Saturday, July 4, 2015

Disney Store Classic Beast 2015 Doll Review

I hope you've all been enjoying my review post of 2015 Disney Store Belle. I went back and added thoughts on Belle from my three girls, so be sure to stop by and check them out HERE. :) 

Now it's time to take a look at the Beast! :)

Here he is in his package. He's so tall they had to bend his knees to get him to fit. This pose makes me chuckle. :) (Oldest Gal says he looks creepy like this.) ;)

Box views and details:

The Beast partially free.

Because he's so much heavier than the regular dolls, he had lots more twist ties holding him in place. It took me forever to get all of these loose, especially the black ones. Next time, I'll know better and cut them. ;)

Even his feet were held in place.

His head was attached to a clear plastic piece that attached to the main twist tie.

And here he is completely free. I was pleased to discover that he could stand on his own. I wasn't expecting this after some of the pictures I'd seen on Flickr.

The Beast's head is very detailed, but I'm disappointed by the color scheme. (More on that later.)

I was also pleased to discover that his "hair" tie was blue. It looked like it was just painted brown in some of the photos I'd seen. It's a very dark blue, but it is blue.

The Beast's clothing has nice coloring and has more detail than I was expecting.

I really love the sculpt of his paws...

...and his feet.

Here they are from the side view. As far as I can tell, they are the same as the Designer Beast doll, but there's a little less shading on the fur.

I just realized I didn't do a full-length picture of him from the back, but here is a look at his tail. Like some of the previous versions of this doll, the tail is attached to the jacket.

Here he is from the side view. I know he looks like he's warming up for the limbo, but that's the necessary angle to get him to stand by himself. 

This brings me to my major grievance with this doll. I mentioned in my earlier posts that I have some serious mixed feelings about him, and this is the number one reason right here. This gap just looks awkward. It looks like he has a severed head or something.

His head turns from side to side. I mentioned this before as well, but for those of you who missed it, he DOES NOT transform into a Prince as the Disney Store website claims. There is no prince head underneath...which is probably a good thing since he'd be a mid-transformation prince with Beast arms and legs. ;)

Here is his head turned to the other side.

He can also turn and look behind him...sort of. I'm sorry, this is just really weird. :{

So if there's no Prince head underneath, what is there?

A big, long post of a neck.

I can't even express how disappointing this is. Not entirely unexpected, since this is how the Designer Beast doll was constructed, but still a disappointment. 

I was hesitant to undress him since his jacket was attached to his vest, but I really wanted to get a closer look at his articulation and such.

So I very carefully cut the threads attaching his jacket to his vest. (Thankfully, without cutting either the jacket or the vest. It was a tight squeeze for my scissors!) This is the only way you can undress him.

His jacket sleeves slide over his paws a lot easier than I thought they would. It is a little bit of a tight fit, though, and the fabric is not the strongest, so I wouldn't want to encourage little collectors to undress him too frequently.

As I mentioned before, his tail is attached to his jacket. It's also crunchy in some spots with product of some kind.

His jacket is stuffed with padding in the back to give the illusion of his great, hulking back from the movie.

The ends of his jacket are stitched with gold thread.

And here he is in his outfit underneath. It is all one piece.

I was pleasantly surprised by the elastic at the wrists of the outfit.

There is Velcro closure in the back.

Each of the pant legs also has Velcro at the hem to make it easier to undress him. I had no problems working the pant legs over his feet.

His outfit fits the older Prince doll nicely. It's a little longer on him in the sleeves and pants, but it works.

Here is the Beast undressed. As you can see, they used the regular Prince doll chest, upper arms, and upper legs. His forearms and lower legs are new.

His forearms...

...and his lower legs have some great sculpting detail.

My Beast doll had a bit of staining on his body from his dark pants:
The above picture also gives you a better look at the joints on his lower legs. I love the detail of the fur in the back! :)

Here he is from all sides:

I wanted to save most of my detailed opinions for my overall thoughts at the end, but I gave up. I just can't stop commenting about how disappointing his head is! I'm not opposed to a doll that is strictly a Beast doll, and I think that they got a lot right with this doll as far as the detail. But, to be perfectly honest, to me this just seems like a lazy design. I don't want to be rude, but it seems that the Disney Store could come up with a better way to portray the Beast. This is unappealing enough to me as a collector. I'd imagine it's even more so to kids. I would have had NO interest in playing with this doll as a girl. I was all about accuracy and detail, and having a doll with such an odd design would have been a huge disappointment. My three girls have all mentioned how odd he looks and aren't all that interested in him (Oldest Gal is the most open to him). I think that's sad. The Disney Store has the potential for a great doll here! With a little more work on the design, they could come up with something spectacular.

I just had to share this picture, too, because it amuses me. Just showcasing some of Beast's flexibility. ;)

Let's put his clothes back on and give him a little more dignity. ;) 

On my Belle review post, one of my readers requested that I include actual pictures of the original movie character to compare to the doll. I thought that was such a great idea, I decided to include pictures in each of my review posts. The dolls are supposed to bring to mind the movie characters, after all.

So here are some screen shots I collected of the Beast, once again courtesy of (And can I just say that I would have LOVED having this website available as a kid? Having such unlimited reference stills for my Disney drawings would have been incredible!) ;)

The Beast has always been one of my very favorite characters. Glen Keane's design was just stunning. I also spent countless hours drawing Belle and the Beast, so I'm quite familiar with his coloring, shape, and proportions. And I think, when it comes right down to it, those are the other things that are missing with this doll. His face paint, while done well, is completely inaccurate. The only colors that are close to right are his main fur, his fangs, and his horns. Everything else is all messed up. (And I should know. I used to have the exact Pentel markers I needed for all of his fur/lip/clothing colors memorized.) ;) And, if I might be so bold, of any company out there, Disney should be the one to get his coloring right. I know this might not be as big a deal to some of you, but I find it really disappointing when coloring on a doll is incorrect.

I'm also disappointed by this doll's proportions. When you compare the movie pictures above to the pictures of the Beast doll, 2015 Beast looks rather puny with an oversized head. Notice in the movie pictures how small the Beast's head is in comparison to the rest of him? I appreciate that they stuffed 2015 Beast's jacket to give him more bulk, but he needs to have those massive shoulders. I was always amazed by the stark contrast between this huge, powerful Beast and little, delicate Belle. But when you put this guy next to Belle... don't exactly get the same impression.

In all fairness to this guy, NONE of the former Beast/Prince dolls have gotten the size thing right. It's a little hard to do when you've got a prince doll with a Beast head and paws. However, the fact that this particular doll is NOT a transforming doll makes it all the more disappointing that he's not the right size. I mean, they don't have to use a Prince body, right? So why not play around a bit and make an actual Beast body in the right proportions? Just an idea. They're so close to genius with this! Why not make this a doll that doesn't feel like a "frankendoll"...all pieces and parts from various dolls randomly stuck together?

Okay, moving on. Sorry if that sounded harsh. I'd just love to see the Disney company push themselves a little more with this guy. I'm THRILLED that they finally gave some attention to their male dolls, but it would be even cooler to see them take it a little farther where the Beast is concerned. The fact that the Beast is one of my very favorite Disney characters ever probably makes me even pickier about him, too. :}

Here are a couple more pictures of Belle with the Beast before we move on to some comparisons:


I had to get a bit creative with the comparisons this time around. The Prince doll line has pretty much remained unchanged since 2010 (aside from packaging), so I haven't gotten a Beast doll from the Disney Store since then. I'm also a bit bummed because I used to have one of the early Disney Store Beast/Prince dolls from 2008, but I got rid of him before I started doing these sorts of posts. I still have his Beast head, jacket, and paws, so I'll include those a bit later.

Since I didn't have many Disney Store dolls, I decided to pull in some of my Mattel ones. Here are most of my current Disney Beast/Prince dolls:

From left to right, we have the Mattel Disney Classic Beast Doll from 1991 (my original childhood doll) the Mattel Royal Style Beast doll from 2005 (who's shoe unfortunately split as I was taking the pictures), Mattel's Beast-to-Prince doll from around 2011, the Disney Store Beast/Prince doll from 2010, and the current Disney Store doll.

Here they are from the back.

And since all of the other dolls are transforming ones, I thought I'd include their Prince pictures, even though the 2015 Beast doesn't have a Prince inside to show off.

Here are some close-ups of all of their faces:

Mattel 1991 Beast
Mattel 1991 Prince

Mattel 2005 Beast
Mattel 2005 Prince

Mattel 2011? Beast
Mattel 2011? Prince

Disney Store 2008 Beast
Disney Store 2008 Prince
(pulled from an old blog picture)

Disney Store 2010 Beast
Disney Store 2010 Prince

Disney Store 2015 Beast

Let's move on to some side-by-side pics.

Mattel 1991 and Disney Store 2015
This Mattel doll will always be special to me because of the childhood memories associated with him. I wanted this doll and my Mattel Belle doll sooo badly as a kid. I didn't get them until almost a full year after the movie came out, for my eleventh birthday in 1992. My grandparents gave them to me, along with the Beauty and the Beast piano book...wrapped in Beauty and the Beast paper. I even had a Beauty and the Beast birthday cake that year, and Beauty and the Beast plates, napkins, and cups. (Are you sensing the theme?) It was an awesome birthday. :}

This is not necessarily the most accurate depiction of the Beast either. The Beast is super furry and has inaccurate coloring. And let's admit it, his stuffed paws and feet look a little silly next to 2015 Beast's. The Prince underneath looks a little girly. But this guy is still special. ;)

Mattel 2005 and Disney Store 2015
Mattel obviously used the same molds from 1991 to make this guy, as well as the same jacket design. They apparently gave up on the Beast pants. His Prince face/hair/coloring is a bit of an improvement. I can't say the same for the Beast himself. :( 

His mask is plastic in the front and a sort of material sack in the back, with hair hanging over it. The Prince's head goes inside, and his hair tucks in the sack. 

Sadly, this design makes him look up when you put the Beast mask on. It's a little hard to have him look at Belle this way. I also wish they'd kept just his actual face exposed like the older doll. The round plastic edges around his face look a little silly.

Fun fact: Oldest Gal used to have this same doll, and when Little Gal was small, we had to hide the Beast head because it scared her. ;)

Mattel 2011? and Disney Store 2015
This Beast design was also not one of my favorites. It was okay in concept but really didn't work well. This Prince doll is the most somber of the Princes in my collection. However, that worked really well when I was developing his character, Ben, in Belle's Bulletins. He's the stoic, Mr. Darcy type. ;)

I liked the fact that he had plastic hands instead of cloth gloves, but the design of the jacket made it super hard to get it on, fitting his arms in the arm holes and getting his head in the head hole under the Beast head. It also just looks kind of odd.

Especially since there's such a gap between his head and the Prince's shoulders. (So the Disney Store isn't the first to have an odd gap.)

Disney Store 2010 and Disney Store 2015
As much as I've mentioned my disappointments in the newest Disney Store Beast doll, I have to say that he is still an improvement on the goofy, teeny Beast head that has been in the stores for the past five years. I love the Prince underneath. The Beast? Not so much. 

Aside from looking silly, this Beast head is really hard to get off. I'm always afraid I'm going to accidentally pull the Prince's head off, too.

"Look at my cool hat! I'm all set for cosplay!" 

I do like this Prince sculpt. When I first got this doll in 2010, I wasn't sure what I thought. But then began the saga of Belle's Bulletins, and he became Robby, Belle's "just friend" and eventually husband. Now I get warm fuzzies every time I look at this version of the doll. ;) As far as movie accuracy, I think he looks the most like himself in profile: 

(Pulled from the blog archive.) ;)

I would love to see Disney's take on a Designer Collection Prince, especially if he turned out as awesome as Eugene. ;)

Disney Store 2008 (partial) and Disney Store 2015
This was my first Disney Store Beast/Prince doll. In this picture, he has the wrong Prince doll inside, so his jacket doesn't fit as well. The original doll also had a shiny gold vest to match the gold trim on the jacket. You'll notice that the face sculpt on both of these guys is the same. As for the Prince, he was a big improvement on the Disney Store's earlier attempts, but I definitely prefer the face sculpt of the newer Prince doll...especially since this guy's head was so incredibly small compared to Belle's.

Again, the Beast legs and paws look clunky next to 2015 Beast's nicely sculpted paws. But this doll had much nicer clothing and was a much better version than the version from 2010 on.

A closer look at the two Beast heads.

The 2008 Beast head was hollow so the Prince's head could fit inside. Basically, for 2015 they just filled in this hollow part and attached a large, plastic stick for the neck.

In doing this comparison, I've discovered I'm pretty picky about my Beast dolls. Sorry if I sound like a total grump. :{

For reasons of sentimentality, these two are my favorite Beast and Prince dolls: 

1991 Mattel Beast and 2010 Prince.

Since my sentimental Beast doll is not that accurate, though, I felt I couldn't finish this post without mentioning my all-time favorite "just Beast" doll from Disney. That's this guy right here:

Mattel's Signature Beast doll from 1997.

The back of his box. 

I'd love to take him out of his box for a better comparison, but I just can't bring myself to open such a  beautiful display piece. Maybe someday I'll find a second one to debox. ;) 

As you can see, he's a lot taller and thicker than the 2015 Disney Store Beast, more like the Beast from the movie.

His coloring is very accurate (although the patches around his eyes could be a little darker)...

...and he's got great detail in his clothing.

A closer look at his feet.

The only thing about him is that his fur around his face kind of makes me think of the costumes for Andrew Lloyd Webber's play Cats. At least he's not wearing a leotard. ;) Maybe he could play Old Deuteronomy...

I just love the fact that he's the right size for Belle. He's got that tall, hulking physique next to her delicate proportions, just like in the movie: 

But enough of my rambling comparisons. It's time to get down to my official thoughts on the original subject of this post: 2015 Beast.

Pleasing Qualities: 3.5 out of 5
   I hate to give him such a low score, but there are some areas where I really felt this doll missed the mark. While I love the detail on his clothing, his face sculpt, and his paw and feet sculpts, I couldn't get past the odd head/neck design, the strangely thin body, and (on a less-important note) his inaccurate coloring. 
   That being said, he looks more like the Beast than many of my other Beast/Prince dolls. As I said in the post, with a few changes to his design, he could be an incredible doll.
   Here's another thought, too. Wouldn't it be awesome if the Disney Store came up with a Beast/Prince two doll gift set? If it was done well, I would totally be willing to pay the extra for two dolls. :)

Posability: 5 out of 5
   For as big and as heavy as he is, this doll really has some pretty great articulation. :)

Playability: 4 out of 5
   Again, I think that a lot of kids are going to be turned off to this doll because of his design. Having a character with an odd, empty neck is just not appealing. I think he'll work better as a collector's piece that sits on the shelf. I'll be sharing my daughters' thoughts on him in a little bit, though, so you can hear how three kiddos from the target market feel in their own words. (I've been really careful not to say much about him so as not to influence their opinions.)

Price: 5 out of 5
   For a collectible Disney doll, $10 is a great price. I don't know that I'd want to pay the full $16.95 for this particular doll, though, and I definitely wouldn't pay more than that.

Thoughts from the Gals:
(Typed exactly as dictated to me with no changes. Italicized explanations added by me.)

Oldest Gal (age 11): 
   The Beast doll this year is very different from the previous Beast dolls. His head does not come off, and his hands and legs are permanently enchanted. I don't exactly like the way that they made his back so cushiony. His shoulders aren't exactly broad enough, and if you pull back his jacket collar, it looks a bit ridiculous. His big, "furry" Beast's head stops and goes into a cylinder-shaped neck which is about the size of a normal Disney fashion prince's neck. His chest is, again, the size of a normal Disney fashion prince. His big head makes his chest look even smaller than normal. His arms, as you can see in the pictures where Mommy took off his clothes, look a little bit like Captain Amelia's gloves in Disney's Treasure Planet. His legs are a bit on the long side, and his torso is too short. His legs are also a bit straight, because in the movie, when he stood up straight, his legs were still a bit hunched over. 
   On the other side, his head is beautifully sculpted and well-painted, even though it does look a bit creepy. The colors are a bit dark. His hands are well done, as are his feet. On the other versions of the Beast, they put boots on the Prince's feet and then they just put the Beast head and the jacket, complete with cloth Beast hands, on. On this one, they don't have to put boots on the feet, which is good, because in the movie, his feet would have busted out of those boots. 

Are you disappointed that he doesn't transform into the Prince?
   A little, but he is a really good Beast if you just want a Beast, and then you can use the other Prince for the transformed Prince. Side note: I really don't like the name Adam. It doesn't look like him. 

Would you be interested in this doll? If you had this doll, do you think you would play with him very much?
   I would be interested in getting the Beast doll. He wouldn't be my top pick, as the old one would save money because you wouldn't have to get a Prince doll as well. I probably would use him as the Beast and play with my old one as the Prince. 

Middle Gal (age 9):
   I am really disappointed in the Beast for the most part. One thing that I'm really, really, really disappointed about is that even with his jacket on, you can look through under his head, and you can see through. It's like, weird. So I'm just really disappointed that they put the head so high up. I also don't like it how they put his little collar tie thing attached to his head, because if you turn his head backwards, he has his little thing with his head. I also wish that they had gotten the coloring on his face and body right. They made him so much darker than he really is. Overall, I like this doll, but I wouldn't recommend getting it if you want a prince, because he's only a Beast. He looks weird.

Are you disappointed that he doesn't transform into the Prince?
   Definitely yes. Especially since, well there was this thing (the description on the Disney Store website), and they said that he could turn into a Prince, but he can't turn into a Prince. He's a forever Beast. 

Would you be interested in this doll? If you had this doll, do you think you would play with him very much?
   I probably wouldn't get this doll. He's just so weird. I mean, you can see through his neck. So odd. If I did get him, though, I mean if he was a present for me, I would probably make him be like the weird magician bad guy person. So you could have fun with him, but I wouldn't make him the Beast. He's too weird. 

Little Gal (age 7):
   I think the Beast is kinda realistic and kinda not. He does have the hunchback thing, but you can see through his neck, and he also has a really long one. And he can turn his head backwards. Another complaint is, he's too dark. And you can't change him into a prince. And his hair thing isn't even blue like it was in the movie. It looks black. And then, you can take off his clothes, you just have to snip some stitches, which I don't think is really that smart, because if you're going to have to take something off, why have to snip the stitches? And his eyes are pretty. They're blue just like mine. Just like blueish gray. His clothes are kinda shiny and they're nice. And when you take his clothes off, he's part Prince part Beast. His ears are as dark as his horns, and his horns are as dark as they're supposed to be in the movie. And I'm kinda surprised that they used a mold from past Beasts. When you stand him up, it looks like he's sticking his tummy out or something, and it's really hard to get him to stand up because he's so flexible and he's topheavy. And that's all for the Beast.

Are you disappointed that he doesn't transform into the Prince?
   Yes, very!! 

Would you be interested in this doll? If you had this doll, do you think you would play with him very much? 
   I kinda would and I kinda wouldn't. It's kinda like a hard decision. I like him in some ways, but I don't in some. 

I hope you enjoyed hearing from the girls. I always love hearing their opinions. It's interesting hearing how similar some of their thoughts are, especially since I don't have them read my reviews before I have them share. ;) As I mentioned in the Belle post, they were probably a bit more critical of tiny details this time around. We just rewatched Beauty and the Beast the other night, so the original character designs were fresh in their minds.

If you'd like to get your own Beast doll, you can purchase him HERE. There's currently a free shipping promotion for any purchase, and all of the new Classic dolls are still on the "2 or more for $10 each", so if you're thinking about purchasing any of them, today would be a good day. (The code's only good through today.)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Beast doll. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Will you be adding him to your collection?