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REVIEW: DISNEY ADVENTURERS SERIES
By Thomas Wheeler

So, what's been one of the most notable "multi-concept" Disney lines in recent years? Disney Princesses. This generally pink-packaged line of dolls, toys, clothes, books, and more, has been a solid presence in the Disney world -- and the Disney Store, for quite some time. Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, and a number of others have all gathered together to bring in mega-bucks for Disney.

But what about the guys? Well, except for Toy Story, and distinct movie-related toy lines, they've pretty much had to sit around and watch the girls get all the plastic and merchandise. Now, an advisory about that last sentence: Anyone attempting to use it in comparison to what women are capable of in a shopping mall with the family credit cards -- you're on your own. I'm single, and I'm NOT in the habit of making marriage/relationship jokes, and if you DO with that one, don't blame me for the inevitable consequences.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, it looks like Disney has finally decided to give the guys some long-overdue attention. A brand new line has been introduced in Disney Stores, and it's clearly being marketed to the max.

It's called DISNEY ADVENTURERS. There are, at its core, two sizes of action figures. The smaller ones are about 6 inches in height. Oddly, they have the bulkier builds and immense feet and hands common to the well-known RESCUE HEROES line, which has been getting imitated increasingly lately, most recently by Toy Biz's SPIDER-MAN AND FRIENDS line. I'm not sure what's up with the sudden appeal of this "bulky bigfoot" style. It works on Rescue Heroes because that's the only form they've ever known. It sort of works on Spider-Man just because it's so peculiar it's cute -- in a way. For me, it just doesn't quite work on Disney Adventurers. They're not bad toys, they're just a little -- off, as far as I'm concerned.

More accurately portrayed for the most part are the 11-1/2" figures, although the "fully articulated" commend might be a violation of truth in advertising on a few of these. The assortment includes ALADDIN, PETER PAN, HERCULES, TARZAN, and CAPTAIN HOOK. I suspect there will be more later. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Jafar turn up, and maybe Hades. I'm not sure what other good guys you could put into this. Maybe Lion King will be worked in at some point.

Of the lot, the TARZAN figure (pictured) is doubtless the best articulated, moving at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. Don't mistake him for a G.I.Joe, though. Some of the articulation is a little strange, and some sort of "swivel-arm" feature would've been welcome. Still, the likeness is good, probably the best of the lot, and the overall manufacture is excellent. This is another of those "in-store" products that doesn't list a specific manufacturer. I don't know if Hasbro is producing these for Disney (I doubt it, given a fair amount of Hasbro-marked Disney merchandise in the store), or who might be responsible for them, but it is a cool concept.

Some of the figures need a little work, though. Hercules comes across well enough. Captain Hook is okay, but they sculpted too much detail into his coat. Peter Pan has a spooky weird grin on his face that would probably scare small children as opposed to convincing them to fly off to Neverland with him (no Michael Jackson jokes, please -- it's been overdone), and Aladdin is probably the least articulated of the lot, as based on observation, his big balloon-like pants have no articulation in them whatsoever.

Still, the CONCEPT has merit, and potential. And clearly Disney is marketing it extensively. I saw some kid-sized Disney Adventurers T-shirts in the store.

My bottom line? If you're looking for highly-detailed, highly-articulated action figures, this line falls a little short. If you're looking for decently made figures of some of Disney's popular heroes, something to give your sons or nephews for birthdays and Christmas, these could be just the thing, in either size. And if you're into Disney collectibles that stretch across more than one concept, they're not bad, either.

Finally, the Disney guys are being given their just due, in DISNEY ADVENTURERS!