Review: 8639 Big Bentley Bust Out
I keep trying to write short reviews for Cars, but I end up being a windbag so I can complain as much as possible. I will TRY to keep this one short but mostly because I told myself that I wouldn’t review the DC Super Heroes sets until I finished the Cars stuff. May contain spoilers.
So, Big Bentley Bust Out represents the climax of the movie Cars 2 and if you haven’t seen the movie, you might think this is how it plays out:
Get into the fast-paced LEGO® building action with a new scene from the Disney/Pixar Cars™ movies. Lightning McQueen is being held captive in Big Bentley Tower. Agent Mater, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell rush to the rescue. Help our 4-wheeled heroes to bust him out and hit the road!
That’s the description on the LEGO Shop@Home page for the set, which is 100% wrong. Lightning was never trapped in the tower, and since he was never trapped there was no rescue attempt made for him. Finn never breaks out of Big Bentley through the clock face like he does on the cover of the box; Holly Shiftwell does. Mater is never hoisted up or down via a winch, though he is suspended above the internal gears of the Big Bentley, so that part is somewhat accurate if you ignore the fact that there are no gears inside the set. And Professor Z doesn’t use it as a base of operations. I’m willing to make a leap of faith and say that the set designers at LEGO never saw a final cut of the film, and maybe only saw a handful of still images of the final sequence. Because I can think of no other explanation why this set strays so far from the scene. It’s mind boggling how badly weird it is. So, with all that being said, I’m going to try to review the set on its own merits and ignore the blatant inaccuracies.
Okay, so Big Bentley tower consists of three levels. The first level looks to be a base of operations for Professor Z. There are sliding doors in the front so that he can enter and go as he pleases….. never mind the the three other sides of the tower that are completely open and accessible. But hey, I understand it’s more theatrical to have double sliding doors to make a grand entrance or exit.
The second level doesn’t really have a floor, but it’s where I guess you’re supposed to suspend Mater using the winch from the third level. You sort of suspend him on the side of the building, not really inside and not over any gears either. Maybe the designers thought Mater was descending from the ceiling into the enemy’s base a la Mission Impossible. He comes with his spy gear deployed, with the inaccurate jets and machine guns.
And finally the third level where all the action is. A play feature highlighted on the Shop@Home product page reads, “Launch through the Big Bentley Tower clock into freedom with the slammer function!” There’s no slammer function, more like a twisting function that with enough force will launch Finn through the clock face. Fun? A little. It shouldn’t have been Finn as I pointed out earlier, but there’s no way Holly was going to fit with her wings attached.
The Cars selection certainly isn’t terrible. This set actually debuts a plain Finn McMissile which is quite unusual. Mattel’s Cars die cast vehicle line has Finn clogging pegs everywhere. LEGO seems to be banking on Mater instead by inserting him into the majority of the Cars sets released to date. This set’s version is unique since he has a decal of a bomb on his carburetor. This is probably the most accurate part of the set. Too bad everything else isn’t.
Holly is pretty nice with her wings and can be displayed without in normal mode without thanks to the included tiles. But she is missing her jet pack on her back.
Miles Axlerod comes in sand green but as the above photo shows, there are some color inconsistencies that remind me of the old gray/new gray transition. He also lacks a printed roof to represent the solar panel he is supposed to be powered by.
Professor Z and Lightning McQueen aren’t much different from their previous versions if at all. And it’s too late for me to look up exactly what version of McQueen this one is and what other set he appears in. It’s too late for me to barely make it through that last sentence.
The Queen is probably the best character. Well represented overall except for the crown but the fact they are in metallic silver color makes up for its non-crown shape.
What I liked: Not much other than the Queen really stand out in this set. The selection of tan parts isn’t too bad either.
What I disliked: I guess a lamp post with British flags topped off with a wheel and tire makes sense…
And the Queen’s platform isn’t big enough to have her parked on it without her hanging off the edge in some way. It’s just stupid. THey couldn’t make it any bigger?
And what the hell is this thing supposed to be?
Verdict: As of this writing, this is only $49.99 from Amazon.com, almost a 30% discount down from $69.99. It’s a great discount but because of the weirdness of Big Bentley I don’t know if I can recommend this set at all. The inaccuracies are so far removed from the actual scene the set is based on, it became something completely different than what it’s supposed to be. Like pretty much all of the other sets, pick one up on a discount if you’re a big Cars fan.
Blah blah blah these Cars sets are becoming painful to review. And I apologize for phoning this one in but that’s how much effort I feel that the LEGO set designers put in these sets. I was really looking forward to them too but after reviewing every set from 2011, I’m more disappointed than anything. If I were to sum up the theme in a few words, I’d have to say that the minicars overall are done very well with some standout characters but the sets are very lackluster. I wish LEGO had released more single car sets at the $6.99 price point. I can only hope that 2012 sets fare a little better.
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