"Squeeze legs together for lightsaber(tm) dueling action with right arm."
Open it ... don't open it ... open it ... don't open it ... OK ... I'll open it.
In a fit of boredom Darth Tyranus(tm) found his way off the card and out of his bubble today. I'd no intention of opening this figure. It looked fine on the card and keeping it there would insure that I could not be disappointed once I'd had it out and loose. But, he's loose now ...
First the good. The head sculpt on this figure is great. The facial expression is a nice, subtle contrast to many of the current "screaming" and exaggerated heads. The details ... wrinkles and dimples are very nice. The figure's pose is not too bad, not so exaggerated or hard to believe from an old man. I'm glad that the cape is latched around his neck and in general I think the cape is decent. The best we can get from a molded piece of soft plastic made to look like flowing cloth.
Second the mediocre. Not much to be said about the overall color scheme or paint job on this figure ... the figure is brown. There is an odd purple color wash on the hair that's somewhat splotchy and weird. It only shows from the back ... from the front it looks all right. The figure's overall articulation is somewhat hit and miss. The left arm has the great (though somewhat bulbous) ball socket shoulder, plus the pivoting elbow ... yet, the left wrist is stuck. The right arm ... well, the right arm has a great hand (holds the saber well) and a wrist that spins. More about the right arm below. The neck has an interesting bit of articulation ... it spins and pivots ... great for tilting the head down to give him that evil stare. Yet, the neck hinge looks completely weird ... at first I'd thought Tyranus(tm) came with a sort of "turkey" neck. I'll admit, wanting to see what this was all about was my main reason for opening the figure. Now that I know and have "played" with it, I think that a simple ball joint of some sort would have made the neck less "turkey" looking. The figure also comes equipped with the obligatory giant blue "Force(tm) lighting" which honestly can look pretty cool ... but, it more than assures that you'll need a stand for posing if you connect it up.
Third, the "not so good." I wasn't going to open this figure, because I wasn't interested in seeing how annoying the "leg squeeze" gimmick really was. Fine. At this point most everyone pretty much agrees that the action effect gimmicks are a drag. But, this one and it's bonus "Force(tm)-attracted" magnet hand pretty much turn this apparently decent looking figure into something that's completely stupid. Nothing associated with Christopher Lee should involve "leg squeezing." I am uncomfortable doing this, as I tend to imagine Christopher Lee sitting someplace and wondering why his legs hurt and his right arm wants to flail about spastically. You pinch the legs together over and over again, simulating jumping-jacks and as a result ... his arm flips up and down, bending at the incredibly loose elbow joint.
"Fighting with the skill of a consummate warrior of the Force, the Dark Lord battles his foes with both hands, weilding his scimitar-handled lightsaber with grace and precision while simultaneously leveling powerful bursts of Force lightning at those who challenge him."
... umm, I don't know about the "grace and precision" thing there, it looks more like he's weakly beating a rug. The right arm is worthless for any kind of pose or action besides straight and still or "flipity-flapity". The figure's waist does not pivot ... a result of the action effect. The figure's left hand contains an extremely obvious magnet. I can't imagine why a magnet can't be painted flesh color and still "force(tm)-attract" a tiny lightsaber ...additionally, I can't understand why the wrist does not spin. The lightsaber(tm) is much simpler looking than what is pictured on the card back ... the handle is solid black and smooth, with the same old "thin pin in the hole" type blade that I'd figured we were getting away from.
So! All in all ... Darth Tyranus(tm) is a decent figure. I'll give it a 6 out of 10. If you intend to keep it carded (like I should have) or if you plan on fixing him into some sort dramatic pose and never touching him again (like I will), then you'll no doubt be reasonably happy. If you like to "squeeze legs for lightsaber(tm) dueling action with right arm" then you will be quite strangely pleased. If you are looking for the best sculpted, most highly articulated and well thought out version of this character ... well, you're probably expecting too much from Hasbro. In general I'm more than happy to have any figures of Christopher Lee ... so, I'll take this one and wait for the next ... hopefully perfect version of Darth Tyranus(tm).