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Review: 75828 Ecto-1 & 2

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You know, given my history and general tone on the stuff I write for the site, you’d think that this would be my perfect chance to rant about the new Ghostbusters movie. My love of the original was stated when I reviewed the original 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto-1 set (which remains one of my favorite sets ever). I’m pretty sure I’ve also talked about how I don’t tend to like reboots (though I don’t dismiss them out-of-hand most of the time). Yet I’m always calling out gender stuff in sets and reviews, so this seems like the kind of thing that could lead to one of those long and rant-y reviews that I’m prone to do.

But, to be honest… I don’t want to. The movie has come and gone, and shockingly, the original movie still exists and childhoods have not been destroyed. Tragically, the second movie still exists as well. I enjoyed the movie, but I also understand it wasn’t targeted at me. When people asked after I watched it, I said I enjoyed it, but also said how someone would enjoy it more they liked Bridesmaids or The Heat than if they liked the original Ghostbusters. It was good with the characters, but they were never going to catch lightning in the bottle like the first one did (and it was a real outlier compared to similar-themed movies of that era). Like the movie or don’t like the movie, I really don’t care at this point. I enjoyed it, but mostly will be covering it here in relation to the set.

Honestly, I purchased this set after I saw the movie, which I saw the weekend it came out. I just sat around not taking pictures, so it took me awhile to get around to reviewing 75828 Ecto-1 & 2. The story pack for Dimensions is showing up, and the movie will release on Blu Ray in a few weeks, so it’ll likely be back in the news again. At $59.99, 556 pieces, and six figures, there looks to be a lot of value in the set. It’s also just enough like the original to be recognizable, but when you put them side-by-side, different enough to be its own little set.

What I did like about the movie is how, while it certainly borrowed elements and inspiration from the original, it wasn’t a retelling of that story. The characters didn’t match up to the originals outside of quantity… Holtzmann wasn’t “Female Egon,” etc. Like everything Feig makes, it’s the chemistry between the characters that makes the movie work. Most of the characters are at their best in an ensemble over just being a lead, and they did a good job with it. So it’s fitting that the set reflects the same thing, and it’s not just a couple of the characters.

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The minifigure lineup contains the core members of the cast… as well as a ghost/demon/monster that sort of showed up in the movie, but wasn’t really there. Given that this is an ensemble, it was nice to get them all in one set. There were probably a couple of other sets that could have potentially been made to spread them out, but at the same time, I think a single set really works here. The reason for that is that while there are other sets that could be made (and the one that comes to mind is what we’re getting for Dimensions), I think all of the sets would have been weaker for it (and the whole of them less than this one by itself).

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If you haven’t watched the movie, honestly, you’re missing out with Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of Kevin. He’s basically every dumb girl trope ever wrapped into Thor’s fantastic body, and I’m not sure there’s ever been an actor that was so clearly having fun in the role as Hemsworth did. With that and there recent “What was Thor Doing” short that came with Civil War, it’s clear that this is a guy that just loves what he’s doing.

The printing and figure has some great attention to detail for something that’s only on screen for less than a minute. He shows up with Ecto-2, a motorcycle he stole from a food delivery guy and says he can be a Ghostbuster too. The duct tape name was on there, as were the tape stripes he added to a jumpsuit. Even the glasses, which are used to some hilarious and stupid comic effect in the movie, just fit.

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Funny side story, but when LEGO sent the images for the set, it contained a picture of the alt-face for this character. LEGO then sent takedown notices to sites that put this image up, like they were at fault for LEGO giving away a spoiler (that was also in the trailer). The whole possessed Kevin is important, but mostly it’s worth it for dance number in the end credits. Oh, and my favorite line in the whole movie, when he gets to the office and says “an aquarium is a submarine for fish.”

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Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig) is the first character we meet in the movie, and the most reluctant to join the rest in the whole thing. I do mean the point I made above where there weren’t any clean lines between these Ghostbusters and the classic Ghostbusters, and that’s especially true with Erin. That face above is just spot on for her look through most of the movie, which, since it’s a Wiig character, means her life is basically falling apart the entire time.

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This face makes a lot less sense. She never really gets that stern or serious look, and while the whole “Ghostbusters” thing is set in motion with her getting angry, it’s very much not her character. I wish they would have gone with more of a shocked, or better yet, disgusted face, which would fit with her commonly being the one getting slimed on. That or we could have gone for the sexual harassment face, though that seems fairly un-LEGO. But it was really a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Also, with her addition, that’s just one step closer to building minifigures for the entire cast of the Martian.

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Abby (played by Melissa McCarthy at the most un-Melissa McCarthy I have ever seen her) probably has the character you could almost match up to a role, at least in function, to the originals. She plays the true believer role that Ray did, though past that link, the characters are completely different. She’s much more like that one person we all have friended online that is a really nice guy, but spends most of his time talking about chemtrails.

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Her serious and smile look is far more fitting, and we see both of those throughout the movie. She’s someone who believes in what she does and has fun doing it, but the relationships with her and Erin get that angry/frustrated face more than anything. For the figure, you just have to love the new hair piece that comes along with this figure (all of the faces are unique, and we get three new and unique hair molds as well).

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While Abby could be closest tied to the role of a character, Jillian Holtzmann (played by Kate McKinnon) had the superficial look of and tech skills of Egon, but pretty much nothing else. While Egon was the straight man, Holtzmann is more like the action hero. Building proton packs is cool… building grenades and pistols is just awesome. She’s the one that converted a hearse into Ecto-1, this characters gets the cool bandoleer (and she converted the old fireman’s uniforms), and the figure matches up quite well with the character.

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I’m certain she appeared without the goggles at least once in the movie (I think when they were at the bar towards the end), but really, the goggles are as much of her character as the jumpsuit and love of explosions. I really wish (hope, something) that she eventually shows up in Dimensions as a playable character, because there are some points in the movie where my main thought was “this would make a pretty awesome video game.” Dimensions needs more proton pistols.

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Last up was Patty (played by Leslie Jones), who was an interesting character that has some similarities to original characters, but probably not the ones you think. Unfortunately, she gets the snarky role that is almost a trope, but also is the character with the most practical and useful knowledge of the city. She pegs right away why certain places would show up with Ghosts, and she’s also the one that manages to put them on the right track of things.

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That new hair is pretty fantastic, and while it’s elaborate, I can see it getting use other places (especially in the CMF line eventually). The alt face is weird, since even when she was angry, it was not so “gritting teeth” as “you’re about to get punched with a smile,” but I still welcome having another woman of color minifigure head out there.

LEGO did a great job on the minifigs and their stuff in this set. All of the characters get printed logos on their sleeves, the jumpsuits of the four women all different name tags and more developed printing, while Kevin’s is more plain and made up, which fits perfectly with the movie. I wish that Holzman would have had different pistols… the old alien blasters would have been perfect to the two she uses in the fight at the end, but the simple little traps and the punching fist are all decent parts.

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The last figure is the one that makes the least amount of sense. Given that both this and the Mattel toy are both red or brown, I assume it was later changed, because the ghost in the movie was green. He was also huge… and while he showed up a couple of times in different things (including a cameo), it really didn’t matter what he did overall. The trailer shows this as the ghost that’s on Patty’s shoulders at the concern, and that’s where he was captured… but by comparison should be three times the size and green.

It would have made far more sense to put in Rowan North (played by Neil Casey), who was ultimately the bad guy in the film… though I can’t really elaborate more than that without going all review and spoilers. Slimer (and, ugh, Mrs. Slimer… seriously) play as much of a ghost role as “Mayhem” (the name of the red ghost), and there are better choices that could have been included from the movie. Red there is the weakest point of the set, honestly.

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When Ecto-2 shows up on the screen, for some reason, I jumped right to a Simpsons joke where Marge points out a robot with wires and circuits inside and goes, “see, that’s why your robot didn’t work.” Ecto-2 is a bike that Kevin swiped (and likely didn’t realize why that would be wrong), and the stuff on the back is quite literally a basket that he put random stuff in so he could prove he could do it to. Spoiler, like in the trailer… it doesn’t work out well for him. But, again, dance number.

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There is a very interesting bit of homage in the new Ecto-1, if you know some of the history of the original movie. Originally, Ghostbusters was a crazy dark film, with Aykroyd’s original drafts having it be a black hearse with purple lights and magical powers. Luckily, that all got changed to the iconic Ambulance (which were also used as herses), and it really worked in the original. When that movie was made, those were old cars that were rare but still unfamiliar with a certain age.

Fun fact, that car, the 1959 Miller-Meteor Cadillac Ambulance, which made it twenty-six years old when the original was made. The original Ghostbusters was released thirty-two years ago, meaning that movie is older to the new one than the original car was to that movie. It means nothing, but I found that funny.

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I really liked that they didn’t just remake Ecto-1 using the same car, and came up with some crazy and contrived reason why a fifty-seven year old car that would be more collector’s piece than junker, was used by them. Owning a car in New York is weird enough, and it’s a plot point that the women have basically no money (and Patty is the only one with a job by the time they all meet). Patty gets a herse from a family member (and there’s another cameo at the end that involves said family, and it’s the best of the cameos in my mind, though they’re all pretty good), and what you see above is what happens after Holtzmann gets her hands on it.

That gap in the mirror spot really hurts the build here, though.

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The back and side are a lot more blocky than the original Ecto-1, which is unfortunate. I like elements of the build, like how the door opens and the hearse look on the side, but how it sticks out just looks pretty jarring. The door is just way to narrow compared to the car; while the door is most certainly there on the base car, it should be at best a stud wide, and not a whole brick like we see here.

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It’s also kind of unfortunate they just used that Bionicle eye piece for the front. I get why they did it, molding a new piece for that would have been cost prohibitive, but that was an early reveal and feature of the new car, and it deserved more than just a single stud and your imagination to make it work.

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I am amused by the fact that there are safety stickers attached, given that she didn’t tell them that it’s basically a nuclear bomb strapped on the top of the rack. I also really like the use of the rack up top and how things were attached to it. That element of the car actually comes up in the movie, so most of that stuff isn’t just cosmetic (unlike the original… I love it, but that was basically stuff glued to the top to make it look more sci-fi). I wish that a better solution could have been made for the tail lights except stickers, but I’m not sure what part could have worked for it and gotten the curve right.

I really like how the top comes off the build, too, though I will knock the stuff on top as being a touch too flimsy and prone to fall off when you take it off. There was some work and care doing building up the inside, though, which is nice to see. Still cramped to get all four in there, but that’s more limitation on what a minifig can do

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I’m basically of the mind that more Ghostbusters is a good thing, and I like having a bit of variety in the vehicles here, and the fact that I can have them both side by side (surprisingly, the existence of a new movie and set didn’t lead to my old movie and set suddenly vanishing or being destroyed). There’s a bit of evolution to them. I’ll be honest… the original is still one of my favorites, and based on look alone, the superior build (and even a better look overall). But there are parts to the new set that are great, like how the top fits, smaller ladders, and a bit more sturdiness to the build.

This is a solid set with good figures (especially if you enjoyed the movie), and as a one-off set, worked out in much the same way as the original, even if it doesn’t have nostalgia to make you want to buy it. It does a great job of representing the characters and the vehicle, even with a few little design quibbles. That being said, if you’re only going to buy one Ecto-1, I’d still lean more towards the original (if for no reason other than it’s likely to go out of print soon). If you already have the first one, the second one isn’t a bad purchase by any means. Going to call this one a four out of five.

What I Liked

  • Minifigs are all spot-on for the characters
  • Ecto-1 is a solid little build that’s not just a reskin of the other set
  • Proton Packs are all done quite nicely, and I like how they can be integrated into the car

What I Didn’t Like

  • The inclusion of Mayhem doesn’t feel like it fits with the rest; color is wrong, but I bet that’s more a difference in what was provided vs. what the final movie had
  • Door on the back of the car is too narrow and fat, and really breaks up the look more than it should
  • Would have been nice to get the actual bad guy in the set, mostly just for the bellhop costume

Verdict: 4 out of 5. You can pick up 75828 Ecto-1 & 2 right now on Amazon.com.

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Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars.