Monday, February 28, 2011

#0009: Scar

What’s your favourite Disney movie?

I’m guessing that the majority of people would name something from the years of 1989-1994. Some call it Disney’s golden age. Others call it a key era for commercialization and consumer monopolization. Me personally, I wouldn’t use that many ‘zations’ in one sentence, though in essence I suppose I just did.

It’s hard for me to decide on my #1 flick these days. They each have their own merits and shortcomings, and I’ve been yelled at more than once for spending hours on deep analysis of Disney films, when I could be trying to make something of myself. I guess I always just figured that somehow I was making something of myself, but realistically, comprehensive knowledge of Rajah’s character development over the course of the Aladdin trilogy isn’t quite as useful as a doctorate in physiology. My mistake.

When I was a kid though, the choice was easy. It had to be The Lion King. It gave you everything you could ever want, from endearing characters to Mr. Bean as a parrot. It was made of so much ‘yes’, you might as well have called it The Yes King.

By now you should understand that that would mean demanding a multitude of Lion King products. Toys, plushes, activity books… And yes, a sticker book, too. Those things were nightmarish money vacuums. But that’s another tale for another day.

For now, we’re going to get dark and sinister. That’s right, we’re going to take a fleeting peek at Disney’s own Claudius. He’s climbin’ in your kingdom and he’s snatchin’ your lions up, he’s Scar!

Accusations of a fetish for plastic be damned, this toy is just plain sexy. He’s wonderfully coloured, his face is full of expression, and his details are so precise… Plus, his chin is pointy as fuck. It could take your eye out, so step back. Scar is dangerous!

This particular figure has Scar sporting a particularly malicious snarl, making him battle ready, or plotting something wicked. It’s less appropriate for scenes where you’re trying to recreate his famous deception of Simba, because one look at that mug and you just know something’s up.

He also has a mane of delightfully shiny black hair. He’s a true greaser. A toy this fantastic surely created a generation of kids skulking in corners muttering about overthrowing their brothers, with horrible Jeremy Irons impersonations. Unfortunately, I never acquired an adult Simba toy to engage in fisticuffs with Scar, so combat was left in the incapable hands of his younger self, or Pumbaa, who was the only other one I had who was similarly sized. Come to think of it, Scar never did plunge off Pride Rock in my playtime. It’s seventeen years later, and Scar is still king of the ring. You’d think he’d have cracked a smile by now?

In his elder years, King Scar likes to strut the catwalk. He’s also closely involved in foreign affairs, carbon emission reduction and park preservation.

But future generations may not know of his infamous evil exploits. In fact, I worry a little bit for Scar’s well-being once he’s left my loving possession. Will the benefactors treat him with the fear and respect that he deserves? I don’t want to relegate Scar to tea parties with Barbie.

So as a test, I introduced Scar to a three-year-old with no prior knowledge of his tyrannical power and authority.

The results were a raging success. King Scar rules on, and all others tremble in his presence. After briefly sniffing him, granted, but there’s still trembling involved regardless.

So what does this toy actually do? Nothing outside of the realm of our imagination. He has no movable parts or rocket launching action, so he’s not really helping you along much with visual cues. Indeed, if you did fling his ass from the throne, he’d still just look pissed off and in a curious prone position of prowling. That alliteration did nothing to enhance that paragraph, incidentally.

Although I’ve just now discovered that you can tuck his tail in between one of his legs.

I don’t know about you, but I’d say he almost looks bashful now. As though he’s done something naughty that he’s trying to hide, or he’s come across a girl he likes. In my mind, the latter is unlikely.

He’s gay, you know.

He’s also a Chinese ambassador. I know this because his belly told me.

Don’t pretend you don’t see what it says on there. ‘Applause 4 China’. That’s right, subliminal advertisements in a child’s plaything. I don’t know if his propaganda ever got through to me, though on a completely unrelated note, this entry will henceforth consist solely of portraits of emperors from the Ming Dynasty.

Above you’ll see Zhu Yuanzhang. He established the Ming Dynasty in 1368, overthrowing the Yuan Dynasty and helping influence the growth of our proud nation tenfold. His influence was godlike.

Here we have Zhu Di, known during his reign as the Yongle Emperor. He strengthened Chinese culture through erection of monuments such as the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, as well as weeding out foreign dogs from our land.

I’m sure you already realise that this is Zhu Yijun, son of the Longqing Emperor. His reign was plagued with fiscal instability and, later, encroachment by the Manchu. Despite his faults, he is praised in Korea for his contribution towards defending the Chosun Dynasty against the Japanese.

This is Chip. His reign was brief and confusing, and consisted primarily of mass acquisition of acorns.

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