There are some sets that make pegging value kind of hard, especially when they're put up against other stuff in the same line. The Batcave in the DC lineup was like that. It wasn't a bad set in its own right, but when you put it up against other things in the line like Two-Face Escape or the Batcopter, was your money best spent there? My favorite set from The Avengers was like that too, Hulk's Helicarrier Breakout, the set with the best sticker ever. It was a set in a price range that made it hard to justify compared to how good the sets below and above it were in the lineup.
Lord Business' Evil Lair is like that for me. I honestly picked it for review for a couple of things, the wrestler and the unicorn kitty, and didn't notice some of the little details that would have absolutely blown my mind if I'd been paying attention. It's an odd set, one that doesn't seem all that impressive when you look at it in the lineup as a whole, and that's a shame, because it just does so many little things right.
At $70, this is one of the most expensive sets (Rescue Reinforcements is the same price), but at 738 pieces and seven minifigs, it's certainly not hurting for justifying that price. It's also a rare set that has you build things that just get you to stop and play with them, or remove from the finished set to use somewhere else.
This is the kind of set where not knowing much about The LEGO Movie kind of hurts me. I know the basic plot (thanks to reading stuff for this review), and now know that Will "Blades of Glory" Farrell is voicing the bad guy, Morgan Freeman apparently plays a hippie, and there's a kitty that looks like a unicorn.
That is the minifig assortment up there. Our Unicorn "Kitty" with Glasses is named Biznis Kitty (puns going into mocking internet speak, I like it), Lord Business in his normal form, Vitruvius, a Wrestler named Master Builder, Ma and Pa Cop, and our main character, Emmet. Not a bad lineup by any means.
You know, I'm honestly not sure I've ever taken a picture that tall before, and certainly not for a minifig. This is actually how the set starts out, with you building the entire "super figure" for Lord Business. He's pictured clearly in the art on the box and in the preview picture, but your eye just sort of goes right past him. And this is the most-minifig-y brick-built fig they've ever done... yet I have no idea how I missed the necktie-sized cape that's included.
Most of bag #1 in the set is dedicated to this setup, and the one thing that's not clear in the pictures is the fact that there are some special legs built for him that are just slick. The bricks on the base of those legs are fixed to the figure (they seem to be two parts that are glued, not a single part), adding a lot of structure support to the figure. They just stick on the the alternating trans bricks on the legs, but it just works.
Obviously, we also get the tie/cloak, a nice set of shoulder pads that would look great on any space figure and the largest minifigure helmet ever (complete with coffee cup horns, which seems strange... I only have the horns before my first cup of coffee).
In another first, I'm pretty sure I've never done two entries in a single review on the same minifigure. We're also given a second set of legs and hair for Lord Business. The hair is kinda crazy, but I could see it popping up in some Super Hero builds (I'm thinking that's some good Norman Osborn hair right there). The suit, on the other hand, is just awesome, and the kind of torso I always want multiples of.
The head has a printed hair pattern on the back as well, which I am pretty curious about. Is the hair just a wing? Anyways, it's a strange thing, since the hair covers it here, and the helmet in the larger version.
Our hippie friend here is named Vitruvius, and is voiced by Morgan Freeman. He has a cloak that sparkles and a tie-dyed shirt. I don't have any jokes to put here to go that, because everything about that sentence doesn't feel like it goes together.
The figure does have an alt face, and the beard / hair is two pieces. The real highlight is obviously the cloak, since it sparkles. The possibilities are just about endless here (when I commented on a sparkly cloak in chat, the first one to pop up was a Liberace custom, though I'm more inclined to put the sparkly cloak on the CMF blue wrestler and go all Luchadore custom... or at the very least come up with a Ric Flair figure... WHOOOOOOOO!)
Our wrestler buddy, is named "El Macho Wrestler." I guess the box is trying to not give us spoilers (there is one on Shop@Home in the name of the figure), though given how insane the movie is going to be, I'm not sure it actually matters. This guy isn't entirely a repaint of the CMF wrestler. There are a lot of commonalities, like the torso design (the belt printing is different), but the leg pattern and face are quite a bit different. Also, this guy has a white cloak. And if you can look at this guy and not feel an overwhelming urge to go set up a minifig ladder match, my hat is off to you. Because I've been trying to figure out how to build one of those since I first saw the picture of this guy.
Another set of standouts are Ma and Pa Cop, who I assume are here for comic relief. For some reason, I can't look at Pa and not see Commissioner Gordon (which given the presence of DC Heroes in the movie, might not be unintentional), but Ma is the real nice figure. She gives us a female security guard torso and a grandma face / hairpiece, both of which are huge wins.
The biggest knock on these figures is that they both have alt faces which are visible under the hairpieces. Ma's is particularly bad, since we have some sort of horror-show "mouth on the back of the head to yell at you" going on here. Grandma's are supposed to have eye's in the back of their heads, but I'm not so sure on this mouth thing.
Either alt face, outside the hair issue, is just fine, angry and startled. Really, the biggest benefit of these figures is that it gives us a couple more options for generic cop/security guard torsos, and one is female. Best part is neither one has extra stuff like name printing or skin on the torso, so they can go pretty much anywhere.
We get an Emmet in this set, which I'm sure makes sense based on the story, but he's unchanged from the version in other sets. I know that the "alternate" appearance figures are in the CMF packs, but it would have been nice to see some variation in the figure here. We do get another of that weird red double-height brick, and another construction torso, so, there's that.
Of course, the whole reason I wanted to review this set was for our Kitty/Pony/Unicorn friend here. I couldn't really explain why... I only know enough about the whole My Little Pony / Brony thing to make fun of them, which I'm not going to put here, because this is a family site. Hop into chat sometime and there's a fair chance that I'll be ranting about it though.
With a name like Biznis Kitty, you know that there are more than a few jokes here. And every good Bond-villain-esque bad guy needs a cat (though a more traditional name here would be Mrs. Puff-Puff)... but this is Lego, so we're going to make the cat huge, toss on a unicorn horn, and give it a name. Also, business markings. This is actually a cool little idea and figure, even if I can't come up with any uses of the figure other than making jokes.
One interesting note in the set is that Ma and Pa come with plastic bases for standing the figures on, like the Army Men bases from the Toy Story Battle pack. Except these are in Trans Clear and suddenly I want a whole ton of these for minifig displays on shelves. I'm sure that we'll see them show up in MOCs and other builds as well, as it's just too interesting of a part to be relegated to its intended purpose.
Of course, what's a bad guy without an Evil Lair (the namesake of the set). As far as evil lairs go, this one seems to be missing both lava and a shark tank (with lasers on their head), but it does have a couch and a giant laser. Also, a sign that says "Where are my Pants?" I am insanely curious why that sign exists, and if Lord Business considers the entire leg thing his pants, or just the trouser portion.
The set is divided into two big pieces, the sales / meeting area (which has what I think are holding platforms, based on the box art), and the huge glue laser on a stand. That's right, glue laser. Because what is the most wrong thing you can ever do to a Lego brick? Glue it!
The business section is fairly basic on the bottom, with some windows, a sales chart that makes me wonder, if things are that good, why the bad guy is going down the "evil scheme" route. Is this like the joke in Austin Powers where he demands a million dollars and his one-eyed second-in-command has to explain how their legitimate business concerns make them billions of dollars?
The real interesting part of this is the top platform, which is actually interesting to build. The bottom half of the platform just sort of sits in a notch you build, and gets connected by a single closed-loop hinge (I actually have no idea what the part is called... one of those little 1x1 plates with the circle thing that usually gets turned into a laser). On the bottom, there are a couple of space guns in the base, and on the top you have one of the new hoses and some force lightning. So some very nice parts there.
The build process for this set feels really somewhat disjointed, since you're skipping between different pieces and the minifigs are spread through the set. Even stranger, the "build the minifigs" part of some bags shows up at the end of the instructions for that bag, instead of at the start. But there is still plenty of stuff to enjoy in building it. But like I said, you get a "Where are my Pants" sticker, and that could go into almost any build. I expect to see it in every contest from now on...
The other section of the build is a big super-weapon, which is just a must for any self-respecting villain's Evil Lair. The fact that a Lego villain's super-weapon is super glue is just amazing, and points to one of those jokes that's even funnier to an AFOL (or any serious Lego kid). I mean, it's just wrong! And that makes it so right!
The base has a door system that swings open, and the laser or glue port (I'm going with laser, there's trans-red involved) extends past the hinge, Aliens' style. It's actually an interesting little setup, especially since it uses connectors on the door to open them automatically. A very nice little touch.
The build itself is fairly straight-forward, with a mix of technic for support, some round white bricks, and tall bricks. The top where the glue goes is somewhat odd, since I think those are supposed to be curtains (or maybe those weird Death Star doors that close with a diamond in the middle). You build them in four sections, and then just stick them together. I don't quite get it, but your eye never goes there once you build a couple of things...
The gun itself has a little brick-built bottle of Krazy Glue... and it just looks awesome. Seriously, that is one of the coolest things I've ever built in an official Lego set. When I finished it, I just sat there and played with it before I put it into the glue gun part at the top of the whole section. It's that kind of part you you take out and just leave together just because it looks so nice (I've done that on a few other sets that got parted out for MOCs, like Woody's Roundup and the little safe, or the Sabbac Table on the Falcon from a couple years ago).
Then, because the set isn't done showing off, it has you build a 9v battery. It even puts a disclaimer label on the side of the battery for a sticker. The battery looks so nice you're tempted to lick it to see if it shocks your tongue a little (it doesn't, I tried). These are features of what this set does so well in little details.
To round out the set, you're given a few different things, like a business table which takes the interesting tact of using technic arms to hold the chairs in place. It's simple, but works. Shame you don't have any minions to put in there, but I'm sure those come from the CMF line or other sets. There's also the red couch for Biznis Kitty, which is a cool little build but could have really done well to be one or two studs wider, so you could potentially use it to put a couple of minifigs on. As it is, only four-studs wide, you can get one on there (unless you feel like taking arms off. To round out the little things, you build a small video camera... which I have no idea why it would be there. I guess to videotape someone getting disintegrated or glued? That or maybe after the glue show, the Beatles are coming out to play.
Ultimately, this is a set that does a lot of little things, and does them well enough. It carries good value, delivering 738 pieces for $70, good minifigs with some real reuse potential, Biznis Kitty, and those stellar builds for the battery and glue. It's not a flashy set, and it's easy to overlook, but still a good addition to the line. It's biggest downside is that it's only very good in a line that's filled with a whole lot of great, but that a good problem to have for Lego.
What I liked:
- Krazy Glue and Battery build are good enough to just get put on a shelf as display pieces
- Good value for the money in parts, figures, and variety
- Does a whole lot of little things right
- Sparkle cape
What I didn't like:
- Red couch should have been one or two studs wider to accommodate more than a single minifig
- Alt-face printing on Ma and Pa shows goes too low compared to the hair
- Build can get a bit boring at times, when you're just building up the same part to make windows or structure
- Would have been better to see another henchmen or two over Emmet in the set
Verdict: 4 (out of 5). This set has its flaws, but there's more than enough good and some unique stuff to make up for it in the end.
You can pick up 70809 Lord Business' Evil Lair on Lego Shop@Home right now!