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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Nick Martin | August 22nd, 2014 | Feature, LEGO, Rants

LEGO’s Girl Problem

What it is is beautiful

When the recent Research Institute set came out, there were a lot of people that were really excited to see it, both because it was a decent idea and because it was a set that could be used for positive role-model toy for girls. There were some people that weren’t, a lot to just indifference, but some that just get angry when you say the word “girl” without also including some derogatory reference. I assume that those people are registering on the site right now, just to complain without ever reading another word. Sadly, those comments won’t be approved until after the contest voting has wrapped up.

I have a vested interest in this, because I have a two-year-old daughter. She loves stuffed animals, Duplo, and Tonka trucks. I have a closet of Lego sets put away for her, and in all of them there are four female minifigs (three are in the Research Institute). There are some mini-dolls in there because I have a few Friends sets in there too (the ones I didn’t part out for myself, because the part selection in Friends is fantastic).

The Ideas sets this year are a rare and welcome exception

The Ideas sets this year are a rare and welcome exception

Let me be very clear… I’m talking about the gender imbalance in LEGO sets. There are plenty of other things we could call out about LEGO… the lack of diversity, the problem with how certain ethnicities are portrayed (or not), the lack of handicap figures (which I find surprising primarially for much LEGO does to donate to hospitals where the “just like you” factor could make a big difference).  These are things that I think should be talked about too, but I’m only going to pick one fight at a time.

Leia and Lando

This was all the diversity there was in the original trilogy…

I’m also aware that the problem is much bigger than Lego. The idea of equality, especially gender equality, just unleashes a whole heap of stupid inside the nerd realm. Lego is part of that, which means it’s just a reflection of the bigger problem. Except Lego isn’t just a nerd property, and it isn’t just licensed sets. It’s a kids toy. I could write many, many articles about the problem with the entire girls toys vs. boys toys, or the problem with pinkifying to make something “girl friendly,” and I have posted stuff like that on the forums… but Lego is loved by girls and boys, and that’s where the problem is.


[SDCC] LEGO’s Exclusive Minifigure Giveaway Recap


Another year and another San Diego Comic Con under our collective belts. I am more or less fully recovered from my trip and decompressed enough to gather my thoughts on how LEGO handled their minifigure giveaway this year. I’ll only be talking about the minifigure giveaway and not the exclusive sets that were for sale. That will be in another post which you probably won’t want to miss.

So this year, LEGO did something they’ve never done before and actually put out information early on how the queueing process would be handled. There would be a line upstairs away from the exhibit hall floor. Attendee badges would be scanned and fans would walk up to an iPad where there was a custom built app and a single “Play” button. Press the button and you had a 50/50 chance on winning that day’s exclusive minifigure. If you lost, you would walk down what I affectionately call Loser’s Lane and if you won, you would walk over and pick up your figure right then and there. And how did it go? Fantastically! It went so smoothly and efficiently that I almost forgot how bad it was the previous years. I really have to tip my hat to the events team that planned it this year as they addressed every major problem from years past and created a non-riotous, almost enjoyable experience.


Nick Martin | January 11th, 2014 | LEGO Star Wars, News, Rants

Apparently there is time to discuss this in committee…

Mickey Emperor

This actually popped up a couple of days ago, but I’d sat on posting it mostly because I’m lazy (and needed a good title). I first saw it on io9, and ArsTechnica has since written an op-ed on it. In short… Disney is going to “address” the Expanded Universe (EU), and decide what’s in canon and what’s not from the EU. Anyone who’s followed Star Wars outside of the movies (which I’ll just assume is pretty much everyone here) knows that the “Official” to “EU” connection is fuzzy at best. Books, video games, some comics (but not all), TV shows, toys… all considered in canon, and often conflicting with each other. There were even levels of canon defined, with the movies at the top, then TV shows, then books, then I think fan fiction…

In short, the whole thing is a mess. Enter Disney, most likely salivating over its multi-billion dollar property and the greatest merchandising machine this side of Cars. Part of their control of the universe is actually controlling the universe. It’s why the comics are going back to Marvel (owned by Disney), why the books have been slowly going away (most likely to move to some other publisher), and why the Clone Wars cartoon was killed off in favor of Rebels on a Disney network.


Nick Martin | December 16th, 2013 | LEGO The Hobbit, Rants, Reviews

Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug


So we get a lot of people that like to complain about our reviews when they’re opinionated or negative. I could rant about stuff like that for a whole post, but instead, I’ll go with this disclaimer: If you don’t want to read an opinionated review about this movie, just skip this post. That and I should have come up with a good joke about spoilers to put in this post. Yet all I have are spoiler-ific rants to put below the fold. So… spoilers ahead.

By now, anyone who has read my reviews know that my method of choice is flimsy analogies, name calling, and long, drawn-out comparisons to other movies. This movie actually makes it kind of hard to take that route, because there were so many ways for me to tear into it I ended up giving myself a headache (watching my Cowboys play like the * bleep * Keystone Cops of football right after watching this movie probably didn’t help). But hey, I can push through and give it a shot…

In Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, a movie I think most everyone here will agree with me is just terrible, there was a specific scene that had me wanting to walk out of the movie. I know, it’s like picking the smelliest piece of a manure pile, but the only reason I stuck through the movie in the theater is that it was towards the end. It was while the kid that ruined Indy 4 ran through some ruins that were supposedly by the pyramids (which were actually like 90 miles away) in order to get to Petra, a city in Jordan and nowhere near Egypt, for those keeping scores. It was perhaps the most Michael Bay scene ever done this side of wingsuits.

LeBouf was running across walls and rooftops, dodging explosions (in slow motion), shards of stone and concrete, shrapnel, and jumping out of clouds of dust. The part that bugged me was the whole shrapnel thing. I can suspend disbelief in a guy falling for a few thousand feet and somehow getting caught and saved (instead of shredded into several smaller pieces). I can look past the stupid mom-on-pot jokes, or the general racist tone of most of the characters (though not easily… let’s say we snuck some “refreshments” into the movie theater to help). But what I couldn’t look past was the fact that Sam would have been turned to hamburger by the shards of rocks and shrapnel flying around him. I got to see exactly what that stuff was doing because of all the slow-motion scenes. That scene, more than any other in there, was just horrible.

All of that being said, that the action in that scene looks like the opening of Saving Private Ryan compared to what we get in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. (more…)

Ace Kim | July 13th, 2013 | DC Universe, LEGO Super Heroes, Marvel Comics, Rants

[SDCC] The LEGO Minifigure Giveaway at Last Year’s Comic Con

LEGO Booth Crowd

With the recent announcement of this year’s San Diego Comic Con set of four exclusive minifigs, I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on what happened at last year’s Comic Con.