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Opinion: R-Rated Minimates

Let me preface this by saying that I love Quentin Tarantino’s movies. I really do. In fact, my favorite film, Inglourious Basterds, was written and directed by him. I also love the work of Frank Miller. So don’t let what follows detract in any way from their work…

Okay, here we go. Recently, there were a series of new movie-mates announced at different conventions or through the internet. Among them (for the unacquainted) are Alien(s?), Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Sin City. I wholeheartedly enjoyed all of these movies, but their inclusion in the minimate line does raise some questions for me. Now, for me, these are extremely exciting announcements, as I fully believe that these different films will look awesome in minimate form. However, I do question the demographic of these specific mates, and how they will be moved into stores. Here they are, along with my ideas for answers:

1. Will these be on display near other minimates, or (in the case of Alien) the full-sized figures of the same franchise?

My immediate idea would be not near the popular Marvel line, especially considering that no matter how dark the comics may get, the minimates will still not cross the line into the type of gore frequently seen in these movies. So, naturally, they would get their own display, assuming these are in comic shops and not large chains like TRU. However, this raises a second question,

2. How much can be put on these mates?

As in gore. Chest-burster, anyone? I didn’t actually see that scene until I was around 15, so it didn’t really bother me, but in the hands of a little kid I could see that raising some serious questions. So… disclaimer on the packaging about the content like on NECA’s figures? This idea seems a little far-fetched, especially given how friendly minimates are. Is the only answer to just not  include the gory (though iconic) versions of the characters in minimate form?

3. Box set or multiple waves of characters?

This is a little simpler, as it avoids any touchy issues such as gore. To me, however, this is just as important a question. The answer to me is to do both for some, box sets for some, and waves for some. Alien, for instance, has waves of potential much like Kill Bill, between the myriad of characters and different designs (Plugging a Coffin Bride with Pai Mei right now). Pulp Fiction and Sin City  are different, however, as Pulp Fiction has many characters, but not nearly as many characters immediately recognizable beyond Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules and John Travolta’s Vincent Vega. The obvious two-pack lies right there, along with con exclusives in “bloody” and “casual” variants. There is, of course, Mia, Marcellus, Butch, Christopher Walken, and Jimmie (Quentin himself). Maybe even through Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in there. There are nine minimates (ignoring multiples of characters), and that does not seem extremely sustainable. The answer there seems to be a few box sets and a couple two-pack tie-ins.

In the case of Sin City, the problem doesn’t seem to be the lack of characters but rather which ones to choose first. The rights are to the movie (I think) so the first obvious choice would be as follows:

Marv and Kevin

Dwight and Jackie Boy

Hartigan and That Yellow Bastard

Manute and Nancy

This hits the main characters as well as a couple of important supporting ones and, or course, Michael Clarke Duncan. The NECA route could be followed, however, with both black and white and color variants as well as different “bloody” variants for different characters. Now, I don’t know the rules for getting different likenesses, but I can only assume the rights to the film mean the rights to the characters in it (Please correct me if I’m wrong here). The amount of iconic actors in the film is unbelievable, so even seemingly menial characters would need minimates, especially if both color and black and white versions were made. With a new movie coming soon, I also have to wonder if a Josh Brolin version of Dwight will be seen. The different colored variants pose a problem as I, for one, do not want to see a “running change” fiasco like the one over at Hasbro with the current Marvel Legends, and randomly placing either black and white or color in different cases also seems like a myopic idea. Variant box sets seen in the Marvel vs. Capcom would work, but the amount of characters would constitute more than a few box sets, and the different colors would still have to be resolved. The Walking Dead route could be taken, and characters could only be done in color. These getting made, however, is an achievement in itself.

4. Violent videogames have received minimates. Just look at Halo. What’s the difference?

The difference, to me, is that the different game designed mates all had either immediately recognizable designs, or looked cool enough to be picked up without having played the game. With these R-Rated films, however, the characters are not easily noticed, especially from the eyes of a child. Most of them, beyond the Alien mates, are even in plain clothes with actors many children would not recognize or care for. Now, I am certain there is an audience for all of these minimates, so demand is not the problem. The answer to me seems to be to gear these lines more towards the adults collecting minimates rather than the children who would (and honestly should not) understand the situations and characters from these movies.

And here we are. That’s what I think so far about these lines, and I would just like to mention again that I am extremely excited for these lines, and this post in no way is against them . In unrelated news, this is the final day for the Caption Contest, and there has been resounding silence in my email box besides one entry. With a complete lack of reaction, I might post one more contest, but if that one is also neglected, I will try to move towards a different source for entertainment.

That’s all for now. If you disagree with me, have your own opinions, or just want to confirm all my ideas as correct, shout out in the comments below.


8 comments to Opinion: R-Rated Minimates

  • I bet if you asked some of these questions in Ask DST, youd get some answers. They may not come immediately, and they may not answer every aspect of the question, but I bet DSTChuck’d tell you a lot of this. These are the kind of big-picture questions he doesn’t get a lot of. I’d answer some of them, but we’re still working some stuff out.

    Sorry the contest didn’t get a lot of entries. I subscribe to all your posts, but I didn’t think I was eligible to enter. I forget what the prize was, but I’d be happy to provide some cool prizes for future contests, though, if you want to try again.

    • Onslaught

      No prize for this contest, but prizes for future possible ones would be a great incentive for entries. If I wanted to provide prizes through you, how would I connect that? Thanks

  • MisterPL

    I really don’t think these R-rated ‘mates will be treated any differently than those from The Walking Dead, which is based on a comic with even more violence and sexual content than the TV series more people are familiar with. If TRU can stock that – entrails and all – they can stock the chest-burster or other bloody variants.

    First and foremost, the product should be aimed at existing fans. If these toys somehow manage to get consumers who are unfamiliar with the source material to read the comic or see the movie, so be it but they need to be authentic. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    As for packaging, I see these working best as boxed sets since these are finite lines. Properties from Back to the Future and Thundercats to The Expendables have fared pretty well in this format that’s friendly to both mass and specialty market retailers. “Aliens” might warrant a single army dump but unless I’ve overlooked something, I don’t see the need elsewhere. (Nazis and Crazy 88s? I don’t know.)

    It’ll be interesting to see how DST and retailers handle these more mature Minimates.

    • Onslaught

      I thought about the Walking Dead in comparison, and I probably should have touched on this in my post, but I think the main difference is the consciousness of the characters. For instance, the entrained zombie got shot or bitten. We don’t actually know. For characters like Kevin from Sin City, however, we have an intimate, human knowledge of how he got torn apart. Although on pure gore, you are absolutely correct. Those unfamiliar with the source material would see no difference between the zombie and the more human gore. By this, they should absurdly be carried in mass retail. Good point

      • MisterPL

        Personally, the most disturbing acts of violence in “The Walking Dead,” whether it’s the comic or show, are from the living. The undead are a force of nature. You know what to expect from them. They don’t have a choice. The living are the really scary ones.

        It’s when a character I’ve gotten to know encounters extreme violence that makes things especially unsettling for me. And that’s true for any of these properties, whether it’s Rick Grimes (amputation), Beatrix Kiddo (rape), or John Hartigan (suicide).

        So if DST doesn’t have a problem with the level of violence, sex, or language in TWD comic, they certainly have no reason to shy away from the other properties in question.

        (And keep the contests coming! This is a busy time of year so gauge interest in that context.)

        • Onslaught

          I guess the only real difference left is what type of violence is inflicted on the dead vs. the humans. Although there are a number of horrific things done like rape, amputation, and even suicide, the truly gory actions are done by or to the dead. Psychologically, however, the living are much, much worse especially in the Walking Dead.

  • Jenny

    This has nothing to do with this post topic, but with your contests. Please don’t stop doing them.

    I was unable to participate this time around as I did not have any brother (or sister) companion figures.

  • Nando Xavier

    Remember what made this line so great in the first place?
    The variety.
    We had marvel and doc.
    Music figures and lotr.
    Then came stuff I wished I’d picked up like platoon and madonna and fistful of dollars and some other random things kids wouldn’t care for.
    Terminator isn’t a kids movie at all but those were some awesome mini mates.
    The rocky ones are awesome too.

    Kids today don’t care for ghostbusters or back to the future but I assume they did.

    I see this as an extension of that.
    The jay and silent bob ones that just came out are already favorites of mine!

    As a kid I had robocop toys and that was pretty violent.

    I see your concern but as a fan I welcome more variety.

    I apologize if I’m rambling but I’m typing this on an iPad late at night and I don’t feel like editing.

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