When it comes to children’s toys, there’s an important aspect of marketing that all retailers, creators, and distributors should really focus in on. There’s the common saying of “not judging a book by its cover,” but in the case of toys, particularly dolls, appearances really do mean everything. After all, what little girl is going to want a Barbie doll with a blank expression? Or a doll meant to resemble beloved Disney characters only to look absolutely nothing like the character?
Children gravitate toward what they deem is real. To them, people in costumes at Disney World are the real Cinderella, Prince Charming, what have you. Dolls should be the same way. After all, the importance of keeping that mystery and wonder alive is extremely important to stimulate kids’ creativity, among other things. However, that may be extremely difficult to do when you hand a child a doll of their favorite movie character only to have it look absolutely nothing like them.
Unfortunately, even in 2019, there are still way too many dolls that focus on their appearances way, way too much. I’m pretty sure a lot of those Disney princesses didn’t have sparkly eyeshadow in the time periods they grew up in. Just saying.
The point I’m trying to make here is that kids need to have toys that keep true to their favorite animated characters. But they also need to be realistic — to some extent, anyway.
21 Lara Who?
Lara Croft is known for being a fearless, tough woman who can overcome any challenge thrown her way. The iconic “Tomb Raider” character has had many depictions throughout the year, but her look has traditionally remained the same. However, for some reason, Mattel decided to make her as a lifeless Barbie. Her plain expression just screams boredom. That, and has this version of Lara Croft recently showered or something? Sorry, but I don’t think anyone who’s recently explored a tomb would look this good.
20 The Wonderful Wizard Of Who’s Who
Surprisingly, Barbie has released dolls that look nothing like its stereotypical blonde beauty. However, in this case, Mattel went a little too overboard in making this particular set of dolls look exactly the same. Dorothy, Glinda, and the Wicked Witch all have the exact same face. Small noses, perfectly framed eyebrows, and pursed lips are all traits these three dolls share. But come on. We can’t even make the Wicked Witch look different at all? Surely she can at least stand out a little bit?
19 He Who Shall Not Be Seen
I honestly don’t even know what to make of this. First of all, I’m beyond shocked that Mattel even thought to make a Voldemort Barbie. Secondly, who would want a Voldemort Barbie in the first place? And third of all, what is this expression? Is Voldemort trying to sniff his wand? Is he studying it? Actually, I take that back because it looks like his gaze is on something above his wand. Regardless, making a Voldemort Barbie was a very poor decision.
18 Too Bold, Brave, And Brash For You?
Merida from the Disney Pixar film “Brave” is known for her wild behavior. She’s fearless and messy, refusing to fit into the mold of a prim and proper princess who marries whoever her parents tell her to. However, this take on Merida more or less switches her personality. Her tangled mess of a head is portrayed here as smooth, silken curls. And I know that blue dress is canon, but she literally hates that dress. Why put the doll into something the character herself hates?
17 Beauty And The…Wait.
I can still remember the weeks-long discussions so many Disney fanatics had when this Barbie doll first released. Mattel went an extra step with their take on Emma Watson’s “Beauty and the Beast” by attempting to make a more realistic-looking doll. However, I say realistic for a reason. More than anything, this doll looks like Justin Bieber. Now I’m aware that they re-released this doll because of its original appearance, but who exactly approved that first release anyway?
16 Let’s Solve This Mystery…
Sure, like every other person my age, I can appreciate any type of “Scooby-Doo” toys. But Mattel’s take on the leader of the gang, Fred Jones, is honestly as creepy as any monster chasing the crew. Here, Fred looks like he’s maybe seen one too many monsters in his lifetime. That, and Scooby’s grin is pretty scary, too. The outfit for the character is spot-on but everything else feels so out of place. It could be because they based the doll off of a cartoon character, but who knows?
15 Say It. Out Loud.
Let’s be real. At some point or another, you either went through a “Twilight” phase or were dragged to watch the “Twilight” movies in theaters by a best friend or significant other. And of course, there was a huge battle between Team Jacob or Team Edward fans. However, maybe Team Edward fans should take a big step back and realize just how much of an injustice Mattel did here with its Barbie take on the glittering vampire. No seriously, they covered this Barbie in glitter.
14 God Help The Poor Dolls
Esmeralda from the lesser-known Disney classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is known for her fearlessness, courage, and charm. And of course, villain Judge Frollo has strong feelings for her because of her beauty. However, this doll is a far cry from beautiful. I mean, honestly, this doll almost looks like Aladdin but with makeup. The doll’s face also looks extremely concerned, as if she’s looking for help. The only aspect of this doll that I like is her outfit. Mattel always does a great job with creating beautifully detailed outfits.
13 You Know What I’m Thinking?
You’re probably either sick and tired of hearing the words “Frozen” and “Let It Go,” but I don’t think you can overlook dolls like these. First of all, why were these Anna and Elsa dolls designed to be looking right at each other? How creepy is that? And what even are they arms? Can we call those twigs arms? I don’t even think Mattel gives Barbie that thin of arms, because they know better than that. The only compliment I’ll give these dolls is their outfits.
12 Hello There
If you know anything about memes regarding “Toy Story’s” titular character Woody, I’m sure you’re very aware of “Creepy Woody.” The action figure, released by Japanese toy company Kaiyodo, has an alternate faceplate where Woody’s eyebrows are raised and his mouth is set in a huge grin. People use this faceplate to pose Woody in creepy or perverted situations. Talk about ruining my childhood forever. I mean, why did Japan decide to make that a faceplate out of anything? That expression doesn’t even happen too often in the film.
11 Pikachu, Is That Really You?
Once upon a time, iconic Pokémon Pikachu was not the lean creature we now know him as. Originally, Pikachu used to be on the bigger side. This was way back when Pokémon were first introduced to the world. However, I had no idea that merchandise of this original concept actually existed. But what is this? A plush? A beanbag chair? Even Pikachu here looks like he doesn’t know what exactly he’s supposed to be. I think I’ll just stick with products that actually look like the current take on the character.
10 Honey, I’ve Seen Worse
Mulan is a fearless warrior who cares more about taking her father’s place in war instead of being beautified for the sake of getting a husband. So then, why is there actually a need for a Mulan doll in traditional, feminine clothing? Why can’t we have a doll of Ping to show little girls that it’s okay to not fit under the stereotypes for females? After all, isn’t that the main point of the film in the first place? Why convey that message only to merchandise the character in the completely opposite manner?
9 Nope, It’s Not Her
Okay, but when I first glanced at this Barbie, I really thought it was Taylor Swift! It looks exactly like her, and I could definitely see this being an outfit the country-turned-pop superstar would wear. But it turns out that this is actually DC Comics character Black Canary. I’ll be completely honest in that I know next to nothing about this character, and that’s probably because there isn’t a lot of film media out about her. Yet I also know that I’m not the only one who looked at this doll and immediately thought of Taylor Swift.
8 Yes, It…Is Her?
Now see, this doll is supposed to be of Taylor Swift, and yet it looks absolutely nothing like her. I don’t get it. How can a doll that looks like Swift not be her, yet a doll that is supposed to be Swift not look like her whatsoever? The first thought to come to my head is stereotypical Barbie. I mean, come on, the hair isn’t even right. This just feels like a very glammed up, poofy-haired version of your average Barbie.
7 Happy To See You
John Travolta is known for his cool charm and wide, bright smile. But come now, is it really that bright? This doll of Travolta is absolutely awful. Like, at the very least, couldn’t we have him somewhat resemble the heartthrob he was when he was in “Grease”? Honestly, this just looks like someone I wouldn’t want to encounter in an alley. The doll looks absolutely nothing like John Travolta and I’m sorely disappointed. Is it really that hard to replicate such a gorgeous face?
6 It Looks Nothing Like Her
So unless the media is trying to portray Drew Barrymore differently, the last time I checked, she’s not cross-eyed. However, this doll is leading me to believe otherwise. I mean, look at it. How can you even say that that doll is supposed to be her? If anything, the doll look more like Bryce Dallas Howard, but even she’s not cross-eyed. What were these toy designers even thinking when they took this on? What made them look at their final product and say, “Yeah, this looks fine?”
5 Don’t Mess With The Legend
Like nearly everything in the world, Mattel’s Frida Kahlo has stirred up plenty of controversy for just existing. When the doll first released, a court barred the sale of the Barbie in stores, stating that Kahlo’s family members were the only ones with the rights to her image being used. That, and I must say that the doll really doesn’t look anything like Frida Kahlo. It doesn’t even look like they attempted to give the doll Kahlo’s iconic unibrow.
4 At Least This Is Better
Remember when I brought up that Belle Barbie that looked like Justin Bieber, not Emma Watson? Well, here’s another take on the iconic Disney character. At least this doll doesn’t have an insanely large forehead and at least somewhat looks like a woman. But once again, this just looks like a stereotypical mold of your average Barbie. Also, what is up with this doll’s hair? That has to be the strangest, wackiest ponytail that I’ve ever seen on any doll before.
3 Harry Styles: The Boy Of Your Dreams?
Yep, I can still remember the horrific flashbacks of middle school when everyone and their mother was absolutely obsessed with “One Direction.” The band, consisting of five attractive males, grew to insane popularity. And of course, in that time, there was plenty of merchandise of the band to go around. And that includes dolls like these. These are dolls that are so ghastly, even Harry Styles has come forward to express his disgust about them. I mean, what is even up with that doll’s hair?
2 Aunt Who?
Aunt May of Marvel’s “Spider-Man” fame is known for her sweet demeanor, as well as kindness and helpfulness to her nephew, Peter Parker. And yet somehow, in some way, a person decided to make this version of this nice and innocent woman. I mean, how can anyone possibly look at this woman’s face and think, “Oh, what a nice lady she is!” That just looks like a face of someone who’s been stressed by the number of times she’s seen Spider-Man get beat up.
1 Nightwing, What’s Up?
So apparently, this is supposed to be an action figure of Nightwing, the well-known DC Comics character. However, I’m just having a rather difficult time believing that this figure is supposed to be this character at all. First of all, that hairline is extremely faded. Second, the outfit isn’t the most beautifully detailed hero costumes I’ve ever seen. Third, what kind of sorry excuse is that for a superhero mask? Heck, can you even call that a mask? At all?