Let me start by saying that my all-time favorite thing in entertainment is Indiana Jones. To me, there has never been a better combination of storytelling, direction, and acting in any franchise ever (well, at least three-quarters of it.) For some reason though, the Indiana Jones franchise never made the successful jump to toys.
Sure, I remember the original Kenner line. It was every bit as good as the Star Wars one, but it never had the same cache. Pick your reason. Absence of creatures, too based in reality, Nazis. Yeah, Nazis ruin everything, that was probably it. But the toys themselves were never lacking a thing. In fact, I had an elementary school buddy that had all of the toys and I befriended him exclusively to play with them. Plus, he had a hot sister.
But those toys captured the essence of adventure in that first film.
They were few, but they were memorable, especially what I consider one of the most legendary toy details ever engineered by a company. Arguably the most baller henchman in movie history, Major Arnold Toht came complete with the Staff of Ra burned into his hand just like in the movie. So, it seems like a no-brainer that Hasbro Pulse would include recreations of that classic Kenner line on reproductions of the card backing from the good old days.
It’s a shrewd move, taking into consideration the shift to nostalgia-based collecting for people now in their forties, fifties, or sixties that want to feel like they are ten again. We are easier to take advantage of as we get older, it seems, and Hasbro will brainwash us into buying them not unlike Mola Ram did to Indy with the Blood of Kali Ma. Boom! That’s a mic-drop Indy reference for my I-Jizzy fanboys out there.
So far, the Hasbro Pulse line includes the retro figures, but also a few six-inch figures akin to the “Black Series” that they did for Star Wars, except now it is the “Adventure Series.” They are extensively articulate and gorgeous to look at as well as fully equipped with the kind of accessories you’d expect from a twenty-five-dollar action figure.
They’re also doing that thing where they put a piece of something in each figure (in this case it’s the Ark of the Covenant) that you can build, but here’s the dilemma for many collectors, you have to open it.
Whatever your preference, in or out of the box, they really are top-notch, with a few for presale on Hasbro Pulse’s site and another on Target’s as an exclusive. Others have been revealed which aren’t for sale yet that span the franchise while almost completely ignoring “Crystal Skull” which is a more pragmatic choice than Indy’s selection of the Holy Grail.
Who is supposed to buy this stuff?
There are a few other items that have been disclosed, including a very cool light-up Staff of Ra headpiece playset (which this blogger pre-ordered the second he saw it) but I ask you, who are they making these for? Yes, we’ve covered the old guys like me, hanging on to any remnants of their youth with desperation as they inch closer and closer to grim death.
Wow, this got dark.
This kind of toy manufacturing and marketing is inevitable and what companies like Hasbro are counting on. But the release of something they are calling “Worlds of Adventure” in their Indy toy line has me a bit baffled. These are clearly aimed at children, and I mean small children, younger than Short Round. Very cartoon-like and preschool-looking, they’re just downright silly and, dare I say, inappropriate.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (I refuse to call it “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” as it has been renamed to fit in with the cadence of the other films) was never for children. It was a PG-13 movie before the existence of the rating that is now 41 damn years old. Any kid watching this is being made to by their parents (nay, grandparents!). So, a plaything fit for an ankle biter of Rene Bellog riding a motorcycle that shoots a giant net seems malapropos.
Belloq was a murderous, womanizing, Nazi-sympathizer; not my first choice for the daycare toy chest. I appreciate the toys for me and my balding brethren, but this last-ditch attempt to get kids interested in a movie almost two generations old is a swing and miss the likes of bringing a sword to a gunfight (I’m looking at you, Cairo Swordsman).
This is most likely the last hurrah for toys about the greatest hero to ever grace the silver screen and one last chance to cash in on some real-life fortune and glory.
If you’re a fan, you should definitely check out this podcast chronicling the entire Kenner line of toys and the latest one by Hasbro Plus. The podcast is part of the NeoZaZ Podcast Network (yes, I have an Indiana Jones podcast, please stop snickering) and takes a closer look at the characters of the entire franchise…even “Crystal Skull.”
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.
The only toy I found from the original “Raiders” line was Toht. The blister was coming loose so an employee put a convenient staple in it, and marked it down. I still snicker looking at it with the scarred hand and the detailed “head of the staff of ra” burned into it! It’s a shame they never made figures if the main Nazis (spoiler alert!) melting in the climactic final scene!! Stuff of Frederick Wertham’s worst nightmare!