Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 9:11 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Saurod
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
again sorry for the delay, busy schedule plus I had this about half typed up and suddenly my internet crapped out and erased everything so I had to start all over. And I've been wanting to get this done too since, as Skeletor said in the film, "Everything comes to he who waits. And I have waited so very long for this day!" At long last we finally have one of my personal favorites in Classics form: Saurod!
Saurod first appeared in the 1987 live action Masters of the Universe movie. Well actually his action figure hit shelves a bit before the film's release date, which is an important factor in understanding why I am so attached to this character who is most famous in the fan community for dying in the film. You need to understand, I got the vintage figure right when he came out. Here was this awesome looking reptile man who actually breathed fire! Or sparks at least. That was his action feature, the figure actually shot sparks out of his mouth. He was so cool and he quickly became one of my favorite figures. It wasn't until about three years later that I finally got to see the movie on video. So you can imagine my glee at finally seeing him live action... and then my utter shock upon seeing him get vaporized. My jaw dropped like a stone and I had to pause the tape for about fifteen minutes before I could recover and finish watching. To this day, while I enjoy the movie overall, that scene is still painful to watch.
Thing is, I later learned this came about because the filmmakers had apparently planned to have Skeletor kill Beast Man as a way of shocking the audience and letting the fans know this was a more serious take on MOTU, but Mattel said no. They didn't want kids traumatized by seeing one of their childhood icons (evil or not) brutally killed. Actually at first Mattel said no deaths at all, but eventually compromised and allowed a brand new character to die figuring fans wouldn't have had time to grow attached and it wouldn't upset them. But me, I had the figure and had grown quite attached to the character years before I saw the movie and it did have the undesired affect. Thankfully Saurod still lives in other continuities including now Classics.
Since Saurod was one of three characters from the movie who had a figure made in the vintage line, Mattel was able to bring him into the new line despite not yet having the licensing rights to the movie characters. In an interesting legal loophole though, they can make him look any way they want and thus Saurod is based much more on his film appearance than the vintage figure. He comes in the standard MOTUC blister card package, though unlike the vintage figure there is no mention of him being from the movie. The back of the package gives us a look at other figures in the line and presents a bio for the character.
As usual I don't like the "real" name. As far as I'm concerned Saurod is his real name. I also don't really care for his race's name. I've always just called him a Saurian Warrior. In the vintage mini comics Saurod, along with Blade, was brought to Eternia by an entity called the Evil Cloud so I don't know where the riding a meteor shower comes from. I've got mixed emotions about the ties to the Snake Men. On one hand it annoys the crap out of me that there is any connection. One of the biggest gripes I've had over the years is that so many fans insist on counting Saurod as one of the Snake Men. HE'S NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is a lizard man not a snake! It's in his name for crying out loud. Saur-od. Saur means lizard! This bio seems like it tried to compromise on the argument by making it so he's not a Snake Man himself, but does have genetic ties to them so they are related in a way. It's a little better because they make him hate the Snake Men, but I would've preferred no connection to them at all. I can also see many fans not being thrilled about him killing off both Snake Face and Sssqueeze (a continuity error since in the mini comic we can see Sssqueeze killed by the Spell of Seperation) particularly since Saurod gets to live when he died in the film.
The thing to remember though is that Saurod may have died in the movie, but he appeared in several other continuities where he did not die. Unlike Callix who only appeared in that one episode for twenty-six seconds and that was it, Saurod appeared in action figure form, vintage mini comics, the Starr comics, UK Comics, MOTU magazine, and vintage poster art. Plus, if you think about it, his death in the movie is nullified by the film's ending. I'll explain but, since I have to talk about the film's ending to do so, if you haven't seen it and don't want spoilers for a twenty-eight year old film skip down past the next picture to continue the review and/or go watch the movie now. It just got added to Netflix.
Okay so at the end of the film Gwildor sends Julie and Kevin back to Earth, but also back in time which allows Julie to prevent her parents from going on the plane trip that ended up in a fatal crash. Now think back to how they got involved in this whole mess to start with. They found the Cosmic Key in the cemetery where Julie was visiting her parents' grave. Furthermore Skeletor's forces had no idea where the heroes had escaped to and were only able to find them by tracking the signal from the Cosmic Key -and they only got a signal because Kevin and Julie activated it, not knowing what it was. Saurod was killed by Skeletor for failing the mission to retrieve the Key. But now, thanks to the time travel, Julie prevented her parents' deaths so she and Kevin would never have been in the cemetery to find the Key. Furthermore they retain their memories of what happened so even if they did go there at the time and date to get the Key, they now know what it is and know not to mess with the controls. So Skeletor would never be able to find the Key to send Saurod and the others on the mission and thus wouldn't end up killing Saurod for failing since there was no mission to fail! Pretty much the entire second half of the movie has been erased from the timeline.
Of course, come to think about it, if all the events of the movie never happened then Julie never would have been sent back in time to stop her parents' deaths so they would die and the events of the movie would play out meaning she would go back and stop it and then not be sent back but then they would die again so it would happen and she would go back... oh no I've gone cross-eyed.
Well I think that's enough of that for now, this is supposed to be a review of the actual figure isn't it? As I said, his sculpt is based more on the film appearance and as such it is incredibly detailed. He's almost all new parts. He does feature the same tail as Lizard Man, though it is a bit softer plastic this time but still not articulated. His torso under his armor is the scaly buck we've seen before and actually expected to get used for this figure, and the feet below the ankles are the same as seen on Bow and Flipshot. Otherwise though it's all new parts, but still retains much of the same articulation we see on most figures in the line. Head shoulders and hips on ball joints, standard joints at the elbows knees and ankles, mid torso ab crunch, and swivels at the biceps wrists and waist, though his lower legs are a new sculpt and do not have boot cut swivels. Strangely, Saurod stands a bit taller than most figures, likely due to his new legs and/or helmet sculpt. But then again, he is one of those figures who looks best displayed in bent knee battle poses.
I love the sheer amount of detail put into the sculpt and paint job. His armor has the shiny almost copper color to it and his skin that shows carries that very reptilian appearance. The armor even carries a few sculpted scratches and dents as though Saurod has seen his share of battles. The head sculpt is amazing with all the details put into his mask and the eye area behind it. I especially love the haunting reptile eyes, something that was lacking on the vintage figure. A closer look at his arms shows that he actually does have the details of chain mail lying over him, which is film accurate. It might have been nice to have a bit of paint wash over the chain mail to make it stand out form his scaly skin a bit more, but given all the other details on the figure I can imagine it would've gone over budget. Paint aps like that aren't cheep as every detail is hand done.
One detail that I wasn't expecting is in the back of the helmet. Here is a strange tail or spinal cord like appendage coming off the back of the helmet. As often as I've seen the move, and as much as I love the character, this is something that I never noticed before. However, after seeing the figure I went searching and sure enough, Saurod does indeed have this detail in the film. You almost never see him from the back on screen, but eventually I did find a shot where it's visible plus I discovered some movie concept art where it is partially seen. So kudos to the Four Horsemen for taking the time to get every little detail as film accurate as possible.
For an accessory Saurod has his blaster which can be fit in the holster on his hip, or in his right hand. The right hand is sculpted to hold the gun even having his index finger posed so it goes around the trigger. Saurod's left hand is sculpted in a fully open position with the metal claws popped out of his fingertips as he was seen doing in the movie. While it means he can't hold a weapon in that hand, I am okay with this as it's a great nod to a memorable shot from the film.
I always found Saurod to be one of the coolest looking figures in the vintage line. While I still do think he is among the best looking from that line, in comparison to the Classics version he looks almost goofy! That just goes to show how much detail went into this new version. The only things the vintage figure had that the new version does not are a swivel articulation at the base of the tail, and of course his action feature. While I was not expecting the Classics version to have spark shooting ability (and frankly with how safety regulations have changed over the years the vintage one probably never would be allowed these days) I do kind of wish there had been some way of representing it. The package even still refers to him as the spark shooting reptile. To be fair though, even ignoring cost measures, Saurod actually was never seen shooting sparks or using any kind of energy breath in the film. I'm not sure why his vintage figure was given this ability then, possibly he was supposed to have the power in the film but they couldn't do it for budget reasons. (or maybe they did and the scene ended up cut out) but it is a power he's had in all other continuities so I feel it should have been addressed somehow.
Regardless though, that is my only real problem with this figure. Otherwise I am thrilled beyond measure with how he turned out. I always loved the vintage one, but the Classics version blows even that figure away by miles. This is probably the best figure of this year and definitely one of the best of the entire line! While this completes the figures from the movie for now, perhaps in time we can get more representation in figure form. Mattel has hinted they are trying to work something out and hope to have a deal in place in time for the movie's 30th anniversary. So fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, Saurod is no longer available on Mattycollector.com so you'll have to go hunting him down on the secondary market, and I highly recommend doing so. Seriously, I cannot express enough how cool this guy turned out. Good luck and, until next time, Good Journey.
SUPPORT MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS
"I HAVE THE POWER!!.... the power is mine, not yours. Thanks for asking."