You know, I'll be honest, I absolutely hate Larry the Cable Guy. I can't stand his comedy, he just annoys me, and if you want to share the feeling, go look up the video where he looks suspiciously like Dave Coulier, telling the same jokes minus the fake accent and redneck character. That being said... he was probably the perfect cast for Mater.
That's not to say Mater doesn't annoy me, he does. He was a fine supporting character in Cars (that could have been made better if they would have just cut out the Cable Guy catch phrases), but as a lead... well, there's a reason why Cars 2 is Pixar's worst movie. Cars 2 gave us Mater, center stage, as a spy. And at one point, a spy in disguise... and I'll admit, it was some of the actual funniest moments in the film that weren't insanely forced (unlike, say, the wasabi "ice cream" joke).
So, how does a little $7 impulse set of Ivan Mater stack up?
Well... it comes down to this:
Sorry, but I've wanted to do that absolutely terrible joke since I first bought this set.
The original Mater set was probably the best done of all the Cars characters. It was a great fusion of the LEGO and Pixar character, and captured the nature of the character. Ivan Mater is a re-skin of that, with a bit of upgrades to make him look cleaner. And in the movie, he certainly was cleaner undercover. After all, any good disguise has to include some dental work.
So, is a license number basically like a SSN in the Cars world? Seems kinda reckless to keep it out in the open like that. Overall, not a whole lot to complain about. There are some differences between this one and the classic Mater, take a look at them side-by-side.
The hood is an obvious difference, but it's really the mirrors that stick out. The mirrors on the Classic mater were done well, the new ones are tiny and really tacked-on. In the movie, the mirrors do change color and get "closer" to the body in the disguise, but they're still the same size. These just look wrong. Other than that, the tiles, which are dead-on accurate (seriously, he gets more teeth in the disguise). The hood is also too small, but that's more nit-picky I guess. Overall, a decent transformation.
And the same from the back...
Much less different here, other than the color. They're effectively the same from the back.
Really, there's not a whole lot to say about this set. It's a decent impulse if you were one of the people that liked Cars 2, or your kids really have a hankering for Mater (though from what I've seen, Cars is all about Lightning, which is why Cars 2 under-performed). It's simple and cheap. If you thought Classic Mater was worth $7, Ivan Mater probably is too. And unlike the classic, this version isn't stuck into half the sets.
What I liked:
- Simple and fairly accurate
- Cheap Impulse set
- Does a decent job capturing the change to the under-cover Mater
What I didn't like:
- Hood should have been wider... somehow
- Mirrors do not look right
- It's still Mater
Verdict: If you like Mater, pick it up.
You can get Ivan Mater at Amazon: