In which I pick up a LEGO® DC Superheroes DVD for the purpose of just getting the attached minifigure. Then I got caught up trying to workout how I could reproduce the Justice League figures as they are depicted in the film. Do I escape from that rabbit hole before it is too late? Read on!
It’s the start of August, and there has been a wide range of new LEGO® Sets just released: Depending on where in the world you are, there are new City, Friends, DC Superheroes, Unikitty and of course the long anticipated return of Harry Potter to choose from. But today, I am going to look at something completely different…
This week, the latest in direct to video LEGO® DC Superheroes Movies was released: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis. I have not been a dedicated viewer of Direct to Video LEGO Movies, and the target demographic – kids pestering their parents for Super Hero LEGO Sets – is now absent from my house. I confess I bought this one primarily for the exclusive Jessica Cruz Green Lantern Minifigure, which is included with the DVD. But I thought I would sit down and see how the movie played out.
I shall not dwell too much on the plot: in reality spoilers are not a major issue. This is the kind of movie that will be watched by the target audience time and again. Running at just over seventy minutes, the animation is bright, action shifts from location to location at an reasonable pace, but not so fast as to make my head spin. The music fits the mood of the action brilliantly – giving appropriate moments of dread, excitement and happiness. A musical highlight for me was the musical nod to the theme from ‘The A Team.’ However, there are no surprising plot twists, and corny jokes and cliches abound. I admit I might have had more than the occasional chuckle as I watched it. That said, I have nothing against the use of cliche: to paraphrase the late Terry Pratchett, ‘Cliches are the hammer and nails in the toolbox of communication.’ The film delivers a positive message about the power of Teamwork, and Believing in Yourself.
The Justice League in this film are represented by Aquaman, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and the self doubting Green Lantern Jessica Cruz. Along the way, Batfamily members Barbara Gordon/ Batgirl. and Damian/Robin join in the action.
The story serves to help develop the role that Aquaman plays in the Justice league, which he is taking for granted at the start of the movie, as a sideline to the joy he gets from being King of Atlantis. Jessica Cruz also develops from being persistently self doubting, worrying about how others feel about her, to having confidence to perform as Green Lantern, without question, when it is needed.
There are several villains/antiheroes of the story: one has a minifigure, but many do not…yet:
Lobo we have met earlier this year, and his trusty Hawg is replicated here, along with the chain and hook which was missing from that set. We have opportunity to see some of his more obscure loves and hobbies here. The character is a faithful representation of the minifigure.
Orm, Aquaman’s half brother, also known as Ocean Master – with a purple torso, and silver trim. He has a black cape and a helmet similar to that worn by the Atlantean guards in 76085 Battle of Atlantis, but in silver. We will hear more from him in the Aquaman movie to be released in cinemas later in the year.
Finally, we have the Red Lanterns Atrocitus and Dex-starr. Atrocitus features red armour over a black figure with red details. Dex-Starr, in all seriousness, is a cat possessed by a red power ring.
References to existing LEGO Sets.
Aspects of several LEGO sets are directly transferred into the film. They do not feel as though they are forced into the narrative but rather play an unforced role.
One is Lobo’s space going motorcycle. His ‘Hawg’ which responds to a quick whistle. This is fairly accurately based on the vehicle seen in 76096 Superman and Krypto Team Up.
The 10247 Ferris Wheel also appears later in there film: based on the pier in Star City.
Inspiration for further builds
(Fun Fact: the Mac DVD App does not allow screen captures to be made of the video window…)
There are a number of models and scenes in the film which are ripe for providing inspiration: the Watering Hole, the Aqua Jet and individual spaceships, from both the Red Lantern Corps and the final battle. There are a number of Mechs and robots along the way which would be a great challenge for the kids after watching the film.
Active LEGO building is performed in the movie in the setting of Power Rings, Mera’s hard water magical constructs and finally with the Justice League building their own escape strategy.
So, I guess the film has a lot going for it: Positive LEGO modelling, a positive story, lots of laughs to have with the kids and some great heroes. How easy is it to recreate?
Rebuilding the story: Minifigures
Minifigure images in this section have been sourced from Brickset.com
Now, if you want to reconstruct action from the film, how easy is it to get your hands on the necessary minifigures? A lot harder than it initially appeared. Only a few of our characters appear as you might expect, straight out of the box: Lobo(sh490, 76096); Aquaman (sh050; found in 7600, 76027, 7132 and the forthcoming Justice League training Manual); Cyborg (sh155; 71210, 76028); Jessica Cruz (30617 – this poly bag is included with the DVD. More about her shortly.). The Batgirl figure used is SH092, which only appeared in 76013.
Some are a little harder to identify: Batman is similar to sh151 – seen in 76053,76055,76026,76034, with the same torso also appearing in 76027,71200, 76035). However, he has a dark blue cape and chinless cowl, only available with the mighty micro Batman-Killer Moth set, or the Pirate batman figure, which came with the DC Comics Super heroes Character Encyclopaedia. The image below seems to make his cowl appear much lighter than it does in the rest of the film. As the action progresses, he changes into the desert batman costume (sh288 from 76056), maintaining a strapless cowl. Wonder Woman appears, at first glance, to be the same as SH150, which appeared in Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas, however she has a different leg print in this movie – one which does not exist! Likewise, Superman’s torso in the movie does not match any torso/leg combination seen to date. >twitch, twitch<.
Robin also has a mixed costume – it draws heavily from sh289 from76056 (Escape From R’as al Ghul), but with red arms instead of black.
There are some major characters with prints which are presently non-existent: Lois Lane(in a dark pink, double breasted jacket) and Jimmy Olsen; Mera; and the villains: Ocean Master, Atrocitus and DexStarr. All of these characters would be a great addition to the range of minifigures we have available today.
There are a number of elements which appear in the film, that we are yet to see in real life. Particularly recolours featured in the power rings..
The most important of these is the power rings of the Green and Red Lanterns. Both feature the ‘bar with knob’ element, previously featured with various power blasts and spider man web slinging sets. It is currently only available in transparent clear, although it is used in green and red in the film, with a round 1×1 printed tile in the same colour, to represent the green and red power rings. A green1x1 round tile does not yet seem to exist in the current LEGO Palette. This red tile is also used on the torso of Atrocitus to identify his faction on his armour.
The Atlantean guard helmet is only available in pearl gold presently. The one worn by Orm appears to be in silver, with black details. Orm’s trident is also a different design to Aquaman’s. It seems to be a silver recolor of the Pharoah’s Staff, which Loki had also used, with an arrow inserted in the end.
Thats right, there was a reason I set out to purchase this movie: the 30167 Green Lantern Jessica Cruz minifigure polybag. Jessica Cruz is the third member of the Green Lantern Corps to be depicted as a LEGO Minifigure, along with John Stewart and Hal Jordan. She has bright green torso with black and white printing. Her arms are black, with white hands. Her white legs have some black printing on the upper front. Based on the art used in the comics, this is to give the impression of white boots on black legs. Given the difficulties experienced with printing white on black, this is probably a better printing result, but it is a shame that side printing, or dual colour injection was unable to be used, as this would have certainly given a more ‘movie realistic’ result. The minifigure looks similar to the source material. The arms are missing the printing seen in the film, and the legs are portrayed as dual colour, rather than white with only one panel of printing.
I put the three GL minifigures that have had mainstream release side by side to compare them. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that each figure has a different torso colour. The ‘power ring’ photographed here is not included in the minifigure.
The bright green of her torso is quite apparent when standing next to Hal Jordan and John Stewart. Jordan’s torso is green with black printing; Stewart’s is black with green printing. As previously noted, the green printing on Stewart’s black torso does not hold up as well as the green torsos with black printing. Jessica Cruz has printed details on her torso in black, dark green and white. This hair piece has appeared in black only twice before.
I made a power ring using a transparent green round tile as well as the ‘bar with stud’ device pictured below. In the absence of a printed green tile or indeed opaque green tile, I have used transparent elements. I quite like the figure overall, despite the absence of arm and leg detail. Overall I give the Jessica Cruz minifigure three point five out of five Arbitrary Praise Units. The movie was entertaining, and harbours some great messages. I recommend taking the time to watch it with your spawnlings once or twice, before claiming the minifigure as your own and packing it away once the next movie is released.
Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis is available now from your favourite bricks and mortar or online source of DVD’s although I found mine at Big W, for AUD$16.
I hope you have enjoyed this review of Rage off Atlantis. What do you think of our newest Green Lantern? Does she make you want to go out and invest in one of the Early release copies, ensuring that you secure the minifigure? Or just wait let it pass by and purchase the figure on the secondary market. , If you have enjoyed this review, please leave comments below, or follow @ramblingbrick on twitter and facebook. Don’t forget our Ant-Man building challenge, open for another 2 weeks. Until Next Time,