Planet of the Apes (Classic): Cornelius by NECA

It’s time to check out another figure in NECA’s first series of Classic Planet of the Apes line and I’ve decided to go with Dr. Cornelius. If you missed the my first review in this series, I’ll direct you back to that for a lot of nostalgic prattle about what this franchise meant to me when I was a kid. The first figure, Dr. Zaius was a character I loved to hate. Cornelius is the polar opposite. He’s George Taylor’s compassionate lifeline in a world that has turned into A MADHOUSE!!! AAAAA MAAAAAADHOOOOUSE!!!!!! Besides a general affection for the character, Cornelius was originally played by one of my all time favorites, the late Roddy McDowell. Until someone ponies up with a Peter Vincent figure, Cornelius will have to represent Roddy on my action figure shelves. Ok, let’s check this chimp out…



We saw the packaging last time and I don’t have much new to say about it. You get a collector friendly window box with a deco matches the character and it has a nice vintage vibe to it. I dig the character art on the front and the painted scene on the back. The front window shows off the figure beautifully and the side of the box is even lettered with “Planet of the Apes” and the character’s name so you can store them in a bookcase. All in all, this is packaging perfection.



And there he is, mild-mannered chimp scientist, Dr. Cornelius in all his glory. It’s crazy how iconic these ape costumes have become for me. I’d rank them right up there with the Classic Star Trek uniforms, but then that should come as no surprise since I grew up playing with both Mego Apes and Mego Star Trek side by side with each other. NECA did a beautiful job recreating his outfit. The leather tabard at the top of his shirt is nicely textured and the wrinkles in the shirt and pants are just right to make the sculpted cloth look convincing. I think if I had one gripe it would be that the shirt should come down just a bit farther, but then I could be remembering the costume wrong. Oh yeah, check out the chimp-feet-shoes. Love them!



The portrait here is quite good, although I think it may be a smidge below the total homerun that we saw with Dr. Zaius. I think the two main issues I have is that the hair is a little too tightly coifed and the face is a little too dirty. Keep in mind, these figures are important to me so I’m being ridiculously picky. Once again, I like that this looks more like the actual character than an actor in a chimp mask and it’s all around great work.



Remember the Sacred Scroll that came with Dr. Zaius? Well, you get the same thing with Dr. Cornelius. Here’s the one disappointing thing with this figure. While it’s nice to have two scrolls, double dipping on the accessories in the same wave of figures seems like foul play. Surely there was some sciencey stuff that could have been included with Cornelius instead.


Cornelius features solid articulation. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. You also get ball joints in the wrists and a ball joint in the neck. He’s a scientist… he doesn’t need to be able to bust out in crazy action poses, so what’s here is plenty good.



Two apes in and I’m still totally digging on NECA’s Classic PotA figures. I may have nitpicked a few things here and there, but that’s just because the property is really important to me and I hold NECA to some mighty high standards. The truth is that this is an outstanding figure and one that I’m totally happy with getting. Sure, at $20 he feels a little wanting in the accessories, but even with a hit remake movie in the cinemas, these figures are directed at a niche market of collectors, so I’m fine with whatever NECA needed to charge to get these apes into my hands. Next time I swing back to this line I’ll wrap up the first series with a look at the Gorilla Soldier.

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