The Lego Movie 2 Review (Hello Again)

Hello again LEGO verse! I saw The Lego Movie 2 last night and here are my thoughts:

Just like the first one, the sequel is a near barrage of pop-culture and Lego jokes. Even though it’s a kid’s movie many of the jokes come flying at you and are aimed squarely at adults, e.g. a joke about Radiohead! The movie starts right where the first one left off, the Duplo have just landed and begin attacking the Lego world. Instead of the reveal at the end that this is human directed play manifesting in the Lego world, we see more frequent live action shots throughout. The whole allegory is that the younger sister, formerly the Duplo user is trying to play with/alongside her brother and it asks the question – can two siblings play nice? It gets a little too heavy handed in this aspect at times but I respect it for going for an overall theme with some emotional heft instead of just being all silliness. They pretty much wrap this up at the end of this movie, it gets a bit Toy Story 3 there for a minute, so any sequels may have to just go for the silliness or not use the human control component. I assume there will continue to be sequels, Lego Movie 2 made $34 million in it’s first weekend and I’d think even if the movies just break even the merchandise sales are enough to keep it going. Hopefully any sequels will continue to be creative and not keep following the “everybody teams up to fight the threat to the universe” formula.

But anyway, plot wise, right after Duplo attacks we’re taken to five years later where they live in Apocalypseburg and it’s gritty and dusty, basically Mad Max has come to the Lego universe and it leads to some pretty funny moments. They could have spent more time here as far as I was concerned.

But then they’re attacked by a minidoll (I’m still not buying any minidolls) and they’re on the run then the main crew aside from Emmett is abducted and taken upstairs. They meet the villain for most of the film a Duplo face that seems to have LEGO pieces surrounding it, and likes to sing and rap. I really didn’t care for the character, there really wasn’t anything funny about it the way there was the first movie’s Lord/President Business by Will Ferrell.

So Emmett goes to save everyone despite worrying he’s not tough enough. He meets another Chris Pratt voiced character who is tough and has a spaceship crewed by velociraptors. From there it’s just all saving the universe and jokes sprinkled in with a somewhat satisfying resolution.

Overall, it was entertaining and not a bad thing to see in the theater, the sound of kids guffawing is probably the main reason to pay $15 vs waiting for dvd/streaming. Lots of good pop culture humor and a lot of Lego specific humor, a great scene where two minifigures fight in stop motion by banging together just like they do when you’re a kid and make them fight in real life. So I’d recommend seeing it at some point and maybe watching the first Lego movie beforehand to remind yourself of the characters if you’ve only seen once or a long time ago.

Lego Classic Thursday: 7683 Fight on the Flying Wing – Lego Indiana Jones

Back with more Indiana Jones.

7683 set

Set 7683 from 2009 and you get the plane, fuel truck and four minifigures.

7683 mf

Those are some of the nicest abs I’ve seen on a minifigure, nice mustache as well. The Indy and Marion Ravenwood figures are identical to the ones in the 7621 Lost Tomb set.

7683 cockpit

The plane is pretty iconic and has a forward cockpit and a rear gunner cockpit, which is where Marion gets trapped after Indy beats up the mechanic (and he gets chopped up by the propeller). This isn’t a plane from real life, the closest thing to look like this, the Horton Ho 229 was jet powered. Of course, if you have jet engines, you can’t get chopped up by propeller blades.

7683 truck

The fuel truck is in the set as well, so that it can leak everywhere and create a fiery explosion enveloping the plane. It’s nothing special.

7683 pilot

As you can see, the cockpit canopy is a special piece to this set. The Wing that comprises the plane is also one solid flat flexible type piece. With stickers of course.

This is another great movie set for recreating scenes.

7683 fight

FIGHT!

7683 locked cockpit

Another set if you like Indy, you’ll love. Given the large size of the plane, this set makes a great display.

Lego Classic Thursday: 7199 The Temple of Doom – Lego Indiana Jones

7199set

Look at that beauty- and head over to Flickr to see it bigger. Is it possible for a set based on a scene from a movie to be better than the movie? If it is, this set leads the way. While it’s not perfect, Temple of Doom is far, far from perfect. Again I’m using the “Classic” moniker on a set that’s from 2009, but the movie is a classic even if it’s not. You can’t go straight from Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Last Crusade, you need a buffer.

7199mf

You get Indy, Willie Scott and Short Round, to be chased and ritually sacrificed by Mola Ram and his two henchmen. Notice the tiny Lego head on ‘s headdress – a nice touch, it’s a skull in the film. Willie has her scream face, basically the thing she does for the whole movie “OHH, INDYYYYYYYY.” I find the constant whining and screaming tiresome, but Spielberg ended up marrying her. Maybe it was just acting?

Even cooler, Indy is missing his sleeve just like in the movie.

7199tallshot

So the set comprises the minifigures and the “temple” along with the mine car track. The layout isn’t exactly faithful to the movie but I don’t think that would be exactly possible, and it’s such an iconic scene/set that it translates regardless.

7199ihaveabadfeelingaboutthis

Here we’ve got Mola all ready for the sacrifice or whatever ritual he was performing. I know it involves tearing Indy’s heart out – literally. That’s not a feature included here. Everybody smile!

7199ritualsaycheese

The glowing skull stones move forward and the trap door opens in the floor Lego cage and pulley system not included.

7199sideview

The temple is fairly two dimensional. At the bottom there is a chopping sword, I’m not sure why, along with some mining equipment and jewels.

7199swordchop

7199firerockbrick

The “fire rock brick” is a fairly rare element in the set. Pretty cool too.

7199henchmenride

When it’s time to escape or just joyride around, hop into the mining car.

7199getaway

Willie Scott is still screaming. Short Round is still stereotyping.

7199sidestructure

The tracks pass through a second structure with rocks in the top (I think this is a rock hopper) that can be dumped into a mining car below. Not actual rocks of course.

7199rockdrop

This is obviously a cause for great concern from Willie Scott.

7199fear

But in the end, we know it all turns out ok. Mostly.

7199shortroundandwillieescape

This is a great set because it seems to really capture the scenes from the movie on a big scale. It has height and width even though it doesn’t have a lot of pieces. Let’s remember it’s based on a movie where 3 people survive by jumping out of a flying plane into a life raft. Of course, one of them happens to be Indiana Jones.

Lego Classic Thursday: 7621 Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb

Nope, I’m not dead. Aside from not updating the site for ages, I had some qualms about Indiana Jones sets and the “Classic” label. Too soon? This set is from 2007, not even 10 years ago. I would have posted sooner but I was wrestling with the question for many months. And even if you don’t believe that, which I wouldn’t for a minute, you have to be excited to see Indiana Jones.

Indy

He’s a superhero so cool he doesn’t need a secret identity.

I was lucky to have this set bought for me when I wasn’t collecting Lego, but somehow was aware enough to enjoy this. If only I’d bought the rest of the lot at the time. IF ONLY. This set has 277 pieces and only cost $20. A deal. The only thing is, if there was a set to include John Rhys-Davies in, this was the one. If you can find a Gimli and put desert wear and normal legs on him, it might work, but I doubt it. As it is, you only get Indy and Marion Ravenwood in the camp dress she’s given when she’s captured.

7621 minifigures

The set is a fairly good approximation of the tomb where they find the ark. The only problem with this is if the ark is in the tomb, Marion shouldn’t be because she’s only put there once the Nazis get the Ark.

7621 the lost tomb

You’ve got the large snake statutes and torches and some pretty good hieroglyphics via stickers.

7621 snakes, why did it have to be snakes

As you can see, I wasn’t very worried about making the stickers straight at this time. (Also it’s really stupid to put a sticker across 2 pieces.) This sticker has R2-D2 and C-3PO, just as they are visible on a column in the film. There are also 10 snakes to drop down and spread around the tomb. Though no pane of glass to separate the figures from the snakes for their big moment. The fun doesn’t end here, though, you can destroy the temple and see our hero escape through the back wall.

7621 tomb destruction

What a set. My copy is pretty dusty as you can see, but there’s a lot of dust throughout the Indiana Jones films, so I think it’s ok. I’m so glad I got this set back in the day. It sells for about double now, it was one of the cheapest sets of the Indiana Jones line, which came in two waves I believe. Recently I’ve managed to get a few more from eBay, so stay tuned for future Thursdays. Until then, KEEP YOUR EYES SHUT!

Some Lego Photography

With Helm’s Deep still hanging around I thought I’d try my hand at a more “theatrical” photo. So I put a CTO filter on one of the flashes I use and voila:

Helm's Deep Toss Me

Have a closer look on Flickr – just click on the image. I’m happy with the result especially since I got it pretty quickly. Someone visiting the site asked for more info on how we take the photos so here goes- BrickKnight Lego photography in a nutshell.

Background: As you can see in the photo above I used a black background, normally I use a white one. When I first started I tried paper but it wasn’t static enough, you had to get it just right and then if you moved the paper the minifigures would fall over and you were back to square one. So, I use Ikea Linnmon table tops. One horizontal as the base the other vertical as the background.

Camera and Lens: I use a Canon 6D with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens. Canon stuff is great obviously and the 6D is incredibly cheap at this stage for a full frame camera. It’s nice to have a full frame camera for the extra light you get and with the smaller space I have I can be closer to the Lego I’m photographing. A macro lens is a must have, it lets you get the little details.

Lighting: As I posted previously for lighting I use two Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites and the ST-E3-RT transmitter so I don’t have to have any wires connecting the flashes to the camera. This is nice since I’m cramped for space and have to take down and set up the equipment regularly.

Setup: I shoot through Westcott Optical umbrellas, I have a 32″ and a 43″, the size doesn’t seem to make much difference. I place these at roughly 45 degrees on either side of the camera and angle them downwards, placing them as close to the Lego I’m photographing as I can.

So there it is. As you’ll notice it’s not always the perfect setup, with only two flashes there are still shadows present but I don’t do the amount of Photoshopping that the Lego website does to have pristine (and somewhat fake) looking product photos.

Everything I’ve acquired for equipment was cheaper than it is now with the (big) exception of the Canon 6D. Canon usually has rebates going, the 100mm Macro lens should cost somewhere around $800. Obviously that’s a lot of gear. If you don’t have this much gear just keep in mind that the bigger the light source and the closer to the subject you bring it, the softer the light will be.

Review: Lego 10237 The Tower of Orthanc

Let’s finish up on Lego Lord of the Rings for now with the biggest set, The Tower of Orthanc. This set belongs to my friend who built it, I just photographed it (and not in the usual place so the photos aren’t quite as good as usual).

Pieces: 2359  Minifigures: 5  Retail Price: $199.99  Price I Paid: I didn’t

December January Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

First of all, this set is quite tall.

10237 main

28″ high to be exact.

10237 minifigures

It comes with 5 minifigures, two Uruk-Hai not shown and an eagle also not shown.

10237 Wormtongue

The only exclusive figure is Grima Wormtongue.

10237 Treebeard

Treebeard is also part of the build. The part that isn’t black pieces.

When you first look at this set it looks like a bunch of black pieces. However the overall shape/outline is extremely true to the movie I’d say and captures the evil and imposing nature of the tower well. Then, on the back side of the set you get several levels of little vignettes.

10237 back

10237 int3

10237 int2

10237 int1

10237 int5

And at the top we get all the little details of the evil that Saruman is up to.

10237 int4

The little details are really what make the set approachable at the $200 price. Even so, there’s a reason I don’t own this set – it’s $200. It would be great to have and put in the midst of a bunch of attacking Ents, but I just never set my sights on it and it’s unlikely I will now. The set is still available from Lego, probably not much longer though. I’ll stick with the usual and give this set a 4 for vision and execution.

Review: Lego 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep

Pieces: 1368  Minifigures: 8  Retail Price: $129.99  Price I Paid: $85+tax

December Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

9474 box f

9474 box b

Well, here it is. The biggest Lego Lord of the Rings set, save the UCS like exclusive Tower of Orthanc. This is the third largest set I’ve built after Arkham Asylum and Medieval Market Village. It took 3 solid hours of building to get it finished.

9474 minifigures a

Helm’s Deep comes with 8 minifigures, 3 are exclusive to this set. The Uruk-hai who carries the torch to light the bomb to blow up the wall, Haldir and King Theoden. King Theoden is my favorite, his printed plate armor piece is very nice. Then you’ve got Gimli and Aragorn (they really should have included a Legolas) and 3 more Uruk-hai – visible in the next photo along.

9474 set

The construction uses light grey, what some call bley, with a few dark grey and some light pastel green thrown in here and there. There are many 1×1 bricks and 1×2 masonry bricks involved. The building is done in sections then completed by “plugging” the sections into each other. With the exception of the keep section, which is meant to be placed directly behind the main doors.

9474 keep

The long plate raises and extends and creates a bridge to the rest of the structure – although there is no ladder on the inside so I’m not sure how you get down.

9474 keep interior

Inside there is no ladder or staircase but there is a lovely throne and some weapons and a turkey leg on a golden bowl/plate. Not nearly as impressive a Lego food display as Bag End.

9474 keep connection

There’s the “connection” – I’m not sure why they didn’t make it a little more complete but oh well, the keep is a nice part to have individually but it’s not going to figure in your massive battle scene.

9474 side door

What surely will feature is the side door that Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas – apparently called the “Three Hunters” – make use of to go back out and join the battle after the main door is sealed. It’s kind of comical when you think of it – “how do we get out of this huge fortress?” “oh, just take the side door” – and it leads to Gimli being tossed across the divide.

There is a big tower in the middle and a succession of three connected ladders to the top – I don’t remember this featuring much in the film, I think the three ladders are just a way to have the set seemingly make the top reachable. Unlike reaching the keep on the other side of the set.

9474 tower interior

9474 back

As you can see this is another mostly 2 dimensional set, the back is not really much to see or look at other than the tops where the armies can walk along. It’s less disappointing here, as there isn’t much shown in the film either.

Here is the set with the 9471 Uruk-hai Army set attached, extending the wall. As cool as it looks by itself, adding the wall really does make it look better – and, again, closer to the film.

9474 and 9471 lego

Once you have the two sets, you have quite a battle already, with 6 of the “good guys” and 8 Uruk-hai.

9474 and 9471

9474 set plus 9471

I may need to get some more elves though.

So, there it is. quite the set in some ways and not quite in others. I really think they should include Legolas here, he’s as crucial to the battle as any. And Gandalf the White would have been nice, at least they released him in a later set. On the outside this does look quite a bit like the scene in the movie, one of the most memorable scenes from all the films I believe.

In terms of rating, I’ll give it a 4. It cost $129 and I held off on buying it until I got it for $85 at Target, but it wasn’t widely available at this price so it wasn’t always a great deal for everybody. But now that I did get it and finally built it, I’m quite happy.

Review: Lego 9471 Uruk-hai Army

Pieces: 257  Minifigures: 6  Retail Price: $29.99  Price I Paid: $23

December Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

9471 box f

9471 box b

Another small set but it portends the big set – review coming on Monday – Helm’s Deep (which is properly called The Battle of Helm’s Deep). And I like this set a lot – so much I have 2. It comes with 6 minifigures.

9471 minifigures

4 Uruk-hai – making the set worthy of it’s name and 2 Horse-lords or soldiers of Rohan. One of the Rohan soldiers is Eomer so he is useful in your rebooted Star Trek MOCs or Bourne Identity MOCs.

9471 ballista

The Uruk-hai have a ballista which is pretty nice, so that they can attack the wall.

9471 base front

As you can see Eomer gets his own horse, so for those scoring at home, that’s 6 minifigures, 1 horse, 1 ballista and one wall.

9471 base back

The wall is designed to extend the wall of the Helm’s Deep set but even by itself it makes a nice set. The price was really good only $30 for all the figures and the horse and it was frequently discounted below $25.

9471 set

I have to give this set a 5. It’s not a scene stealer but it gives you a nice army and I can’t wait to incorporate it with the rest of Helm’s Deep.

Review: Lego 79006 The Council of Elrond

Pieces: 243  Minifigures: 4  Retail Price: $29.99  Price I Paid: $23

December Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

79006 box f

79006 box b

Going back to a somewhat smaller set, we have the Council of Elrond. A scene from the movie in which the Fellowship (of 9) was formed and here we have a set with 4 minifigures, 2 of which are in the Fellowship. This is a very isolated scene – where Gimli tries to destroy the ring. It would have been really great if that had worked, there would be about 8 hours less of the films. And this set would have gotten the treatment it deserves with all of the minifigures.

79006 minifigures

The minifigures you do get are Frodo and Gimli who are the same as before but then you get Elrond and Arwen who do not appear in any other sets. They are both quite nice and Elrond has a two color cape (which is then jammed down by his hairpiece). The elven hairpieces are the same, only different colors.

79006 base

The set is interesting as it has lots of colors you don’t usually see in Lego with the light green and orange red tree leaf pieces. The chairs for the minifigures to sit in are pretty cool but there are only 3 chairs. They also swivel – which is interesting to know they had swivel chairs in Middle Earth.

79006 set

Anyway for a set that has been on sale for less than $25 for a long time I can’t complain too much about it – but it would have been great to get the full scene. If it somehow went on sale for $15 then maybe I could buy enough sets for the entire Fellowship to have chairs. Of course, first the minifigures in this set would have to be able to sit in the chairs. I think ultimately I have to give this set a score of 3. It is mostly average. It is no longer available on Amazon but still available online through Target – for $22.49 a pretty good deal.

Review: Lego 9473 The Mines Of Moria

Pieces: 776  Minifigures: 6 + Cave Troll  Retail Price: $79.99  Price I Paid: ~$65

December Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

9473-minifigures-good-guys

This set comes with 6 minifigures, 7 if you include the large figure cave troll, which is pretty big, larger than the Wampa and Incredible Hulk. It is the only set that included Boromir or Pippin, while Attack On Weathertop was the only set to include Merry. As I said, Lego really made sure they spread the fellowship around so you couldn’t just buy one or two sets. When I took the photos I thought it came with Gandalf and Frodo as well (I figured every set came with Frodo, but now I realize that the extra Gandalf and Frodo figures I have came with the polybags Gandalf at Dol Guldur and Frodo’s Cooking Corner. This was also because the Brickset database lists it having 9 minifigures but that is because it includes two skeletons. I’m sorry but skeleton’s don’t count in my book. Or Bilbo’s probably. So instead of just reshooting I thought it would be more interesting (and easier obviously) to just put a big red X over the two figures I mistakenly included. Who doesn’t love a big red X?

9473 minifigures bad guys

Surprisingly (to me at least) this was also the only set with Legolas in it until the Pirate Ship set came out. I don’t own that one and probably won’t – that scene in the movie doesn’t really do anything for me and the set seems kind of boring. Put it this way, it costs more than this set did and I’d probably rather have three of these before I bought one of those.

9473 doors

This set is broken down into four separate “sections” the first of which is the door that the goblins smash through with their cave troll. The brown doors themselves are pretty nice and “realistic.”

9473 side wall

Next you have the side wall section which can break apart if you press a lever – the doorway also does this – a great playset feature.

The next two sections are smaller – the tomb of the great dwarf (who I think was Gimli’s relative – but are all dwarves related? (is that racist?)) and the well with the bucket and skeleton which leads to the excellent line “Fool of a took!”

9473 tomb

9473 well

Not included in these photos is a little bag of weapons you get – grey ones that are supposed to be spread around the room as if left by the dwarves.

This set makes for great battle scenes – and if you do spread random pieces around it would look quite similar to the films – obviously you might want to add four real walls.

9473 close up

But this is a pretty cool set the only reason I hesitated to buy it before was waiting for it to go on sale a little but in retrospect it is probably worth the full retail price. I’ll happily give this a 5 despite the price I think the inclusion of Boromir and the Cave troll and the real effort made to capture the scene in the film is worth it.

9473 set