, or becoming sentient. Either one is cool in our book. The Monolith Action Figure looks great on your desk, wall, or shelf, and will definitely be the most talked about toy in your collection.
I do love the notion of the block causing your other figures
to evolve into something better. Those knowing references suggest whoever wrote the packaging copy is a collector himself. But without the packaging, this thing's novelty value plummets, because it's a big black plastic block.
Plastic quality? It's a big black plastic block.
Paint? It's a big black plastic block.
Articulation? It's a big black plastic block.
Accessories? It's a big black plastic block! How many times must we tell you?!
The Monolith in the film appeared to stand approximately 11' tall. Since this version is 6¾" tall, that means it's roughly in scale with 1:18 toys - so, you know, Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel Universe, etc. Of course, the Star Child revealed that the Monolith is actually only one size: "as large as necessary."
The Monolith Action Figure is a neat gag toy. It seems a bit overpriced, but that's probably to be expected with a novelty item like this - most of ThinkGeek's April Fools' items tend to be expensive.
I'm planning to hang it on the wall.
(And yes, I totally cheated on this review. It got late and I just didn't feel like putting together a real one.)