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It makes me wonder if lego would ever pursue a license for a movie such that they can sell individual minifigs or just (cheap) battle pack style small sets which would be on par with pricing of other collectables, with maybe one flagship building set. So for LOTR for example, they could have done the four Hobbits as a battle pack, maybe two ringwraiths and their horses, Theoden, Eomer and a couple of Rohan warriors, in another etc. and then have Orthanc as the flagship build model for real enthusiasts. Or even package each figure into a polybag, with a small associated build. I often see people paying £5 or more per minifig for just the minifigs, outside of the building sets, so presumably these could be marketed at a profit still.
That is, take some licensed lego ranges clearly into the aimed at collectors market rather than the building toy market. Obviously not all ranges should go this way, but the ones likely to be aimed at fans of a licensed product that may not want to spend £300-400 on sets, but would spend £100 on 20 minifigs. There seems to be an untapped (primary) market that resellers are filling on the secondary market.
That said, I agree I wouldn't let my kids watch LotR (and they wouldn't want to) but have no problem with Star Wars (although their mum has banned them from Ep III). To be honest, it never really made sense to me as a LEGO theme.
What is an assault rifle? Is it a rifle guilty of attacking other rifles? :)
Sure, as an 18 (or so?) year old AFOL/TFOL, I was excited when they announced it, but it really doesn't fit with Lego's target audience unless there are a lot of parents letting their 10-14 ear old kids watch LotR - and the sets are so obviously from the movie not the book that I'm leaving out the possibility that kids are reading the books...
Ditto the Hobbit - the movies were supposed to be more kid-friendly (like the book is) than LotR, but if anything, they have ended up more gruesome (due to having CGI orcs, not real actors), with random silly scenes thrown in here and there.
Strange that you should bring up SW Ep. III, though, because off the top of my head I can think of at least two 'pocket money' sets which include lava-fried Anakin - quite possibly the most gruesome thing in all the SW films...
take for example this Star Lord action figure - even with the big discount on the RRP its still massively more than any of the Lego sets. I can see where you might think about collectors looking at choosing a lego set vs a cheap action figure/collectable figurine but ultimately they are such different end products that the decision is more likely to be made on what product they want more rather than how they are sold.
As far as Licensed themes go, I'm sure some sets will flop and others will be huge hits. LEGO doesn't seem to have control over what sets they can produce. The source material/licensor tell you what they want to have produced from my understanding. I think it was a Middle Earth package deal, so they based sets on LOTR, when they really only cared about Hobbit since that is what was fresh. The CEO even stated that licensed products sell toys, so that is why they do so many licensed themes now. They are in the business of making money..just like any other company in the world.
I always prefer sale prices since LEGO is an expensive hobby/toy. It seems most adults can't even afford all they want, just imagine the kids. But I rarely see LEGO on clearance/sale prices. Some people are finding great deals on Middle Earth sets or whatever theme, but YMMV for sure. I rarely (read: never) see sale prices. The best I can hope for is my redcard savings...
I read LOTR when I was 10-11.
So as far as I am concerned Lego had every reason to produce LOTR and Hobbit sets.
What they should not have done was what they actually did.
They followed the Films of a raving egomaniac called PJ who changed the stories to suit his own needs.
Now for whatever reasons Lego produced a dubious array of sets and made them even further away from the source material by producing them out of sequence.
What should have been produced over the course of 8-10 years and could still be done, if Lego have the licence and the will power.
1. The Unexpected Gathering. http://brickset.com/sets/79003-1
2. The Trolls cave with Sting, Glamdring and Orcrist. Tom, Bert, and William.
3. UCS Rivendell. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/72851
Including more Elves, Glorfindel and others. Maybe introduce Arwen here. With the broken sword Narsil. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Special:Search?search=Narsil&fulltext=Search&ns0=1&ns14=1 and some Elven smiths to reforge it.
3. A Goblin Battle Pack for the cave scene. Bilbo and pony.
4. The Throne Room of the Goblin King with a different but better version of the Goblin King. Scale back the size of this set to just the Throne and the goblins. Save the cost of the mold for a bigger Gwahir.
The bloated White Thing in the movies is just a comic abomination as far as I am concerned. The Jar-Jar-binks of the Hobbit. http://brickset.com/sets/79010-1
5. The Riddles of the Ring. http://brickset.com/sets/79000-1/Riddles-for-the-Ring
6. The Goblins at the Eastern Gate. Another Goblin battlepack.
7. Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees. The mould of Gwahir needs to be twice as big as it is
for this set. The dwarves and whiteface orc could have been left out. http://brickset.com/sets/79002-1
8. An Orc battle pack. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/221422468198?clk_rvr_id=693010277698&item=221422468198&lgeo=1&vectorid=229508
9. The Eagles and Wargs. Battle pack.
10. The House of Beorn. With Beorn man and possibly a large bear, some other animals.
11. The Wood Elven battlepack. No need for Legolas he was not in the Hobbit.
12. The Mirkwood spiders. http://brickset.com/sets/79001-1
13. The Halls of Thranduil. A gateway and inside feast scene.
14. Barrel Escape. http://brickset.com/sets/79004-1
15. The River Ride. A landscape with barrels and Dwarves.
16. The Lake town. http://brickset.com/sets/79013-1
17. Lake town guards battlepack.
18. The house of the Master of Laketown.
19. The Dol Guldur set. http://brickset.com/sets/79014-1
20. The Secret Door with Thrush http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Thrush
21. Smaug and his Treasure hoard. http://brickset.com/sets/79018-1
22. The Ruin of Laketown with another house http://brickset.com/sets/79016-1
23. Dale with a dwarf battlepack. Instead of this http://brickset.com/sets/79011-1
24. The Doors of Erebor. A half Dwarf half elf battle pack.
25. The Iron hill Dwarves. Battle pack.
26. The Elven Battle pack. http://brickset.com/sets/79012-1
27. The Battle of five armies. More Mountainside with Dwarves and Orcs of Mnt Gundabad. http://brickset.com/sets/79017-1
28. CMF series. The Unexpected Gathering in armour. 14 minifigs + Bard + Thranduil in battle armour, no crown.
Lord of the Rings
1. Gandalf Arrives http://brickset.com/sets/9469-1/Gandalf-Arrives
2. Bilbo's 111th party. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/69033
3. Another Hobbiton house
4. Farmer Giles
5. The Ferry. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/48934
6. Old Man Willow
7. The Barrow. With ghostly wraiths that could later also be used for the army of the Dead.
8. The Prancing Pony. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/60304
9. Black Rider, Bree men battle pack.
10. Weathertop. http://brickset.com/sets/9472-1
11. The Wizard battle http://brickset.com/sets/79005-1
12. Meeting with Glorfindel "Arwen". An elf battlepack
13. The Council of the wise. Battlepack. Different Dwarves (lose Gimli), Elves (lose Arwen) and Boromir, Gondorian soldier. http://brickset.com/sets/79006-1
14. The Watcher in the Water. Moria Gateway.
15. The Mines of Moria http://brickset.com/sets/9473-1/The-Mines-of-Moria
16. Moria Orc. Battle pack.
17. The Balrog https://ideas.lego.com/projects/70624
18. The Forest of Lothlorien.
19. Lothlorien elves. Battle pack.
20. CMF series one Elves, Orcs, Men, in variant armours
21. Gift giving Elven Swan boats
22. Expert set. The Argonath. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Argonath
23. The battle at Amon Hen. White Hand Uruk Hai battlepack. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/24895
24. Many Foes he Fought. The death of Boromir
25. The Dead Marshes. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/66545 or https://ideas.lego.com/projects/76166 to get another Fell beast.
26. The Eaves of Fangorn. Riders of Rohan, Orcs or Mordor Battle set
27. Treebeard. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/41867
28. The Ent moot. Or a series of Constraction Ents.
29. The Tower of Orthanc
30. The Orc Forge http://brickset.com/sets/9476-1
31. Expert Meduseld
32. Helms Deep http://brickset.com/sets/9474-1
33. Riders of Rohan battlepack.
34. Uruk-hai Army http://brickset.com/sets/9471-1
35. Rangers of Ithilian Battle pack. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/45646
36. The Paths of the Dead. Army of the Dead Battle Pack
37. Prince Imrahil Gondorian battlepack
38. Series 2 Gondorians, Hillmen, Evil men and Wraiths in variant armours.
39. Corsairs of Umbar Battlepack
40. UCS Minas Tirith. Denethor Gondorian armour https://ideas.lego.com/projects/74237
41. Denethor's Seat in The throneroom. Gondorian battlepack
42. The fall of Osgiliath https://ideas.lego.com/projects/75997
43. Expert Set Minas Morgul. A glowing Green terror. To rival Orthanc or Helms Deep
44. The Which King Battle http://brickset.com/sets/79015-1
45. Olog Hai Battle pack 3 large armoured Trolls
46. Grond with 4 battle Trolls. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Grond
47. Mumak. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/43821
48. A Southron http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Haradrim , Easterlings http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Easterlings battlepack.
49. Riders of Rohan at the Pelennor Fields. A battlepack
50. The Pirate Ship http://brickset.com/sets/79008-1
51. Umbarian battlepack. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Corsairs_of_Umbar
52. The Swan Knights battle pack http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Imrahil
53. The Wounding of Faramir. Another Gondorian battlepack. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/46182
54. Shelob attacks. http://brickset.com/sets/9470-1
55. Shagrat Cirith Ungol Orcs vs Radbug's Morgul Orcs, Castle scene or Battlepack. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Shagrat
56. The End of the ring at the Cracks of Doom. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/49900 http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Cracks_of_Doom
57. The Battle at the Black Gate http://brickset.com/sets/79007-1
58. Barad Dur. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/64574
59. The Wedding.
60. The Scouring of the Shire. Orcish Men battlepack
61. The Green Dragon. Sam and Rosies children. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/The_Green_Dragon_Inn
62. Sailing to the West https://ideas.lego.com/projects/51716
The sets were based on the movie because that's what Lego has always done - and it kinda makes sense, because the movie gives you more visual cues for the designers, and they assume that mindless little people who demand Lego sets from their parents are more likely to have watched 9-12 hours of film than thousands of pages of words.
I read Hobbit and LOTR when I was ten. My daughter did as well.
That is not the norm, though, at least in the US. Most kids in that age range have not read them, and many kids in that age range have still not seen the movies. I am one that also will not let my kids see LOTR or the Hobbit due to the violence. The sets are based completely on the movie. At least with Marvel and other super hero movies, even if some are violent or targeted to adults, there are other kid-friendly avenues to explore for Super Heroes.
What kids have read a ton, though, is Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. It is a shame the Percy Jackson movies were not better done, because those would have targeted the age group Lego is after, and Greek mythology is huge in that age range as well as evidence by the number of book series that focus on Greek mythology.
Yes, Luke gets his hand chopped off, but the same film shows him getting a new hand and it isn't that bad.
Each parent has to make up their own mind, I'm not trying to tell anyone else how to raise my kids, just saying how I'm raising mine.
My older son turns 9 in a month and I still am not letting him watch Back to the Future yet, you think LOTR is even on the table? :)
Episode III with the lava scared the crap out of him, we do not watch that part, we just fast forward.
But I seem to remember watching The Fellowship of the Ring when it first came out in theaters. I was ten years old at the time, and part of the reason I was allowed to watch it was that I had already read all of the books... I was well above the typical reading level for my age. I seem to even remember building Lord of the Rings creations with my LEGO sets at the time. Of course, this was before there existed short legs for dwarves and hobbits. I can't remember whether I used 1x1 round bricks for their legs or just used normal minifigure legs and ignored the height difference.
All things considered, I think different kids are probably ready for certain kinds of content at different ages. The violence in the Lord of the Rings movies didn't even faze me as a kid, which is strange since they were probably the most violent movies I had seen up until that point. I don't remember having nightmares or anything like that related to the movies. The way that violence was presented might have had something to do with that — like The Dark Knight, another movie where I remember people debating the legitimacy of the MPAA rating, a lot of the violence was of the incredibly fast, blink-and-you-miss-it variety. Orcs were mowed down by arrows and then you didn't see them anymore. There wasn't a lot of gore, and when there was the camera didn't linger on it — the severity of a character's injuries were frequently left to the imagination. But of course, it's possible that people who could better visualize the gruesomeness just off-camera might have been much more affected by the violence than I was.
But I have no problem with that scene... in fact, it says much about what I view to be wrong with the Jedi and the Republic...
As I explained to my son when we watched it together, Anakin killed them all because they killed his mother. Frankly, if someone killed my mother, I would likely go all Sith on them as well. Using that as an "evil" thing in the movie never made sense to me, defense of your family strikes me as a virtue, not evil.
Would you take your 8 year old to see Saw III?
I think a big part of it is a discussion of what is happening and the consequences of those actions, discussing who is involved, and what the repercussions of war are. As a history teacher there is certainly mirrors and allegories galore (though as Tolkein himself said none were intended). Seeing as how she is learning about wars to some extent at school I do find the opportunity to discuss these things anyways.
Again it is left to each individual and their families to decide, and I can respect that. My daughter Hope has an odd maturity about her (her request as a "reward" for finishing homework tonight was too feed and hold her baby brother...something I would see as a chore). That being said she was not the typical audience for these sets and it did hurt sales I am sure.
The Hobbit sadly doesn't know what it is. That also hurts sales for the Lego sets I'm sure.
Like many of you, I will pay close attention to what my children watch. Just bc it never bothered me doesn't mean they won't be more sensitive to it. My parents never did though and it never seemed to impact me one way or the other.
Would you take your 8 year old to see Saw III?
To be fair, Jaws, Jaws 2, Halloween, Phantasm, Dawn of the Dead, Salem's Lot were all released in the 70's. Friday the 13th was released early 1980. My father took me to see that film. My almost 5 year old has seen both Hobbit films and has seen some Episodes of The Walking Dead. She was fine until my 8 year old nephew started watching Ghostbusters and my daughter saw the ghost in the library and freaked out. I figured it was Ghostbusters; I didn't think she would get scared from that.
The Saw series wasn't scary at all, it was gory. I think there is a difference.
I do monitor what my girls watch, but for the most part, the movies don't seem to bother them.
But then, one modern news broadcast (24 hours rolling channels) will show so much more tragedy and violence than any (late night) news bulletin did when i was a kid. Modern life is totally screwed up. It's seems to be total access to all things all at once, with no middle ground to grow into it.
I was born in the 70's. I grew up with war movies, sci-fi/horror 'b-movies', black and white slapstick comedy, thrillers, plenty of 'murder' mysteries, etc.
Almost all movies i saw in my (1980's) childhood would, in their time (1920's - 1970's) have been made for an adult/mature audience, but during the 80's could be broadcast at any time of the day, due to a total lack of swearing, sex, bloodshed, or graphicness.
'old' war film: A soldier gets shot = gun goes pop, and a man falls over. The whole family can watch this film, each viewer takes from it what they are capable of understanding. Nobody is traumatised. BUT...
A 'modern' war film: a soldier gets shot = limbs fly off, blood gushes, people scream, slow motion, close up, exit wounds, exploding brains... it's visceral. Modern films seem obsessed with screen equivalent of the purple prose, with total disregard for story. It's graphic, extreme 'reality' on crack, with no purpose beyond making an audience salivate for more and more and more. But if anyone makes a war film today without such things, it would be universally panned for being unrealistic, laughably tame, nonsense.
So, in effect, a child of the 70's and 80's has watched mature themed movies that were relevant for the time, and accessible, viewed through the eyes of a child, you only took in what you could comprehend, and each time you watched them (be it horror, gangsters, war, murder) as you grew older, you'd appreciate different facets. The screen fades to black... did the man and lady 'get it on' just now? As an innocent, the scene merely changes, as a mature adult, i'm allowed to consider the finer subtle details (that the film maker had to allude to, to get the film passed). But a modern film will leave us with no choice to make, no illusions or allusions to appreciate - they'll make us watch every gritty detail, and rob the audience wishing to choose what it sees.
Those of us in our late 20's through early 40's have been afforded a sort of generational luxury of having the movie (and communications) industry grow with us. We've enjoyed a maturing process inline with what became possible, as it became possible.
Are kids of today getting those 'mature themes done safe' type films that we (unintentionally) witnessed, (thanks to previous decades of cash strapped, fx-limited, story-focused film makers), or are modern kids being subjected to our desire for those previously impossible guts-and-gyrations images that we're now capable of making.
It's perhaps not that kids are squeamish (or any different), but are just being fed a crummy mix of docile vacuous 'kids' movies, followed by equally vacuous 'adult' gore-porn-FX-fests. There's not much being made today (that i can think of) that could be considered an adult (intelligent) film with child/family friendly production values. Today, if it's got mature themes, it's usually made in an 'Adult' i.e. graphic, way. Which robs growing children from seeing, maturing with, these films.
(Sorry, post is a bit 'rambley').
I think we can agree that Alien was hardly the norm for its time. But that's why i stopped with 70's. FX was beginning to take over. It's often the case (like Jaws) that directors were only doing suspense for lack of funds for the fx they wanted. Many great moments are down to a forced hand rather than choice.
Today's industry is what happens when given that free choice. Largely mindless FX movies (which i love, by the way) - but it's come at the loss of quality direction and story-telling, and is in some cases, forcing movies into pre-determined pigeonholes; kids movie vs adult movie.
I can think of so many films that people rave about that i find unwatchable because they are just glorified fx showcases with no storyline, most of them seem to fall into the 15 rating in the UK, with the occasional 12 rating.
With the exception of "Attack of the Warg" + "ambush at dol goldur". But compared to other lines I think its ok.
Fortunately lego gives us the actor specific parts to recreate that.