Pros: Christopher Lee, finally captured in plastic form!
Cons: stiff staff stuff (uh, keep reading)
...or "Don't Fire Until You See the Whites of Their Isengard"
Once a good wizard and ally of Gandalf, Saruman becomes corrupt in his quest for power and desires to obtain the One Ring for himself. He greedily rebuilds the once beautiful Gardens of Isengard into a breeding ground of evil.
It's a rare occasion when two cinematic heavy-hitters will try to unleash their merchandising juggernauts at the same time--most often, companies want their property to be the only one on the shelves. This season, however, we're having a good old-fashioned wizards' duel in the toy aisles, with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings duking it out for plastic supremacy.
Saruman the White, here, comes to us from the Tolkien camp. He stands just under 7" tall and has 12 points of articulation.
6'5" Christopher Lee (who, with over 250 television and film appearances, is the most prolific actor alive today and is also the only member of the Lord of the Rings cast and crew to have actually met Tolkien) plays Saruman the White in the film in much the same way he plays all his characters: "intelligent, unsympathetic, aggressive, humourless, ruthless, and totally evil." Wanna guess what his character in Star Wars will be like?
Toy Biz used RealScan technology to capture the actors' likenesses, so Saruman looks in plastic exactly like he does on the screen. His beard and hair are long and flowing down his body. His light robes have been sculpted to resemble cloth, and were molded from a softer pvc to give them a wider range of movement than the traditional plastic. No detail was missed beneath the robes, either (minds out of the gutter, you!); Saruman's boot-tops are just as detailed as the visible bits of costuming.
Saruman comes with his staff and the eye of Palantir, which (thanks to the magic of magnets) floats either on its stylized 6" tall pedestal or beneath Saruman's ancient hand. Each of the LotR figures has a unique action feature; the lever on Saruman's back raises his right arm, simulating sending a magical blast with his staff. Tres cool. The biggest drawback to the figure (and the basis for the weird "con" up above) is how hard it is to get his mystic staff into his hand--took me a good five minutes of pushing and twisting. If it was this difficult for me to do, how would a younger fan fare?
Despite being a less-than-admirable person, Saruman makes for an excellent toy, and will be a fine addition to your collection.