Retro Toy Review: Movie Star Michaelangelo UPDATED with Photoshopped Pics!
The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm not sure if I would say it's a particularly amazing movie from any qualitative standpoint, but it's a reflection of a period of my life in which I was happily entrapped by the TMNT phenomenon. At the time, I especially appreciated the movie because it was based on my beloved Mirage comics, which were usually overshadowed by the omnipresent cartoon. So with my TMNT obsession rekindled by collecting the vintage Playmates line, the Movie Star Turtles (action figures based on the Turtle designs from the movies, of course) seemed right up my alley. Let's check out Movie Star Michaelangelo!
Year Stamped: 1992
Size: 4 1/2"
Price: $4 loose complete from eBay
This dude is one of the best-looking TMNT figures of all time. The head sculpt is a great rendition of the Michaelangelo puppet from the movie; the skin texture is nice and reptilian; and the shell detailing rocks, as do the chest pads. I really like his expression too, featuring a fun smile that gives the figure a lot of personality but doesn't try too hard like some of the other Movie Star Turtles.
The paint apps are sharp and the orange mask and knee/elbow pads give the figure some much-needed eye-popping color. Although there isn't a lot of color variation to the skin, some spots were added to contribute to the terrapin realism. Also, the "gleam" in his eyes is a great detail that really makes the figure come alive.
Movie Mikey has only 5 points of articulation: ball socket head, shoulders, and hips. The lack of the arm articulation typical of Playmates Turtles hinders the use of his 'chucks. But the ball-socket joints move pretty well. And the socket design makes it easy to pop out his limbs and neck for disembodiment battle damage!
Mikey comes with a bunch of cool accessories: a Last Picture Pizza Box Shield, an ooze canister, a Celluloid Sausage Nunchaku, two normal nunchuks, two ninja stars, and a Bodacious Belt. The two normal 'chucks and belt are required for any Mikey figure, and the ooze canister is great for TMNT origin play scenarios. But I especially like the sausage nunchuks because I can finally relive that pivotal scene in Secret of the Ooze! "Combat coldcuts!"
A great, classic figure for the low, low price of $4? But wait, there's more! The figure's complete, too. There's talk of the Movie Star Turtles being re-released next year, but it might be cheaper just to buy the vintage figures. Watch out, though... I've noticed a lot of auctions in which the bandanna ends have broken off the head.
I think the Movie Star figures (along with the samurai movie figs) are the only Turtles in TMNT toy history to have a realistic rather than a comic booky look. For that alone this Movie Star Mike adds a lot of interest to the TMNT display shelf. But the coolest thing about this figure is that the arms, legs, and head are made of a squishy rubbery plastic that gives him a tacky (almost disgusting) reptilian feel. And the rubber makes the arms and legs flexible for ninja butt-kicking action!
There's a lot about Movie Star Michaelangelo that puts him among the greatest TMNT figures of all time: an awesome sculpt with a fun facial expression and nice textures; cool movie-specific accessories; and rubbery limbs for more tactile realism and added play value. And as with most TMNT figures, you can get him for a song. Totally tubular, dude!
UPDATE 12/14/2009: My friend Jason Photoshopped the "frontal" pic of Mike above to be more accurate to the Turtle puppets from the movie. He even make a Raph that looks dead-on! Great job, man!