Posts Tagged ‘Lord of the Rings’

LEGO Mines of Moria

Posted: January 8, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Legos
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The holidays brought a plethora of nerdy goodness. With the holiday spoils, we ordered a copy of the soon-to-be-discontinued Mines of Moria LEGO set. It looks good on the box, but rather small in scale for how expensive the set is.

LEGO Mines BoxBox art.

Have just put it together, I have to say the scale is MUCH bigger than it appears. It looks to be a bit over a foot long counting both pieces. The pieces are about 6 inches tall as well. The Cave Troll looks about twice the height of a minifig in the pictures, but in person, it is MASSIVE.

LEGO Mines 1Hobbit’s eye view.

You can see a few nice detail bits that are added as stickers on the bricks. They give it a nice touch without going too overboard. Their are some great little brick details as well leading to a nice overall look.

LEGO Mines 2The Fellowship vs. Moria Goblins…and friend!

You can kind of see the action features in this shot. The big door behind the Cave Troll opens and includes a long axe to bar the door with. The sarcophagus  top comes off with a skeleton “launcher” built into it. The pillars have levers that knock them over. The treasure chest slides out from below the walkway. Not all interesting, but enough good action features that it still ends on a high note.

Overall impression is that the set is WELL worth the asking price. The LotR and Hobbit sets have been consistently high quality and include interesting techniques that are new to me. Definitely recommend if you like the LotR LEGO sets!

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LEGO : The Video Game Series

Posted: December 5, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Legos
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LEGO LOGO

LEGO entered the video game world years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that the name has come to be a reliable brand for quality licensed titles. The turning point was LEGO Star Wars by Traveler’s Tales. This game, released in 2005, was not only the best LEGO video game at the time, but arguably one of the best Star Wars video games as well.

LEGO Star Wars

The game supported two players and minimal penalty for “dying”. Your character would lose some Studs (the games currency used to by extra characters and other add-ons) and you would re-spawn. This made it great for not only younger players, but for people who didn’t necessarily play video games very often. The comedic approach also made the whole thing more approachable and accessible in comparison to most “hardcore” gaming titles then or now. The familiar Star Wars trappings did nothing but favors to the whole proceeding. Kids and adults could enjoy interacting with some of their favorite characters in familiar locales told in a comedic fashion with no voice-work, just pantomiming and general grunts. Win all around!

LEGO Star Wars 2

Of course, success, especially in the video game world, always breeds sequels. The followup, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy followed the story of the original movies and refined the formula subtly. No large changes were made, but the formula was still fresh and it still worked. Good thing because it didn’t change through Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Batman and Indiana Jones.

LEGO Batman

One thing that remained consistently entertaining through all of these early titles is the sense of humor. For example, Batman feels like Adam West trying to be Micheal Keaton. The silliness was enough that we had to stop to laugh at the game several times in the first level. You are given special suits for environmental puzzles. Batman makes himself a glide suit. For Robin…magnetic shoes. That look like trash can lids. Yeah. This kind of silly humor is all over the series and makes it very much worth playing through the back catalog.
The first innovation in the series after this point didn’t come until LEGO Indiana Jones 2, the 6th game in the Traveler’s Tales LEGO series. This was the first title to support split screen play. Early games relied on fixed camera and players were forced to stay within a fairly close proximity. The split screen shifts and adapts to the characters position relative to each other on the map and lets the players explore individually while still being able to figure out where they need to go to get back together. This allowed for larger levels and more exploration leading into the Harry Potter games and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Each of these follow ups added a more extensive and interactive hub area where the players could unlock items and select what levels to play next. Harry Potter focused more on exploration, the levels all branching out from a central hub in the middle of Hogwarts school. Pirates of the Caribbean had a dock area with two extensions where there were further puzzles to play with and being a hub for all of the unlock-able characters to play in. Some unlocked characters were even required for some of the hub puzzles!
The next innovation was added in Star Wars III: Clone Wars. It was the first LEGO title to include voice acting in addition to the pantomimic comedy of the early titles. Batman 2 followed and is considered the first fully voiced LEGO title.

LEGO LOTR

Following on that was Lord of the Rings. This one stretches across the whole trilogy and includes voice samples from the movie in addition to the usual pantomiming. You would think that something so very dark in subject would be difficult to make funny, but you would be very, very wrong. The other thing that Lord of the Rings added was a fully realized over-world. You travel all over Middle Earth and interact with towns that have their own puzzles and unique interactions. That is broken up by the more action oriented scenes from the movies in their own scene that then leads you back to the next part of the over-world. This is (according to Wikipedia) the first “open world” game in the series and I would not disagree. This open world has lead into the latest game in the series; Marvel Super Heroes which (I am told) also features a narrator in many parts in addition to the voice-work.

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Once these games get their hooks into you, they stay there! You want desperately to unlock every hidden gem. They become engaging on a level that most “kid oriented” games do not. Noccie and I just recently beat the story mode of Pirates of the Caribbean (review coming soon!) and are still going back to finish of those missing bits we missed. It simply has not gotten old yet. We are also working our way through the first Batman title and first Harry Potter. Highly recommend all of them to anyone who has kids or is in touch with their inner kid. Thoroughly enjoyable and a TON of fun!

The Holidays are here… or almost over if you celebrate Hanukkah. Sorry! I didn’t get this up soon enough for Hanukkah shopping. I’ve got some lovely holiday gifts and stocking stuffer ideas for your friends and family.

1. Digital Soaps – I blogged about these soaps previous by they are a great gift for the gamer in your life. Plus, you are supporting a small business run through Etsy. These soaps from $5.00 to $78.00 for a complete set of controller shaped soaps. They also have a Dragon Ball set for $44.00.

SoapsTrio StrawberryRhubarbSoap

2. The Doubleclicks – This musical sister duo sings about Mars Rovers, Dimetradon, Velociraptors and being the best geek girl you can be. Based out of Portland. They play Cello and Guitar or Ukelele or Cat Keyboard. Buy a CD today!

The Doubleclicks

The Doubleclicks

3. The Hunger Games Book set  – The trilogy that inspired the movie, authored by Suzanne Collins. Read more about Katniss Everdean and the world of the Hunger Games.

4. The Divergent Trilogy – Soon to be a movie, the freshman release by Veronica Roth, Divergent is about Tris Prior’s decision to leave her family. On every child’s 16th birthday they have to take a test and then choose between one of the 5 factions that form their world or become factionless. Tris has a problem though, she doesn’t pass the test. The test doesn’t say anything about her at all meaning she is Divergent. She can’t tell anyone her secret. 

5. The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Books – There are some AMAZING special sets out there. Barnes and Nobel has several different leather bound editions of both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

6. Loot Crate – A monthly gift for those you love. It’s a box of random geeky items for $13.37 a month, plus shipping. Here are some of the cool things I’ve received.

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7. Lego Video Games – These games run between $20.00 to $40.00 dollars depending on how new they are. The majority of them fall into the $20.00 range. I recommend Lego Pirates of the Carribean, Batman, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. These can all be found for $20.00.

8. Lego Sets – Lego has a bunch of small sets for between $10.00 – $25.00. I’ve built a few of them myself like Bilbo getting the ring from Gollum. This little set is $10.00. They have a bunch of sets like this for the Lone Ranger, Star Wars, Teen Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles and many many more.

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9. Wil Wheaton shirts – Woot.com has a parasitic relationship with Wil Wheaton. Right now they have several shirts and things designed by him.

10. Lego Necklaces! – You can make these at home. Go to your Lego store or online and by two lego coupling plates. Glue them together if you want, otherwise just lock them together. The jump rings go through the hole at the top and you attach a chain, cord or ribbon to the jump rings. Here is a tutorial I found so you can see what I am talking about.

Coming Features

Posted: November 14, 2013 by Noccie in Movies, Noccie
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There are a great number of movies coming out that I am looking forward too. Here are a few of the features, some are a long way out and some are coming very soon.

Nov. 22, 2013 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing example of a great actress in an amazing role. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the follow up the first book/movie. The second movie fills in the details of how President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland (the father of Keifer Sutherland),  plans to get revenge against Katniss Everdean. President Snow was very unhappy with the stunt she pulled at the end of the last games. Since then, the people have shown their love for Katniss as an underdog hero. They even go so far as to ban Katniss and Peeta from speaking in public because people love them so much. The government is afraid that Katniss will incite a riot that will take down the government. President Snow needs to find a way to turn Katniss kill her and make sure she’s not a Martyr. They use the guise of the Quarter Quell to call Katniss into the games again. She is the only surviving female Tribute from District 12.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this movie. I loved the aesthetic from the first movie and think they did an amazing job adapting the book to screen. They give such dignity to amazing characters like Rue, Cinna and even Effie Trinket. The costume and make up design were thoughtful and evocative of all the different environments in within the Hunger Games movie. I can only anticipate the next movie to be more of the same magic. These movies have the same feel as Logan’s Run and a lot of the same social structure and aesthetic. They Capitol is opulent, wasteful and yet hiding the grimy  decay behind beautiful but blood adornments.  I will be seeing this Thanksgiving weekend. Look out for my review. Take a few minutes and look at the website. They made it very interesting with a fake fashion magazine for the Capitol.

The Hunger Games Explorer

Official Hunger Games Trailer

Dec. 13, 2013 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit was fantastic. I enjoyed the movie more than the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s also my favorite book that Tolkien wrote. Martin Freeman makes the movie version of Bilbo Baggins interesting and worth watching. If you aren’t familiar with Martin Freeman, he’s been Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dr. Watson in Sherlock, Tim on the Office (Original British one) and also played small parts in many Simon Pegg movies. He’s an authentic Every Man but is also just a great actor. Richard Armitage plays Thorin Oakenshield, the King of the Dwarves Under the Lonely Mountain. He is unrecognizable in this role as the stoic, troubled king. He wants to reclaim his home for his people left as refugees. Ian McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf once more and is both inspiring and hilarious at the same time.

Although The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was amazing, we didn’t even reach the Lonely Mountain. They’ve split the journey into three movies. The second deals with the final leg of their path and also managing to form an army that can deal with the dragon Smaug. We will get to see the dragon finally, voiced by Benedict Comberbatch (aka Sherlock.)

I am eagerly awaiting the confrontation with the dragon and to see how they work other source material into the movie. The only thing I am not looking forward to is Legolas. Yes… he was alive at the time the story takes place but really? They just wanted blond heart throb, Orlando Bloom back to reprise his role as extreme sports elf. He lost me when he was shield surfing at the battle of Helms Deep. That is not ok. Regardless of Legolas, I am going to see this opening weekend.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

May 30, 2014 – Maleficent

Disney… sometimes you are just so beautiful. I’ve always loved Sleeping Beauty. When I was a child, I used to watched the animated movie because the cartoon was art. Everything was just beautifully drawn and painted to look like stained glass. The moving images were illuminated as if light through stained glass. Maleficent was and still is a regal and unyielding threat to the child Aurora. The upcoming movie Maleficent has once again made that world beautiful and foreboding.

Angelina Jolie has been cast to play the legendary Black Fairy. In the original tales, she was slighted by the parents of Aurora by not being invited to the celebration of her birth. Aurora’s parents were short the golden plate needed for each of the fairies invited and so, since the Black Fairy never came to these events, they didn’t invite her. Aurora is being played by the younger Fanning, Elle Fanning. From the trailer, she’s doing a good job playing the innocent young Aurora. It’s hard to say what story they will use in this new version but the trailer is impressive.

They describe the story as follows:

“From Disney comes “Maleficent”—the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty.” A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.”

The movie doesn’t have a website yet but they have an about section at the Disney site. Here is the IMDB. 

Kane and I went to the public hours for Brick Con. We have been very into Lego’s lately.  My favorite moment of the day was walking into the hall and seeing so many people. There were armies of children and adults all milling around excited for Lego’s.

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The tables are set up by themes. They had Castles, Sculptures, Battle, Vehicles, Light up, Portraits, Moving, Space, Pirates and other random stuff here and there. There were so many things to see, I took around 300 photos. I am not going to post them all here. I am setting up a Flickr later. Next year we want to go to the four day convention to see what goes on.

Everyone who knows me well knows how much I love Tolkien. Right in the door, off to the left of the Space Needle, in the castle section, was a huge set of Lord of the Rings scene. Then around the back was a model of Hobbiton with a full sized Bag End. The pieces were from all different sets, including some of the Star Wars sets. They came together to make Lothlorien, Rivendell and Hobbiton.

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Here is Miley Cyrus and Robin Thick.

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Here is the crew of the Enterprise from Next Gen and a few impressive Borg.

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Someone made a fantastic Gamorra, Mothra and Chuthulu.

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We found Ecto 1 and Slimer in the vehicle section. Then the guys and the fire house were in the micro block section.

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The space section had two gigantic starships from Star Wars, the Millenium Facoln.

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There was Sputnik.

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The Aurora was amazing. There were scenes inside and out.

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Here is a space octopus.

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This is Red vs Blue.

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This is a scene from the new game, The Last of Us.

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World War 2 Russians, note Santa is in the distance. I guess he’s a Red.

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In Monoland, they had the Disney Carnival Cruise ship.

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The battle section had a WWII vs Zombies scenario going on. The custom minifigures were pretty impressive. They are very expensive though. There was a booth selling them.

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The Tiger’s Nest Monastery was impressive. The builder is scene in a few of these photos. She was amazing; I didn’t get any shots with her name though.

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Next to the Tiger’s Nest was Lhasa. It’s much smaller but also very impressive.

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Facing the monastery was Hogwarts. They built the full castle, quiddiche fields and everything. Parts of the buildings would open to show different parts of the book.

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Easter Eggs were included in most of the big scenes. There were several obelisks with monkey’s, Santa’s and Doctor Who’s included in various scenarios. There was a ship in a bottle in the Pirate section. I was so confused by how this was made.

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Here is the Doctor Who section. They had a Dalek.

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Patrick was dressed up as Slave Leia in this scene. Very disturbing.

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