Now that Jurassic World has hit theaters, likely been in the talk for Oscars and made eleventy billion dollars on it’s opening night (I started writing this on Thursday, so I don’t really know, but if there was ever a sure-fire bet for “making back it’s budget” in a movie, it’s something like this)… it’s time to get reviewing those sets. I picked up a few of the JW sets back in early May when they showed up with the other new summer stuff, but hadn’t gotten around to writing these reviews.
I’d like to give you some really good excuse like “waiting for the movie” or “couldn’t contain my excitement” but honestly, I’m smack-dab in the middle of the “eh…” category when it comes to Jurassic World and the related sets. Make no mistake, I love dinosaurs, enjoyed the first movie well enough, and like seeing LEGO sets with nice pieces. But It’s because I love reading about and studying dinosaurs that I’ve never been overly enamored with the Jurassic Park movies. They are certainly entertaining films, but the science in them is just so awful it breaks me out of my suspension of disbelief a lot, which makes them hard to watch. It’s also not helped by the fact that every scene in every one of the movies brings the thought “wait, how did you possibly think this was a good idea” screaming to the front of your brain.
Reviewing 75920 Raptor Escape was one of my first choices when I was signing up for these, because it was the set that seemed to have a few nice things to offer. Some interesting parts, a person of color character, not-really Velociraptors Velociraptors, and the potential to make railing jokes all add up to a fun day for me.
At $39.99 USD and 394 parts, it’s also probably the best “sticker” value of the Jurassic World sets at first glance. I believe that it’s a Walmart exclusive in the US (I picked mine up at a LEGO Store), since I’m not seeing it listed anywhere else. Even though it is distinctly lacking in Chris Pratt (something that increases the value of everything in the universe),maybe it’ll end up being a gem of the line…
Or, you know… Maybe not. I treat the Jurassic World sets much like I treat the Dino Hunters sets, honestly. Great to get on sale but typically too expensive because of the custom mold stuff. Of course, it didn’t help that they ruined a lot of the Dino Hunters figures with dumb details or printing, but that’s the nice thing about licensed stuff, the look is pre-defined so no putting tiny spears in hair or cybernetic arms for some reason.
We get two minifigures in the set, only one of which is given a name. Shockingly, it is the person of color, Barry. Most of the time when we see a person of color in a LEGO set, they get names like “Security Guard” or “Guy Killed in Scene Five.” I suppose both of those could be true, since I’m working under the assumption that everyone in the gets eaten by the escaped super-Raptors who go on to start a dance troop once their hunger is sated. The other guy is simply referred to as a vet in the set.
Okay, I’m officially on the bandwagon for hoping that this guy doesn’t get eaten. Outside of being a terrible movie trope, I just love the look of this minifigure. Good shirt printing, generally good look (though there is another stereotype there… I guess only Lando and Shaq get to smile in LEGO form), and I just like the color of that shirt. Plus, it’s always nice to get some variety in our head colors that doesn’t also include sunglasses or the like.
Since he doesn’t have hair, he obviously doesn’t have an alt-face. I’m perfectly okay with that, since alt-faces are usually kind of a let-down and stick out badly when hair is involved.
Sometimes, I think they include generic figures like the vet just to get rid of those awful bowl haircut pieces. How is that even still a part that’s included in a set? If there’s a guy with that haircut in the movie, I weep for him. However, I do like that we now have a minifigure who has face printing that can only be described as an “about to be eaten by a dinosaur” face. That’s just cool.
That vest, however, is actually pretty awesome. It’s not unique, the general pattern shows up on other characters in the line. I do have to wonder why a theme park that’s based on the premise of “living dinosaurs” would use a dinosaur skeleton as its logo.
This guy does have an alt-face, his “I’m not about to be eaten face” that could also be called his “I’m going to get eaten because I just lit one up before starting my shift” face. Just saying, maybe the park should look into more drug testing. This guy is a perfectly serviceable figure, even though the torso print is pretty specific.
If there’s a “worst sin” for the bad science of Jurassic Park, it has got to be how velociraptors were portrayed. These guys must have an absolutely killer agent, because in the movies these things are ultimate killing machines. For one thing, it’s not really a distinct species, it’s a classification of several of them. They were certainly predators and likely dangerous to our squsihy, rat-like ancestors that may have been around the same time (in the Late Cretaceous… Jurassic Park is a terrible name since their logo animal and their most dangerous creature aren’t from that time)…
But they also probably looked something like this, and were a whole lot smaller than the movies portrayed. Like the size of a medium-sized dog kind of small, or a really mean chicken. As a representation of the movie, sure, they’re decent. But it’s not like LEGO had to go out of their way to make these things, since they’re nearly the same as what we got with the Dino line back in 2012. Given how bad that line did, I assume they just took them out of unsold sets and put them in here.
We get two of them in the set, both with printing and slight differences to the previous ones, so they are actually unique (I think), but they’re very familiar. In the scope of these being Jurassic World / Park sets, you just have to have these guys. It’d be like creating a Star Wars license and not making Stormtroopers.
We get a little ATV in the set too that includes a missile launcher of some sort. I’m not sure of the tactical nature of putting a projectile like that directly next to the operator of a vehicle, but Newton’s laws says firing it would likely be a terrible idea. LEGO actually calls this thing an “offroader,” a word that is only associated with a little-known game that Google told me about and people that have apparently never ridden, seen, or been near an ATV.
Okay, as an ATV, this isn’t a bad little build. I like using that new scooter handlebars part as a guard on the side, and it makes a good little play feature. We saw Star-Lord riding one of these in the trailer, so obviously, they are sound engineering.
From the front, I was vexed by something that I couldn’t get out of my head once I saw it. I know that the sticker on the front is meant to be an intake vent or something like that, but when I actually saw it, I couldn’t stop seeing it as an updated version of this…
I would, therefore, like to present the theory that the ACU and containment forces of Jurassic World are just modern incarnations of Mandalorians.
The little license plate sticker on the back is a nice touch as well, but I guess we’re going to get a lot of #93 vehicles in MOCs with things. Yes, I know that it’s likely a subtle reference to the release year of the original movie (and likely the year that the park opened), but I have to assume marketing is what makes license plates for vehicles on a private island.
The set itself is around the cage that the raptors “escape” from. I’m not exactly sure why they assumed a simple cage like this could contain genetically modified killer lizards that showed increased intelligence and pack behaviors. I mean, my daughter could have figured a way out of there in two minutes, and she’s way more dangerous than the raptors in the movie (and more destructive).
The gate lifts up, which is convenient for the dinosaurs I guess, since obviously the hyper-intelligent raptors (they need monocles, I think) can’t slip through the giant gaping holes in the fence behind them. As a play-feature, it’s not bad, but it sort of makes me think more about the entrance to the park than the entrance to the Raptor Buffet.
The outside is basically that very half-somethinged fence, which is mostly some technic. I can only imagine that the designer knocked this out in about an hour and went “okay, who wants some lunch” before going to enjoy whatever it that designers enjoy on lunch. Probably tacos. There is absolutely nothing spectacular about this thing, and it’s a very tedious build. You know that you’re pretty much going to break it down for parts before the first fence is done. The only thing that’s marginally interesting is that you could feasibly make it into a larger enclosure if you were to buy multiple copies of the set (and that’s probably the only reason I can think to buy multiple copies other than big sales).
There are a couple of play features on the back, that little slide-out drawer that you can tease a Velocirator with a chicken leg. If you want an indication of how boring this set actually is, I call your attention to this bullet-point from the description:
- Also includes a chicken leg element
I actually almost feel sorry for the marketing person that had to polish this thing up to post it. Read the descriptions for this thing, where they have to list the raptors in three different points because there’s so little of note. The whole “raptor jump” is basically just saying “pick up the raptor and smack it into something,” which is sad when they’ve put so much work into things like jumpers and cataputs and things like that.
Outside of the drawer, there’s also a very convoluted technic lever that’s holding up the platform that I assume was installed by a Hutt to be able to drop vets to their death below. That or something to remind me of one of my all-time favorite shows, so that’s a plus.
I suppose I see the need to add some adventure or something to the set, but I have a few questions on this particular feature, like how does a minifig get up there and why would they ever climb up there. That thing is basically a walking death trap that seems to be designed to weed out the particularly slow staff members and save on raptor chow.
I was also considering a caption of “maybe a rail wasn’t a great suggestion” or “they were afraid we’d lean” here, but mostly it was just an excuse to take a picture with some people that likely have a specific communicator code for “Fell to their death because of poorly defined platform.” I’d like to think they’d call it a Code Splat.
In the end, I was having trouble really pinning this set down. At first blush, the value doesn’t seem terrible, 394 parts at $39.99 is pretty good in most licensed stuff (and better than most anything Dino offered). But the build is boring at best and pointless at worse, and despite the part count, there’s very little value there. Most of it is tied up in the fence technic parts, beams, pins, and the like. The little offroader is okay, and I like starting a rumor that Chris Pratt is really just a Mandalorian that’s hanging out at the park because he got tired of hunting wookies. But the raptors aren’t different enough compared to the Dino stuff from a few years ago. I almost wanted to give this thing a bonus point for letting me make a railing joke, and for another set that includes a person of color. But there’s absolutely nothing memorable about this set beyond a few little things, and the parts by themselves don’t make it better. This thing is a two out of five.
What I liked
- LEGO is setting a dangerous and cool precident by giving us diversity in the sets; Barry is a great figure that’s generic enough to get used elsewhere
- Stickers could have some utility in themed builds, and the little ATV isn’t awful
- Reading the “features” for this set is good for a chuckle and a sad sigh
What I didn’t like
- 394 parts aren’t worth a lot when half of them are technic parts and pins we all have too many of already
- The play features that exist are just awful, and most of them are more imagination than anything else
- Raptors aren’t different enough to justify picking this up if you already have some from the Dino stuff