Back in 2018, I noted in the conclusion of my very first review of a Jurassic World toy by Mattel that they had managed to scoop up the ball and make a slam dunk after Hasbro fumbled badly. Nearly three years later, I’d say that assessment has been fully vindicated. Mattel has done a truly outstanding job with the license, producing a huge assortment of prehistoric toys containing relatively obscure genera such as Callovosaurus, Mussaurus, and Ornitholestes as well as longtime A-listers like the subject of this review, the eternally beloved Tyrannosaurus rex. More specifically, this is the 2020 Epic Roarin’ version, which my older son received for Xmas from my parents. At my suggestion. 😉
Mattel clearly gets just how hugely popular T. rex is by virtue of the fact that they’ve produced more toys of it than Kenner or Hasbro ever did. In addition to the ones that have already been covered here on the blog, there’s the impressive Bite ‘N Fight and Anatomy Kit versions (and if anyone reading this is up for submitting a review of either, please do so). I don’t own any of those ones, but like any devoted dinosaur collector, I made sure to inspect them all closely when I came across them in stores. And now having played with my son’s Epic Roarin’ T. rex for the few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that it is the best out of all of them. Allow me to elaborate.
From nose to tail tip, this toy measures 55 cm long and stands 21 cm tall when posed in a horizontal stance. Not as ginormous as the Super Colossal T. rex, or even the Bull T. rex from Kenner’s Lost World line, but certainly still big enough to please any child or adult enthusiast.
The main colour is a rather dull light brown with a yellowish underbelly, a slightly darker shade of brown on the tip of the muzzle, and a much darker shade of brown running down the neck, back, and about half of the tail. The eyes are egg yolk yellow, the teeth are yellowish white, the inside of the mouth is salmon pink, and the large hind claws are a very dark shade of brown (the dewclaws are unpainted). Compared to many of Mattel’s other JW toys, this is a pretty bland colour scheme indeed, but it is more or less accurate to how good ol’ Rexy appears in the films. And this toy is unmistakable as Rexy; the faded but still visible claw marks on both sides of her neck and body attest to that.
I’m not going to bother going into a lengthy list of all of Rexy’s scientific inaccuracies; those have been covered thoroughly in many previous reviews of JP/JW products. But I will note that, while her massively oversized feet aren’t pretty, they do a magnificent job of keeping her standing up, even on thick carpet as well as bare flooring. She puts all my beloved Kenner T. rexes to shame that way. And her sculpting detail is excellent, possibly the best I’ve seen on any Mattel product yet. Her body is covered mainly in countless elephantine wrinkles and her legs are well-muscled (except her thighs appear way too skinny when viewed from the front). Her toes feature the familiar rows of large, bird-like osteoderms and the soles of her feet boast sculpting as well as the JW Facts app on the left heel and the JW logo on the right.
But where Rexy’s sculpting really shines is on her gigantic head. Here can be observed scores of osteoderms ranging in size from very tiny ones on the lower jaw and the top of the skull to large ones around the fenestrae and on the famously “angry” brow ridges. It all looks really, really good, arguably on par with the sculpting work you see from the most popular dinosaur toy companies. Whoever crafted this toy possesses some seriously impressive talent!
Rexy’s shoulders, hips, and ankles rotate, enabling her to lower her head to feed on a fresh kill or rear up to a maximum height of 26 cm. Her arms and tail tip are made of rubberized plastic to prevent breakage. And indeed, she has so far stood up very well to my three year old’s style of energetic, rough, and often careless play. Since Christmas Day, she has been repeatedly rammed and slammed into other dinosaur toys, dropped on bare floor several times, and even thrown against a wall once (resulting in temporary confiscation) without sustaining any visible or serious damage. One tough T. rex, she is!
And now we at last come to the part you’ve all been waiting for. First, manipulating Rexy’s tail causes her neck and head to move about rapidly. She can rotate from side to side, turn her head to look right or left, or simply bob up and down. A simple yet effective and fun gimmick.
Rexy’s second gimmick is perhaps even more fun. Pushing the large button on her tail causes her mouth to open impossibly wide, revealing her full dentition and a long, pointed tongue. These bits are all made of rubberized plastic, so there’s little chance of the tongue breaking off or the teeth causing any injury. And naturally, of course, she simultaneously emanates a reasonably loud variation of that unmistakable roar that has pleased fans since 1993. But that’s not all! So intense is Rexy’s rage that her entire head vibrates rapidly (and somewhat loudly due to the mechanism)! Fun, fun, fun! You should have seen how thrilled my son was the first time he saw this!
Though I am an unabashed stickler when it comes to scientific accuracy in my own dinosaur toys, I also firmly believe in the value of fun. I know a fun toy when I see and play with one and the Epic Roarin’ T. rex is most definitely such a toy. It’s big and scary-looking, it’s a great likeness of Rexy, it’s strong and durable, and most importantly, it’s immensely fun to play with. Believe me, I’ll always adore my old Kenner T. rexes, but I reckon I would have happily swapped them for this one back in the day. So in conclusion, if you still haven’t added a Mattel T. rex to your JP/JW collection, then I absolutely recommend this one above all the others.