Indiana Jones Collectors Review: Rene Belloq (Ark Ceremony)
(Raiders of the Lost Ark)
Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498) Review Date: 6/10/2008
The best villains are those who are the dark reflection of the hero. These villains have moral codes and motivations that perfectly clash with those of the hero. These are the villains that make for great storytelling, and the pantheon of cinema is filled with them. Sherlock Holmes had Professor Moriarity. Batman had the Joker.
Indiana Jones had Rene Belloq.
Indy’s equal in many ways, Belloq was the dark reflection of Dr. Henry Jones Jr. Where Indiana sought knowledge, Belloq sought fortune. Where Indiana valued truth and fairness, Belloq dealt in lies and deceit. Where Indiana placed faith in science and empirical data, Belloq placed faith in the spiritual and supernatural. It is that faith which drove Belloq to find the lost Ark of the Covenant. Dressed in ceremonial garb, he opened the Ark and found a power beyond his expectations—and his control.
For their first rendition of Rene Belloq, Hasbro chose the final appearance of the mercenary archaeologist, and like the Ark, it turns out to be much more than expected.
PORTRAIT: Average (Bordering on Above Average)
Unlike the “Temple Idol” Indy and Irina Spalko figures, “Ark Ceremony” Belloq actually comes close to being a decent action figure representation of actor Paul Freeman. Central to this is the blocky shape of Freeman’s face, and the general shape and placement of the facial features on Hasbro’s figure seem to sync up decently. Unfortunately, they gave Belloq a dopey expression, which threatens to push this portrait into a caricaturish realm. Additionally, the left eye has some bleeding in the white paint, something that seems to be a common flaw in the Indiana Jones line.
Nevertheless, this is one of the better portraits among the main character figures so far.
At this point, it really seems as though the portraits and costumes are being produced by two completely different companies. Like Indiana and Spalko, Belloq’s costume is extremely faithful to the source material with only a few flaws. While the jeweled breastplate is certainly the eye-catcher of the figure, the most impressive element of Hasbro’s work is the checkered pattern on Belloq’s tunic. Close inspection does reveal many areas where the paint and lines fail to connect, but it inadvertently becomes a very positive attribute as it adds a great deal of texture to the costume. Hasbro also effectively simulated the folding and tying of cloth. Combined with the ribbed texture and painted patterns on the stripes, the entire outfit results in something that simply overflows with detail. As for the head dress, it is very faithful to the screen costume, and the sculptors have successfully simulated its multiple layers of cloth.
The ceremonial breastplate is no different in terms of overall quality and execution. Yes, the paint is flawed on some of the jewels, and the color pattern does not completely correspond to the screen prop. However, these flaws, for some elusive reason, do not negatively impact the overall aesthetic quality of the figure. In fact, it even enhances the figure through its use of forced perspective. Looking at the figure head-on, the plate and the straps appear to be a single piece. In reality, both are separate. The straps are a sculpted part of the tunic, and the plate is separate piece that is permanently fixed on the chest.
Belloq features the least amount of joints and the most limited range of motion in the Indiana Jones figures reviewed thus far. It lacks knee articulation, and the ball-hinged ankles on this sample are so abnormally tight that forcing them could very easily result in breakage. Additionally, the robes covering the legs heavily restrict movement at the hips, and the bulky sleeves hinder the ball-hinged elbows. Essentially, Belloq is a “statuesque” type of figure, meaning all it really does is stand there. However, this figure doesn’t need super articulation, and mixing soft goods into the design would have greatly harmed the aesthetic quality. In the end, Hasbro made the right calls here.
ACCESSORIES: Above Average (Bordering on Average)
Hasbro continues their remarkable attention to the finer details with regards to accessories. The sculptors did an exceptional job miniaturizing the ram heads on Belloq’s staff. The contours give great dimension and definition to the piece, and the facial features of the three ram heads are amazingly precise. Sadly, the staff suffers from one deeply detrimental flaw. The plastic used is far too flimsy and weak. That leads to permanent warping due primarily to having to pry it out of the packaging. The end result is a wavy staff.
OVERALL RATING: Above Average
Considering the limited poseability and goofy portrait, it was surprising that my overall impression of this figure ended up so favorably. The fact is that Hasbro’s craftsmanship on the costume is just that spectacular. It also helps that one of the initial deluxe figure releases includes the Ark of the Covenant. It may seem odd to say that a $7 figure is a better purchase if you spend an additional $10. However, the Ark is integral to this version of Belloq. In fact, it would have been a better companion piece for the Ark instead of “Map Room” Indiana Jones. Besides, the Ark has been executed so fabulously that any serious Indiana Jones collector will undoubtedly buy it as soon as they see it anyway.
Bottom line—get Belloq and make sure you grab the Ark to go with him.
This site is in no way affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd. or Paramount Pictures. The site is updated and maintained by Fans of the Indy Movies and Collectibles. Copyrights and trademarks for the films, books, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners. This is a fan site for collectors of Indiana Jones Toys and Collectibles.
IndianaJonesCollector.com, JonesCollector.com and IndianaJonesCollectors.com are owned and operated by Kid4Life LLC. All Rights Reserved.