donderdag 26 maart 2015
Another review up!:
Shaun het Schaap: de Film - recensie
A great stop motion film for the whole family this turned out to be. Would you have expected anything different from Aardman? I certainly didn't and I'm glad the finest stop motion studio in the world once again hit its mark. I'm ashamed to admit I've never seen any of the episodes from Shaun's own television show, so all I knew him from was his debut in the terrific original Wallace & Gromuit short A Close Shave (1995). It's amazing how little Shaun appears to have changed since we first met him 20 years ago. He looks largely the same, doesn't talk and is still the smartest sheep around. I like how Aardman sticks to its all too British roots and knows beter than to needlessly update their own characters to modern times. Both the studio's characters and its masterful level of craftsmanship and the quality that comes with it, remain a beacon of stability and tranquility in this troubled world of ours. And if that isn't enough to convince young and old alike to take the trip to theaters, the lack of dialogue which prohibits the usual exasperatingly obnoxious Dutch dubbing process is thrown in as a bonus. I just wish they could have dropped that annoying rap song that runs over the end credits. And yes, there's some bonus footage shown after those.
Now for Shaun's TV show. All 130 episodes... It's Aardman, so I don't mind at all!
woensdag 25 maart 2015
Year of release: 2002
-'Lava' Collector's Card (no number)
Description: the T-Rex stands in an aggressive posture, its head curved to the left and its arms outstretched as if attacking something. The tip of the tail is bent pointing upwards and to the left. The majority of this Tyrannosaurus figure is painted basic brown, while the belly, throat and base of the tail are coloured almost a yellow type of brown. A series of thick black stripes runs from the neck over the back and the first half of the tail, with additional black highlights on the head, also around the eyes and on the lower jaw, as well as near its knees and the back of the lower legs. On either side of the figure, a pair of long red stripes runs from the base of the neck almost to the end of the tail, while seven smaller red stripes are located on the upper legs. The facial area around its small yellow eyes is also painted red. The inside of the mouth is not painted, but the figure has white teeth, as well as black claws on both arms and feet and a white JP III logo on its left upper leg. Its feet are supported by extra small plastic bases in the same dominant brown colour, so it can stand on its legs more easily.
The Velociraptor stands in a stalking pose, its right arm and leg stretched outward and its head raised upwards with its mouth open, as if it means to jump onto something. The tail is raised upwards and bent leftwards at the tip. Most of this figure is coloured black, except for its throat and belly, which are painted reddish brown, and the very top part of the neck, back and base of the tail which is bright red and ends in a fork motif right above the cat like yellow eyes. The Raptor is equipped with a series of grey stripes, spots and dots of various sizes all over the black parts of its body. Both the claws and inside of the mouth are unpainted. The creature has white teeth and a white JP III logo on its left upper leg.
Analysis: this Lava 2-pack is one of the less successful entries in the otherwise fairly impressive CamoXtreme repaint line, both in regard to the paint jobs of the figures as in the overall idea. The original JP III T-Rex mini figure sported a paint job not all that dissimilar from this Rex, also with black stripes and a lot of brown (though of a more passive hue). The red stripes add a little bit, but are distributed in a rather dull fashion. Sadly, the Rex remains equipped with feet supports, which still quite often don't keep it from falling over.
The Velociraptor also isn't blessed on the front of originality with its new paint job. In fact, the red stripe on its back is virtually identical to the stripe on its predecessor. The black and grey motive adds more diversity though, but it's a real shame details like the claws and inside of the mouth were wholesomely neglected.
The whole idea of dinosaurs living in a 'lava' environment is generally both cliché ridden and ridiculous. Apart from the silly backward notion that the Mesozoic age was filled to the brim with active volcanoes on every corner, as often seen in comic strips and old Saturday morning cartoons, the thought of dinosaurs (or any animals for that matter) residing in a hot spot of fiery chasms and lava flows, as pictured on this set's collector's card, is stupendously idiotic. Tough and nasty as Rexes and Raptors were, lava would just kill them anyway, nor would many potential prey venture in such territories. And evolving alongside dormant volcanoes would not yield such fiery paint jobs. Hasbro undoubtedly intended the idea of a 'Lava' environment to spawn awesome paint jobs, but unfortunately the result certainly failed in that regard.
Incidentally, a large Lava Pteranodon figure was once planned for release for this CamoXtreme line, but it never got off the ground (yes, pun intended). No specimens are known to exist. That's what hot lava does to you if you're not careful, flight capability or otherwise...
Repaint: yes. Both figures were originally featured in the JP III toy line. The Tyrannosaurus came with the Military General figure in Wave I of that line, while the Velociraptor teamed up with Alan Grant, also for Wave I. Both dinosaur figures would be repainted over and over again for JP Dinosaurs 2/3 and JP 2009, up to the point we couldn't care less about either sculpt.
Overall rating: 5/10. If you don't own the original JP III sculpts yet, this set might be interesting for you: if not, it is a rather bland addition to your collection. It's just not nearly as good as some of the other CamoXtreme paint schemes and has little to offer beyond that, except for the nice new collector's card completing this set. The CamoXtreme 2-packs are a bit harder to find than most other Hasbro JP dinosaur 2-packs, but not (yet) excessively so. You can still find them irregularly on eBay for a fair price. These 2-packs were imported in the Benelux in decent quantities, making them also fairly easy to find there.
zondag 22 maart 2015
Getting back on track by offering all the news of last week up at once. Wasn't much of it anyway.
Eerste poster nieuwe 007 Spectre
My, doesn't Daniel Craig look like a manly man on the first one-sheet for the 24th 007 film? His eyes never seemed more blue. That alone should win over the womenfolk en masse. Plot details are few, but that matters little when it comes to a huge beloved franchise like this. It's James Bond, people know what ingredients to expect. This poster guarantees they'll get some of it, namely a tough protagonist and plenty of (gun) action. And likely the usual obnoxious product placement ads interspersed throughout the film, as his gun and watch seem ready for that. The general image suffices for the marketing campaign up to this point. The most important thing is the name getting the chance to nestle itself into the collective consciousness, building awareness for the impending movie well in advance. It's hard to miss on this poster. Even though for those more strongly interested than the general audience, it's still unclear whether it's 'Spectre' or 'SPECTRE'. But details on that and the actual story can wait until the promotional campaign kicks into higher gear, when trailers start pouring in. For now, suffice to know that, as always, James Bond will return. And so will Craig.
Nieuwe casting Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Even though we may be, Disney sure isn't done remaking its entire library of animated features into live-action films. We've only just had Cinderella, but at least three more projects are in the works, including this one, Beauty and the Beast. After all, it's a tale as old as time, so who cares there have been dozens of versions of this story already? The expensive and visually lavish French film was released just over a year ago, but casting on the next iteration is already in full swing. And some of the casting is certainly spot-on. Luke Evans as the arrogant hunter Gaston is a golden choice. Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson are always good reliably British choices. I'm more on the fence over the titular characters, as played by Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, respectively. Also very British, perhaps too much so to play supposedly French characters. Watson undeniably is a beauty, but I've got a hard time picturing the dashing, gentlemanly Stevens in any beastly form. It's gonna require a lot of make-up to hide those positive features of his. And how about the chemistry between both? So far, Watson has never played one on one with another actor for a whole movie, she's always done threesomes or group jobs (no, not of that kind!). She did well enough playing off multiple characters, but didn't often convince me on a smaller, more personal scale. Guess it's up to Beauty and the Beast to show me otherwise.
Pilot Let the Right One In in de maak
Another movie up for a television series, and what an odd choice it is. Apparently Let the Right One In has some staying power and enough of a franchise potential in the mids of execs in the TV industry. Despite being limited to one original Swedish film and its lacklusterly received American remake. I haven't seen the Scandinavian original. but I did see the US take on it and found it to be surprisingly strong for an American remake. Either they simply just got it right for a change, or the Swedish film must be exceptionally good. But a TV show based on this premise? I can't imagine it running longer than a single season. Boy befriends ancient vampire who looks like little girl. She helps him defend himself against bullies, he aids her in acquiring blood. Plus a little murder mystery on the side, but that's all there is to it. If they want to make a show out of it, even a short series of like six episodes, they still need to add a lot of details and new story elements to stretch it out. And apparently, considering the high praise for the original film, the story doesn't really need it. That combination of facts doesn't bode well for this project. But hey, I've heard of worse recently announced TV shows based on films, both good and bad ones. And since we're living in the Golden Age of Television, we can afford a badly adapted series or two. Enough good stuff to pick from. It just kinda sucks for the Swedes if their hit movie was among the poorly conceived shows out there.
Eerste trailer The Transporter Refueled
A change of main actor notwithstanding, the Transporter just continues raging on the big screen as ever. It never got to be a major franchise despite spawning two sequels, but it seems the Luc Besson studios are endeavouring to change that, having learned from surprise boxoffice successes like the Taken series and Lucy how the game works. Wouldn't be the first time an action packed movie series featuring fast cars and hot dames which everybody considered burned out after the third installment, suddenly picked up speed with its fourth entry. Remember Fast and Furious? However, that series benefited from the return of its hottest stars against the odds, and Transported Refueled does not. Jason Statham just departed after three films and left the steering wheel to Ed Skrein. What do we know him from? Playing bit parts in a bunch of action movies, but he's most notably known as the creepy Daario Naharis from Game of Thrones, before the hot Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) took over our collective notion as to what Daario Naharis should look, sound and be played like. So the appeal of the new Transporter flick isn't likely to come from the main star. Hopefully the fast-packed action, cool vehicles and scantily clad girls prove enough to entice audiences and ensure the F&F like future the producers no doubt envision. Fat chance.
Gainsbourg in Independence Day 2
Yes, ID4 2 is still a go and the cast is getting bigger by the week, whether we care to see a second film or not (most of us don't). Big European name Charlotte Gainsbourg - from those creepy sexually charged Lars von Trier movies like Nymphomaniac and Antichrist, that freak out American audiences so nicely - has joined the fight against the next invasion of evil alien grasshoppers. We have no idea what character she'll play as of yet. My hope is she'll play the French president who leads the heroic main assault against the sinister extraterrestrials in a fighter jet by herself. Not gonna happen. If she performs duty as a government leader at all, it's probably one desperately needing American assistance to combat the legions of evil, as these things go in Hollywood blockbusters. Maybe she won't play someone in office at all though, that might just be my imagination running wild. Face it, if the script calls for a strong female European political leader, anyone in their right mind would immediately cast Sidse Babett Knudsen, who would personally kick some serious alien butt. Given her recent repertoire, it's not inconceivable Gainsbourg will play the stripper girlfriend of the black pilot instead. Though maybe she's too old for that, and the black pilot they cast too young. Did Jeff Goldblum's character finally found a wife then? So many options, and not all of them as flattering to Gainsbourg's considerable talents, as you can see. It doesn't matter really. If not by Gainsbourg, alien ass will be kicked by someone else for sure. Because that's what ID4 2 will definitely be about.
Downton Abbey stopt
And some sad news to conclude this week. All good things must come to an end, including this one. I have yet to catch up with the previous two seasons of this delightful show, though I've heard they're not as good as what came before. I'm still sorry to see the Crawley family leave the air, regardless. Downton Abbey proved about as high class a show as British telly can deliver. Fabulous tale of sweeping change in both the higher and lower echelons of society in the first half of the 20th Century, proving both sides are utterly compelling and relatable in their dealings to stay afloat. Not to mention the strong assembled talent, always good for terrific performances. Usually quality English shows prove to last only a season or two, so we should consider ourselves fortunate it lasted as long as it did. At least Downton Abbey gets a chance to be wrapped up properly. A fine series like this deserved a fate better than cancellation, even those who ended up disliking it shouldn't deny as much. Oh well, as I stated before and we all know, the whole 'Golden Age of Television' thing. Plenty to watch. Let's merrily move on.
vrijdag 20 maart 2015
Year of release: 2002
-'Desert' Collector's Card (no number)
Description: the Spinosaurus stands in a walking posture, with its left leg posed forward and the left arm raised, its mouth opened as if roaring and the end of the tail bent pointing to the right. It sports a mostly tan or beige paint job, which covers practically the entire underside of the figure, except for the second half of the tail, which is black, while the tan covers the upper part of the tail. The other top parts of the figure (back, neck, upper jaw, part of the sail) reverse this paint scheme and are black instead. This black colouring ends in bent triangular stripes over the figure's flanks. The sail is festively adorned with white and orange stripes: additional orange highlights are found on the creature's head around the eyes and nostrils, while the lower part of the eye sockets is white, with small yellow eyes. A black stripe runs around the lower jaw from one side of the jaw to the other, while the Spinosaurus has white teeth and the inside of its mouth is dark pink. A black JP III logo is found on its right upper leg. Its claws on both hands and feet are not painted.
The Velociraptor stands in a stalking pose, its right arm and leg stretched outward and its head raised upwards with its mouth open, as if it means to jump onto something. The tail is raised upwards and bent at the tip. Most of this figure is coloured bright yellow, while its back, most of its head, the larger part of the upper tail section and the claws on its feet are painted black. The claws on its hands remain unpainted though. A yellow stripe runs on each side of its face, while blue stripes run around the jaws. Its throat is also coloured blue. A series of six white spots runs over its back. The eye sockets are white, with fairly large orange eyes and cat like black pupils. The inside of its mouth is simply painted black but has white teeth, while a black JP III logo is located on its left upper leg.
Analysis: Hasbro's fascinating take on camouflage paint jobs continues in this 'desert' themed 2-pack. It must be said, the previously fairly dull coloured Spinosaurus steals the show in this pack and looks remarkably good. Its intricate zebra or tiger like paint job makes an excellent addition to the CamoXtreme line. This little Spinosaurus might very well disappear in savannah grass (which is not the same thing as a desert environment though): it would have to be pretty tall grass to hide an adult Spinosaurus though, which is probably why the unreleased adult Desert Spinosaurus of this line featured a totally different paint job. At least it would work on a juvenile, though this Spino figure, despite its size, has too many adult features to ever have worked as a baby figure. Despite its inventive new paint job, Hasbro got lazy and ignored the claws, but that's a small oversight considering the paint scheme is still highly attractive.
The Raptor has a less successful paint job, though still much more original than its predecessor. Compared to the Spinosaurus it looks rather boring. At least it has painted claws on its feet, though the claws on its hands also were left unattended. Like the Spinosaurus, its paint job would work well in a dry grassy setting - which isn't a hallmark of most deserts: this 2-pack could have used a different name - but the blue colouring around its mouth might give it away. The way this blue is used looks silly anyway, like the Raptor had something with blue blood for dessert (get it?) and forgot to wipe its jaws clean. Also, the inside of its mouth definitely needed more work.
Aside from the paint jobs, there is little else to warrant attention to this pack. Both figures are nothing new and have zero playability options. The Spinosaurus is still a decently realistic miniature figure while the Raptor is about adequate but not particularly attractive. It must be noted, as it was above, that Hasbro planned to release a larger Desert Spinosaurus (which was a repaint of the JP III Wave II Aqua Attack Spinosaurus) for the CamoXtreme line, but it got scrapped. A single specimen appeared and got people speculating quite a bit, so when you read or hear something about a rare and valuable Desert Spinosaurus, it usually concerns that figure instead of this not so rare smaller Desert Spinosaurus, even though this one has a better paint job - by far.
Repaint: yes. Both figures were originally featured in the JP III toy line. The Spinosaurus came with Amanda Kirby in Wave I of that line, while the Velociraptor teamed up with Alan Grant, also for Wave I. Both dinosaur figures would be repainted several times again for JP Dinosaurs 2/3 and JP 2009.
Overall rating: 7/10. One excellent paint job, one decent enough, plus a nice collector's card are the only interesting things in this set, unless you don't own the original JP III sculpts yet. The CamoXtreme 2-packs are a bit harder to find than most other Hasbro JP dinosaur 2-packs, but not (yet) excessively so. You can still find them irregularly on eBay for a fair price. These 2-packs were imported in the Benelux in decent quantities, making them also fairly easy to find there.
donderdag 19 maart 2015
Finally, another review up!
Okay, so this movie serves us a most oldfashioned fairy tale imaginable and displays a shockingly conservative view on the role of women. Nobody will deny it. But if you can swallow that, it's indeed quite as magical a movie experience as it aims to be (and not even in obnoxious 3D, for a change!). I don't think the studio is excusing reverting to old social values, it just acknowledges a classic tale without feeling the need to utterly change it by updating it to appease a modern audience. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as this movie proves much more enjoyable than similar recent rehashes of old glory like Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland, which were quite bland and forgetful despite making the female protagonists tough and independent. Both qualities are sorely lacking in the victimized Cinderella, I admit. But this movie seems to say 'Oh, the heck with it! Let's embrace such ridiculously backward gender patterns for a change and acknowledge our true classics as they used to be, not as they should be today!' If Disney meant to say explicitly that women are either weak willed victims or total bitches with this movie, you honestly think grand dames of cinema like Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, let alone promising new faces like Lily James, Holliday Grainger or Sophie McShera, would voluntarily have signed up for this slap in the face of their sex? I think they just recognized the obviously outdated romantic plot for what it was and decided to run with it just to enjoy getting a chance to play such outrageous roles, so seldom seen today. And for the better, since if they occurred more often, that would indeed be suspicious and uncalled for. But it's not wrong to indulge in reactionary storytelling every once in a while, to appreciate just how much female roles have changed since the days these types of women were seen everywhere on the big screen.
Plus, the movie is at least a little modern in other regards. There's a black guy playing the captain of the royal guard in a court full of white folk. And him and the prince certainly seem like close chums. That wouldn't have happened in the original animated classic for sure. What a long way we've come!
woensdag 18 maart 2015
Not done just yet with the news of last week. Let's get that out of the way fast, since this week's news begs attention as well.
Titel eerste Star Wars solofilm bekend
I suppose this was last week's bit of 'breaking news' (insert exclamation mark or two). Even though the Star Wars spin-off films aren't nearly as hugely anticipated as the upcoming Episodes proper, they're still Star Wars movies. The title of the first solo feature, as directed by Monsters Man Gareth Edwards, is now revealed to be Rogue One. Still no plot synopsis, but if the name is any indication, it will undoubtedly involve the famous Rogue Squadron pilots, of which Luke Skywalker was once a member in the Rebel Alliance, before his status as a Jedi Knight took precedence. Rogue One is generally the call sign of the X-Wing Squadron's leader, so could it be about that? With Felicity Jones as the protagonist, will she play a tough female fighter pilot kicking some Imperial ass all over that galaxy far, far away? Sounds a bit like Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, but hey, that show took a hint or two from Star Wars itself. Maybe the title is simply a huge misdirect and the movie will actually be about something entirely different. Could be, considering the persistence of those bounty hunter plot rumours. But maybe they keep on popping up because people want a bounty hunter movie, as nearly everyone had hoped this first solo feature to be a Boba Fett flick. Doesn't mean that project is off the table if Rogue One is really about Rogue's pilots, since this certainly won't be the last Star Wars spin-off. From the talented Edwards, I'll take any Force filled Fighter fest I can get, rather than facing the inevitable letdown that's gonna be Abrams' Episode VII...
Nieuwe trailer San Andreas
Speaking of letdowns and things resembling other things, this trailer just screams 2012. The plot looks very much like that of Earthquake, except with one main character rather than multiple. I just can't understand why this hugely expensive project was greenlit so soon after 2012's release. Do studio execs really think Dwayne Johnson's presence and lots of visual effects are enough to entice audiences to go see it in theaters? Though I like rampant destruction as much as the next man, to my mind there simply seems little appeal to this film. The devastation scenes are gonna be fun at best, but never original or inspired, while the rest of it just seems utterly dull. Maybe someone in Hollywood knows something the general audience doesn't at this point, and the long expected big bang is finally imminent on the American West-Coast. A big earthquake with lots of property damage and huge numbers of fatalities won't be fun, but would make the film a hot current event at least. But other than that, I can only see this movie being shattered and crushed by the success of others at the box office.
Nieuwe trailer Inside Out
In terms of originality and box office success, I have more hope for this film, Pixar's latest. First of all, it has the Pixar name going for it. It may have taken a dent or two lately because of the lack of inspired projects, but it's still strong enough to stand out amidst a crowd of animation competitors. Second of all, the plot seems much more thoughtful than in the case of most animated features of late, and finally hails another Pixar original rather than a dreaded sequel or spin-off. Lastly, considering the success of characters like the Smurfs and the Minions, clearly colour coded little entities with distinctly different personalities are sure to appeal to kids everywhere en masse, so positive box office results are more or less guaranteed. The only thing in that regard I would have done differently is push the release date back a few more weeks, to stay clear more of the Minions movie and avoid animation competition, but otherwise Inside Out will do just fine. Will it be on the same creative level as the Pixar greats of the previous decade? I dare not speculate. It sure has a unique premise it seems, but whether it will connect to audiences without degenerating into a mindfuck? Probably, but certainly not a given as of yet.
Eerste trailer Hotel Transylvania 2
And here's a less original animated feature for you. An unavoidable sequel from a lesser studio, it's hard to deny. Doesn't mean it will be bad, per se. After all, everybody loves monsters, animated or otherwise. The success of the first film clearly established that, otherwise this sequel would not exist. So far, Hotel Transylvania seems to stick to relatable events, family squabbles and such. No creatures secretly controlling our minds, evil characters hellbent on taking over the world, or other grandiose plot points in this franchise. The plethora of strange and spooky creatures ensures the visual impact needed, while the plot keeps it much more down to Earth. Dracula's daughter has married an outsider (an everyday human) and spawned a halfbreed kid, and now his family, including his overly oldfashioned and conservative father, must learn to cope with current events. Hardly an unrecognizable problem. Just with unusual characters, vampires and werewolves and stuff. I like that notion of turning things upside down. Hopefully Hotel Transylvania 2 will acknowledge the potential of this emotional plot and not let the monstrous take priority over the human aspect.
Meer character posters Avengers: Age of Ultron
Speaking of inhuman characters, here's two of them. Mutants really, though that term is taboo in Marvel Studios's canon. Obviously the new Avengers were the last ones to get their own character posters, since the studio considers the popular returning characters the big audience draw, while these two still have to prove themselves. Quicksilver already turned out a great character in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but that of course wasn't 'Marvel's' Quicksilver. It's gonna be a challenge starting from scratch with the same powers and adding a distinct separate personality on the same creatively enjoyable level. Hopefully the sibling relationship with Scarlet Witch is utilized to maximum effect to make this Quicksilver a decidedly different and original take on the same character. Considering the simultaneous release of these character posters, it seems to be what Marvel is aiming for. After all, they could have mixed things up and paired either one of these with the posters for other newbies like Ultron or Vision (the latter still unaccounted for), but they didn't. Of course, the big question then is, will Olsen and Taylor-Johnson show the necessary chemistry between them to make us like these siblings? I saw the new Godzilla again this week, in which these actors played husband and wife. Can't say they did a particularly compelling job in that role. Hopefully brother and sister suits them better...
dinsdag 17 maart 2015
Year of release: 2002
-'Arctic' Collector's Card (no number)
Description: the miniature Stegosaurus is basically coloured in four layers. The lowest layer (the belly, throat, most of the lower jaw and underside of the tail) is painted light grey. Above that, the second layer is white, covering the legs, flanks and both sides of the tail. A number of grey spots and stripes adorns the white parts of the figure. The top layer is coloured black, covering the creature's back, upper jaw, top of the tail, and most notably, the plates and tail spikes. In-between the white and black parts of the Stegosaurus there's the final layer, an orange line on either flank of the figure, running from the neck to the end of the tail, ending just under the last set of plates. The eyes are yellow with black pupils and a black JP III logo can be found on its left back leg. The animal stands in an active posture, with its body bent and its tail dangerously sticking out, like it’s defending itself from an aggressor.
That aggressor could be the Spinosaurus that completes this 2-pack. It stands in a walking posture, with its left leg posed forward and the left arm raised, its mouth opened as if roaring and the end of the tail bent pointing to the right. It sports a mostly light blue paint job, which gradually turns into black on the animal's back, neck and upper parts of the tail and head, and dark grey on its belly, throat, inner side of the legs and lower part of the tail. It has a row of orange stripes on either side of its sail. Its claws are painted black (something they did not bother to do with the Stegosaurus), and it has yellow eyes with black pupils, white teeth and the inside of the mouth is coloured bloody red. A black JP III logo is found on its right upper leg.
Analysis: Hasbro's long time affinity with dinosaur 2-packs started with the CamoXtreme line, which delivered some of the very few actually appealing 2-packs ever produced. This Arctic 2-pack is among those. Though the Stegosaurus lacks some detail (unpainted claws, spikes and even plates), both figures sport an interesting paint job which very well might help them blend in in an icy environment (except for the orange highlights maybe). Aside from the paint jobs, there is little else to warrant attention to this pack. Both figures are nothing new and have zero playability options. The Spinosaurus is still a decently realistic miniature figure, which in a lesser regard applies to the Stegosaurus as well, though its front legs are still overly long compared to its hind legs and it has a rather goofy expression on its face.
Repaint: yes. Both figures were originally featured in the JP III toy line. The Spinosaurus came with Amanda Kirby in Wave I of that line, while the Stegosaurus had to wait for release until Wave II when it was paired with Amanda's (ex-)husband Paul Kirby. The Spinosaurus would be repainted several times again for JP Dinosaurs 2/3 and JP 2009. The Stegosaurus would only be repainted for JP Dinosaurs 2/3: interestingly enough, this Arctic Stegosaurus would be reused in its entirety (so no additional paint work at all) for the JP Dinosaurs 2 'Electronic Brachiosaurus with Micro Stegosaurus' set.
Overall rating: 7/10. Nice paint jobs and a funky collector's card are the only attraction in this set, unless you don't own the original JP III sculpts yet. The CamoXtreme 2-packs are a bit harder to find than most other Hasbro JP dinosaur 2-packs, but not (yet) excessively so. You can still find them irregularly on eBay for a fair price. These 2-packs were imported in the Benelux in decent quantities, making them also fairly easy to find there.