Tonner Doll and Wilde Imagination hosted a small event in San Francisco over the weekend. At the event, the companies offered a sneak peek of their upcoming spring lines. Wilde Imagination has posted some unofficial snapshots on its Facebook page.
I will wait for the official launch of the spring line before I offer a detailed critique, but for now, I just want to draw attention to three dolls that particularly appeal to me.
The first is a doll manufactured under a license with Warner Bros. to portray characters in the upcoming sci-fi film, Jupiter Rising. Tonner has a reputation for purchasing the licensing rights for ill-fated movies—The Golden Compass, Prince of Persia, Tron, Get Smart, The Last Mimzy—the list goes on. What’s that you say? You haven’t heard of any of those films? That’s okay. Neither has anyone else.
Of course, it would be wrong to dismiss those licenses Tonner has cashed in on—Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean being the most obvious examples. Not only were these dolls inspired by popular films, they were also exemplary in detail, likeness, and construction. The appeal of the Potter and Pirates dolls went way beyond the doll collecting universe.
Which brings us to the latest licensing choice—Jupiter Ascending. The film does not premiere until February 6, so the dolls based on it have at least been produced before the film will disappear from theatres. That’s more than can be said for more than one of Tonner’s film-based doll offerings. A search for Jupiter Ascending on IMDb.com turns up this synopsis:
“Unbeknown to Earth’s residents, life on Earth and countless other planets has been seeded by families of alien royalty for the purpose of harvesting the evolved living creatures once they reach a “Darwinian state of perfection” to produce a type of youth serum that allows them to live forever. When the matriarch of the House of Abrasax, the most powerful of the alien dynasties, dies her children Balem, Kalique and Titus are at war over the heir. Eventually, a new heir comes to their attention; Jupiter Jones, an unsuspecting Earth-living, unlucky caretaker of other people’s homes. Jupiter encounters Caine Wise, a genetically engineered interplanetary warrior, who came to Earth to reveal that her genetic signature makes Jones royalty and heir to Earth. Meanwhile, he has to protect her from Balem, who put a bounty on her head and would rather harvest Earth than lose it to Jones.”
Whatever. Not exactly my cup of tea. But you never know what people are going to go for these days.
Which brings me to the doll that caught my eye. It is a likeness of Mila Kunis, the film’s protagonist, dressed in an incredibly ornate red and white gown and headpiece. I’m not familiar enough with the actress to feel qualified to comment on whether or not the doll actually resembles Ms. Kunis. I just know that I like the sculpt and that the gown is fabulous. I think the ensemble is remarkable for its originality and detail, and if the production doll is as pretty as the prototype, I just may add her to my collection. This will have nothing to do with the film—the doll will join the ranks of my other vinyl ladies dressed in over-the-top fashion couture. With all of that detail, I expect the price tag will be high. Let’s hope it’s worth it.
The other two dolls that “spoke” to me were both Ellowynes. The first is a basic. I’ve got about 15 Ellowyne dolls in my collection, and I am not in the market for a basic. But this doll may change my mind. It appears from the Facebook photos that the basics will again be offered in three hair colors. I was immediately drawn to the brunette with shoulder-length hair. Tonner tends to overuse impossibly-long or impossibly-long-and-curly hair styles. A more realistic, shoulder-length blunt cut is a nice change. Many collectors will like the fact that she’s wigged. That’s not a plus for me, as I prefer the “realism” of rooted hair. Nevertheless, I’m tempted by her.
The final doll that tempts me is a blonde Ellowyne dressed in a sailor-inspired pea coat and outfit. Her hair (what we can see of it in the photo) is reminiscent of the very first blonde basic Ello. She looks adorable.
I look forward to the official unveiling of Tonner’s and Wilde’s spring lines, which will undoubtedly have me pecking at my keyboard again. Stay tuned!