Sunday, June 19, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: Independence Day Action Figures!

Twenty years ago, in summer of '96, the movie to beat at the box office was Fox's Independence Day. And with the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, hitting theaters later this week, I thought I'd turn the Nostalgia Theater spotlight towards some of the merch that was put out to tie in with the Roland Emmerich-directed alien invasion pic. The toy rights for the film were purchased by then-new (now defunct) toymaker Trendmasters, which had launched two years earlier with toys based on Battlestar Galactica and Godzilla, and they had a whole assortment of aliens, figures, and vehicles ready to go. Here's a TV spot:

As you can see from that, the alien figures -- which ranged from teeny-tiny all the way to "gigantic" in sizes, are all pretty spot-on with their movie counterparts. But I'm assuming they couldn't get likeness approval from Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum (no stranger to action figures, he), because their characters' plastic incarnations are basically "Generic Black Guy," "Generic White Guy," and "Generic White With Glasses." Also, in an indication of the era in which these things were made, each toy included a floppy disc loaded up with a specific ID4-themed mini-game. Check out a vid of the gameplay below:

It's kind of hilarious to me that the inclusion of a floppy disk was thought of as value-added. Anyway, the toys didn't make much of an impact despite the movie's off-the-charts success. By then the resurgent Star Wars toys had already staked their claim, alongside stuff like Power Rangers, etc., and ID4 never got to make a mark. By early '97 they had already moved into clearance. Trendmasters would stick around for a couple of more years (including making the toys for the Emmerich Godzilla in 1998), but by 2002 they were gone as well. I guess that explains why there's no toy tie-ins to speak of for the Independence Day sequel.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Kenner's Jurassic Park Action Figures

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Raises Caine

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Superman Peanut Butter -- "Its Strength is its Great Taste"

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Swamp Thing: The Series -- DC's Leafy Hero Hits the Small Screen

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