Sunday, May 28 2017 18:58

It's a Lie! Unboxing the Star Wars Smuggler's Bounty 40th Anniversary Box

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May 25, 2017 marked the official 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, and the folks at Funko marked the occasion by making their latest Smuggler's Bounty Box a themed affair to celebrate the big birthday. Since launching alongside The Force Awakens, each box (shipped on alternating months) has borrowed a theme based on a particular film (like the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), location (Jabba's Palace) or show (Star Wars Rebels). Over the past year and a half, the contents of the boxes has been a bit of a mixed bag, with certain months being fantastic, and others feeling sorta empty. It's unfortunate, but the 40th Anniversary Box hits on the latter note for us, which I will explain. First, check out our unboxing video...

The opinion of what you get out of a Smuggler's Bounty Box is largely dependent on who it's been purchased for, and what type of person (kid, collector, etc) that they are. I get these as something to be shared between parent and child. Here at Rock Father HQ, our growing collection of Funko Pop! Vinyl figures and bobbleheads are opened up, the boxes thrown away, and the toys themselves played with on a regular basis. Sure, we do have some on shelves here in my office, but they all come down when the girls wish to play with them.

The best boxes for us are the ones that include toys for the kids, and a t-shirt for dad. There have occasionally been hats, lanyards, and other types of fashion accessories, but the shirts are the big winner - though I do love the wrist bands from this month's box. 

Smuggler's Bounty - May 2017

What I could do without is the housewares. Han and Greedo salt & pepper shakers might've been the kind of thing my wife and I would've bought when we were 20 years old and in our first apartment, but as 40-year-old parents, I see them as kitschy junk. In fact, judging from the eBay listings (asking prices between $5-$20 with no bids), I figure a lot of people feel the same way - similar to when the C-3PO and Jabba the Hutt mugs arrived last year.

One of my big problems with subscription boxes in general is that there's just too much junk. In the case of Smuggler's Bounty, the 40th Anniversary was a big missed opportunity. The Deluxe Luke Skywalker and Landspeeder is absolutely fantastic, and has already been getting some serious play alongside the Deluxe Han Solo and Tauntaun from a few months back. The wristbands are cool, and I've worn them and so has our oldest daughter, Addie. The salt & pepper shakers are destined for the garage sale, and the cross-eyed Luke patch will end up in my top dresser drawer until I figure out a cool use for all of said patches.

Smuggler's Bounty - May 2017

With "Droids" listed as the theme for the July box, here's hoping that Funko is sticking to the real "meat" of why people subscribe. In the past year, we've received a novelty pen, a luggage tag, socks that don't fit, a C-3PO hat with black dye that bled into the yellow bill on the first warm day, and some plush that while cute, is pretty unnecessary.

My final point of criticism is putting characters on the box that are in no way included within. Luke was on The Empire Strikes Back Box, and here we have Princess Leia on the 40th Anniversary Box. Sure, there's no doubt some collectors out there who save their boxes, but ours get recycled, and from what I've heard from other folks - that's pretty common. In thinking of the new generation of Star Wars fans, I don't picture a kid getting excited to show their friends a cool cardboard box with a picture of a character on it. At least find a way to include said character as something tangible inside. There is a counterpoint that could be made about the box being a ruse to keep the element of surprise, but since the contents tends to be revealed early (the Luke/Landspeeder was announced at Star Wars Celebration), that doesn't really work. 

Overall, there's been more good than bad when it comes to Smuggler's Bounty, but I hope there's some refinement to come in the months ahead. When the inevitable Star Wars: The Last Jedi Smuggler's Bounty Box arrives, I don't want to find a set of Lightsaber BBQ skewers, Kylo Ren Toothpicks, or a Bacta Tank Water Filtration Pitcher in the thing.


James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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