Watch the video, then check out our detailed written review below!
Back in March, Beyond the Marquee invited you behind-the-scenes to the Mattel Design Center in Los Angeles, for a sneak peek at the early developmental stages of the Back to the Future Part 2 replica prop Hoverboard from Matty Collector. We were excited to share our Exclusive segments with fans, not only via the Internet, but also at this past year’s Comic-Con in San Diego at the Mattel booth. Now, 8 months later, we have received one of the first runs of the finished product, fresh off the assembly line and ready to be shipped out to all those who placed their orders early.
Did Matty Collector’s commitment to deliver a high-quality electronic prop replica of the futuristic skateboard that Marty McFly rode in the film meet the quality and satisfaction standards of loyal fans? Did bringing in screen-used Hoverboards from the film by Bob Gale, the film’s Co-Creator/Writer/Producer, ensure the highest level of detail and accuracy for this high-end collector’s toy? Beyond the Marquee’s co-hosts Steve Czarnecki and Jon Donahue provide a detailed review of the Hoverboard prop replica, from the opening of the box to the inspection of all the special features that were so highly teased and anticipated by fans around the world. Check out our video and read our review after the jump!
MATTY COLLECTOR’S BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 2, HOVERBOARD PROS & CONS
(Click on any of the product images below to enlarge)
PROS: Looks Fun and Fitting for a Child’s Toy, Colorful and Eye-Catching. The box itself is a piece of art, worthy of being displayed alongside the Hoverboard itself.
CONS: For the Collector who shelled out good money for this, they could have found an alternate way to secure the ends of the box, like the tuck in tabs of the main white box it came in. The Hoverboard box ends are sealed with a glue and unless you are super patient and extremely careful opening it with a letter opener of sorts, you run the risk of ripping or damaging the box (just as we did). Had this been a $20 box of a common toy or game, it may not have mattered and a little tape would mend it, but for this price, the box is as valuable as what’s inside. We do wish the words Adult Collector weren’t so prominent on the face of the main box as it takes away the illusion of this being a real Mattel toy we may buy in an alternate 2015. It was teased that the box would say ©2015, but we didn’t see it. Sounds silly, but that was the first thing we looked for upon opening.
One point that we just don’t understand is how Mattel deemed it necessary to include the byline on the back of the box stating, “HOVERBOARD WILL NOT ACTUALLY HOVER.” Did they really need to include that warning on an item that they have carefully labeled as ADULT COLLECTOR? We saw Mattel’s great repros of the Ghostbusters PKE Meter and Ghost Trap. We’re just wondering, did they include a “WILL NOT DETECT OR CAPTURE GHOSTS, SPIRITS OR APPARITIONS” on those boxes as well? How about their He-Man collector’s items? Any warning on He-Man’s sword stating “SWORD WILL NOT TRANSPORT YOU TO CASTLE GRAYSKULL”? Mattel could have used that space to put “Warning: Will not work on water” and further sold the overall fantasy aspect of owning a collectible Hoverboard. (on a lighter note, we think this may be the result of some decision from Mattel’s legal team … someone should tell them that they’ve abolished all lawyers in 2015.)
PROS: Clear plastic gives the illusion that it’s hovering and allows the Hoverboard to be displayed on it’s side. Though hard to see unless inspecting very closely, the Back to the Future Part 2 logo is etched into the display stand.
CONS: Upon various attempts, the board did not seem to sit in a steady and secure position within the cradle of the stand. Even after attempting to lock the display stand into the base of the board, it wobbled and felt like it could have toppled out if jarred. The stand also limits you on how and where you can display it. You really only can have it lying down horizontally on a coffee table, desk or shelf of some sort. Unless, however, you choose to prop it up on it’s base standing up, in which case, it may have been nice if there was a way to allow an option for a bracket/support for the collector who wishes to hang it vertically on his/her wall.
PROS: The instructions seem easy to follow and it contains a nice preface about the team’s determination to build the best Hoverboard possible with the help of Bob Gale and Michael Lantieri who were part of the original Back to the Future film trilogy production. Detailed instructions about batteries, sounds, display stands, etc. are all included.
CONS: For a collector’s piece, it would have been nice to have this in color.
PROS: Board vibrates and rumbles when sounds are activated. Various motions deliver an assortment of sound effects taken from the film. As promised, motion sound sensor shuts board down when tucked under arm or held sideways.
CONS: We were there in the design booth when we saw Mattel’s techs sampling the actual sounds from Universal’s sound effects collection for Back to the Future II. We understand that they didn’t get entirely clean sounds from the film and had to go through and isolate some of the effects, but the end result is something that sounds more akin to a generic sci-fi sound effects CD than something from Back to the Future. It made us wonder if Universal Studios decided to renege on letting Mattel use the actual sounds from the movies.
The speed of sound … well, that’s actually a factor here. The sound effects (what we would term as the Hoverboard’s static hovering effect) are short-lived. That particular stationary sound lasts about 5 seconds and then shuts off. Seems like the board’s focus is on battery preservation. As for the side-to-side, up-and-down sound effects, they’re almost indistinguishable and again, not very clear through that overly loud speaker. Mattel could have easily incorporated a well-hidden on/off button in one of the curves of the Acceleration Booster (battery) box – next to a better placed, central speaker system.
One additional sound that we didn’t like was the motion-sensor bearings that ended up making it sound like the board had a few broken pieces of plastic floating around inside the case. We’ve heard pedometers that are quieter than that. The activation on and off sounds were very reminiscent of a Star Wars lightsaber. Plus, it took a few good tries of re-positioning the board and exaggerating motions with it to get it to activate. Note: The 3 AAA batteries required to operate it are NOT included, which for the price you’re paying, you’d think they would. So be sure to buy your batteries and get a Phillips screwdriver handy for when it arrives.
GLIDING (HOVERING) EFFECT:
PROS: On carpet this works great and as demonstrated, it does as promised. For a short distance the effect is smooth and gives a gliding, hovering effect, pretty awesome! (Note: we were warned not to try this on water, unless we had power!)
CONS: Unless you want your Hoverboard to have a played with and weathered look to it, we wouldn’t attempt gliding it across any other surface but carpeting for fear of scratching up the pads on the bottom of the board.
THE HOVERBOARD ITSELF:
PROS: First impression … whoa this is heavy! And we’re not just quoting Marty McFly on that point. The board has some heft to it and you would think that with a focus on some realistic weight, that would be a good indicator. It’s a nice solid piece, and it looks like the team did their best to match the colors, sizes, layout and details off the Back to the Future Part 2 screen-used Hoverboard props Bob Gale brought in for reference for the design team to inspect. The foot pad in the back rotates, the colors seem to match those from the film and it feels as sturdy as a modern day skateboard.
CONS: The board is heavy and unbalanced. The flip fin toward the back is about double the weight of the board in the front and this leads to the issue of the stand not working and making it nearly impossible to balance the board correctly. We tried using the stand with our boards and couldn’t get one to stay put for more than 5 seconds. Most of that weight is from a speaker that is designed and integrated into the back of the board. We think the problem here is that Mattel was so focused on getting the board to vibrate when the sound was activated, that they picked a large speaker to achieve that effect. In doing that, however, the speaker creates a very noticeable bump in the flip fin and also drowns out any sound quality with too much bass. Why not put the speaker in the middle of the board?
Lenticular stickers. Well, they don’t exist in Mattel’s world, it seems, and they are sorely missing from these Hoverboards as the lenticular effect is one of the most important features on the entire design of the board. We’re curious about Mattel’s attempts at several options and not finding a successful medium to work with to create lenticular stickers. Sticker quality. Okay, so the lenticulars aren’t there and the replacement option Mattel used is something that is lenticular-ish (only from a distance). The problem, however, is poor application of the stickers from the factory and already bubbling and peeling quality, straight out of the box. This has been noted on the mini-Hoverboard as well.
The foot strap is way too large and not adjustable. We know the board is not intended for standing on – unless you can’t return or sell yours and you need to vent your frustration at Mattel. However, you would think that Mattel would realize some people are going to want to slip the board on a foot and take a picture. We think they designed this particular foot strap to accommodate Griff Tannen’s boots, not realizing that he’s a Pit Bull rider.
The plastic casing of the Hoverboard could use some improvement as well. We found a lot of corners and seams to be jagged, misaligned and those problems were further exacerbated by the less-than-stellar sticker applications. We also feel that Mattel could have painted the screw base for the handlebars in black to match the screen-used boards.
Matty Collector continues to deliver on creating some memorable electronic movie replica props based on some of our favorite movies from pop-culture. Their PKE Meter and Ghost Trap from Ghostbusters were impressive and the Back to the Future Part 2 Hoverboard should be no exception. Based on what we inspected, for a replica prop that’s as screen accurate as it can be with sound and great packaging, this is one that most fans can be very content with. We truly believe that Mattel’s Marketing Manager, Scott Neitlich, is a true Back to the Future fan who tried his best to recreate a Hoverboard that could live up to the expectations of fans around the globe. We spent a good amount of time with Scott and his enthusiasm is genuine and his concern to make a quality product was at the forefront.
Our original interviews with Matty Collector’s Marketing Manager, Scott Neitlich and Back to the Future Co-Creator/Writer/Producer, Bob Gale, are featured below. Check them out and compare the initial statements with the Hoverboard you received and let us know your thoughts in our comments section below.
Beyond the Marquee: The Web-Series *Extended Edition* (Episode 10) EXCLUSIVE Look at Mattel’s HOVERBOARD Prop-Replicas : PART 1.
Beyond the Marquee: The Web-Series (Episode 12) BOB GALE MATTEL HOVERBOARDS : PART 2.
(Editor’s Note: I must say, the Matty Collector prop replica Hoverboard looks pretty much at home along with the rest of my own personal collection of replicas and collectibles … Steve Czarnecki)