Lego 10218 Pet Shop Review

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The Lego 10218 Pet Shop City set is another modular downtown city structure that hard core town collectors will absolutely love. Like the other downtown city structures, this one is three stories high and can be connected via the sides to other downtown city structures. However, the building itself has an additional divider that allows you to separate the pet shop with the apartment section for more customization in configuring your town.

Once again, Lego does a magnificent job of putting an incredible amount of detail into these downtown city structures. Here, we see what is from my memory, one of the only toilets in existence. After piecing this part together, I had to take a picture because it’s something you really don’t see in Lego sets. You have to admit this is one nice looking toilet. Stanley Kubrick would be proud (and if you don’t know the reference, check out the various interpretations of how Kubrick incorporates restrooms in his movies).

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The first part you’ll put together is the first floor of the apartment section. Outside of the little bathroom, this side is such a wonderful piece. It reminds me a bit of the architecture in the Bay Area with the stairs leading to the apartment and the window structure. You get a little gated garden and mail box (mail included!) along with a stylish porch overhanging.

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The interior of the first floor beyond the toilet is basically a living room. Right next to the door, you have a coat hanger with someone’s hat resting. Nearby is a black leather sofa and flower vase that shows a very cozy environment to the person living here.

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The rear of the apartment has a small door and what looks to be a basement. The doors do open but the space underneath is pretty small. Also, you get your normal garbage can.

I didn’t capture much of the second floor unfortunately. In all honesty, there wasn’t much to really demonstrate. You do have a spiraling staircase that leads to the second floor, which seems to be either being renovated or for rent. You have a painter putting the first layer of paint against the brown wall.

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The third floor itself is again not really remarkable. We do get a balcony with a small garden. The interior though lacks any features outside of the next flight of stairs leading upwards and some crates. Probably, it’s meant for you to fill in with additional furniture.

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Here’s another view of the apartment by itself. One little detail I enjoyed was the pipe drain on the side. It’s a nice touch.

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The picture above shows the beginnings of the pet shop component. Here, you can see a relatively new piece, which is a larger plastic trash can. Just outside you can see a mouse just sticking outside it’s mouse hole while a cat prowls nearby.

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This is inside of the pet shop. Here, I’m starting to work on the dog cage. The set gives you three bones, one of which is placed along side the little dog here. The dog is a cute little set piece.

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Once the first floor is complete, you can see the various things for sale, including the dog, supplies (including a plastic frog), the aforementioned cat and a fish tank (not shown). From this angle, you can see the cash register as well as the finished dog cage. The dog cage sits under a stair case leading to the 2nd floor of what seems like someone’s apartment.

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Here’s a shot of the exterior. It includes some merchandise such as a rubber ball and two bones for your dogs. Also, you can see the lamp post on the street corner here.

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Unfortunately, for us who wanted a bigger pet shop, we won’t be getting it here. The upper floors of this building are dedicated living quarters. You can see someone’s kitchen. I have to say though that the rent hopefully should be cheap considering that they’d have to live above a pet shop!

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This is the last aspect of the Pet Shop building. Here, we see that it’s someone’s bedroom. Fortunately, they designed it on the 3rd floor as opposed to the 2nd floor. Imagine if this guy was nutty enough to put his bed over the dog cage! That would royally suck!

Overall, this is such a wonderful set. It is quite expensive but the design is very mature and a great addition to any town. It also shows how far Lego has come with all the various animals pieces it has delivered to us over the years. It’s not an action packed type of set but adds another common aspect of life to Lego’s city dwellers. Also, with the Town Hall and Movie Cinema coming out, we’ll be adding even more to the growing demand of variety.

The Hobbit: Out on iTunes and A Quick Review

As usual, I’m skipping the hype at movie theaters and went straight to my iTunes player for the movies I want to see. In this case, it’s the long anticipated Peter Jackson prequel of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Currently planned as a triology, Peter Jackson is attempting to drag out more content from a single book than the epic Lord of the Rings saga, which still feels incomplete. This post reviews the first part of the new triology.

The Hobbit covers up until the wolf chase and bird rescue scene. Up until then, we see the mis-adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the 13 dwarves and our old friend Gandalf the Grey. Since most of us probably have the Lord of the Rings as being the freshest from memory, we re-introduce the actors from Lord of the Rings in Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Bilbo (Ian Holm). Although I never bothered finishing the book, I do not recall any mention of Frodo at this point of the series. But I suppose for those who never even bothered reading any of the books and only have the films to relate to, it’s a refresher on why we should even care for these characters.

The story segues from Frodo departing to meet up with Gandalf and we see a far younger and grounded Bilbo. Peter Jackson attempts to re-establish Bilbo’s character by making him into someone who apparently has no wander lust. I found this aspect of Bilbo’s character unnecessary in relating back to the Lord of the Rings as we only saw Bilbo as some guy who had an erection for a ring. But Peter attempts to emphatically suggest that Bilbo is just your “plain ol’ hobbit” with no motives outside of smoking and getting fat.

Suddenly, the dwarves barge right in and we have your standard, almost contemporary house party. Yes, the dwarves are a lively bunch, who in reality resemble Stephen Spielberg’s Gremlins, since they eat and do nasty things after midnight after they eat. The make up job for the vast majority of the dwarves for me was pretty unconvincing and quickly lowered the serious level for me on this film to that of Snow White and the Huntsman. Already, we see postmodern bad taste humor with the frat boy mentality of the dwarves whose only remarkable characteristic personality-wise is getting equally fat with the hobbits (so wonder why they didn’t just try to move in with the hobbits to begin with?)

Anyway, Aragorn Part 2 arrives (Thorin Oakenshield) so we have our handsome knight. His features lack any dwarvishness so for the remainder of the movie, I think of him as just a regular human until someone like Gandalf stands next to him. Regardless, we’re hear his little tale and there’s all this unnecessary doubt being cast onto Bilbo. Bilbo is your stereotypical reluctant anti-hero. Well, at first. But of course, we can see that this will be changed. I mean, we know what the fuck will happen so no amount of alluded doubt can dispel given knowledge. At any rate, they try (rather poorly) to create the illusion that Bilbo does not want to go. I buy that for the most part. Except that the reasons we’re given is akin to how Japanese or religious nuts can justify any argument by giving a bottom line like “We’re Japanese!” or “It’s god’s will!” In this case, Bilbo’s expatiation for being lazy is that he’s a hobbit and a Baggins of all things.

But this is where we, as the audience, are supposed to extrapolate further character from these givens. What the hell is a Baggins? Why are dishes so important? None of the movies thus far have ever done a reasonable job talking about what being a Baggins is supposed to be. And this is critical because the biggest turning point in the movie is where Bilbo goes from the reluctant, house bound, pipe smoking freeter (it’s a Japanese thing; go look it up) into someone who out of nowhere gains wanderlust.

Yes, there is a small speech between Gandalf and Bilbo that briefly explains that Bilbo is a Took (which frustrates me even further because they put more effort in describing how Tooks are relevant as opposed to Baggins) and therefore has the ability and natural instinct to be an adventurer. However, when Bilbo himself receives a panic attack from reading the contract, the psychology of looking at his hobbit hole and previous reluctance is on par in badness with Anakin Skywalker’s spontaneous turn to the Dark Side. In short, we have not established any logical reason why Bilbo should suddenly and drastically do a 180.

Yet he does and we get to suffer through him acting as a literal wallflower through the vast majority of the film. For the most part, he’s just there until the director mandates that he comes forth from the shadows. Is this supposed to be the case? Are we meant to think that hobbits are just ignorable creatures? Was this intentional? I mean, if we’re meant to not realize he exist, then you gotta commend the director because I often would forget that Bilbo is in the picture at all.

Anyway, we see that Bilbo’s comforts no longer are available to him. After a single scene, he’s suddenly an adventurer and we quickly forget about another major characteristic that defines what a hobbit is. Then comes the most annoying scene/sequence/character in the entire movie: Radagast the Brown. Seriously? Was it necessary to introduce this goof? Was it necessary to put all the little furries in? I realize that The Hobbit originally was intended for children, but did Peter Jackson have to reinforce this interpretation in the movie? Shouldn’t the huge fan base that came out of the Lord of the Rings be any indication that we crave something serious?

I think it’s interesting that we can finally put a face to other wizards in the Tolkien’s world. However, he just came out of nowhere. Then he disappeared into nowhere. WTF? Even Arwen had a better purpose in Peter Jackson’s movies. This guy served no purpose whatsoever. He wasn’t comic relief, he wasn’t anything. He was filler because Peter Jackson looked around and asked, “Gee, how can I bloat a movie that should probably take at most 2 movies with useless side trivia?” Even the elves who appeared out of nowhere to help during the Battle of Helms deep had a coolness factor. I mean, if this character existed in Peter Jackson’s interpretation for children, is it wise to tell your audience that he was doing drugs? Talk about mixed messages!

So the dwarves stumble upon some trolls. Here’s another pivotal scene from the book. But it’s a very odd scene because unlike all the previous trolls in the entire franchise, these trolls actually talk! I was honestly hoping after they caught all the dumb ass dwarves that they would have asked, “Umad?” That would’ve at least made my day.

But instead, we get some goofy looking CGI things that added more frat boy crude humor into the series. At this point, I no longer felt like I was watching anything from JRR Tolkien, but instead re-watching Snow White. However, Snow White had the redeeming feature of Charlize Theron acting as the uber sexy evil queen. My dick shriveled up seeing that this was going to be a bad bromance. The thing is that you knew as a fan of the series that the dwarves would be captured. However, why turn the event into something with lowbrow humor? The original cave troll was an epic creature and pretty darn frightening. These trolls resembled nothing like the other one outside of crappier CGI effects. Maybe it was us getting trolled to say the least by buying into the hype.

Anyway, Gandalf predictably rescues their asses once again and I suppose everyone levels up from the experience of Gandalf power leveling them. Now, Bilbo most of is the one who gains at least one level from this situation as he gained treasure and a cool dagger. Not to mention he leveled up his skill in pickpocketing so we saw some growth in him. The rest of the company outside of Gandalf, who should be renamed Gandalf the Dick Manipulator, probably gained nothing. If this were a game where attributes also increased based upon leveling up, the dwarves would clearly be reducing their intellect and wisdom per episode because they just seem to get into far worse predicaments as they go along.

Next we have a little meet up scene where some orc guy who hates Aragorn Part 2 inexplicably makes a predictable comeback. Since Aragorn Part 2 was NOT prepared, we’ll prolong the fateful battle for probably the ending of the last part in this series. Anyway, your worg-replacing-car-chase scene ensues with our hippy pot smoking friend Radagast serves as your proverbial distraction, allowing our heroes to slip into what looks like a cave. Here, I honestly wasn’t sure how close to the original flow Peter Jackson was going to take the story. When I saw the cave and orcs, I immediately assumed that Peter Jackson was going to skip over the meeting with Elrond and go directly into the goblin city scene.

But that’s all part of this schizophrenic, selfish interpretation that Peter Jackson in his attempt to destroy the memories of Tolkien’s work is slowly wrecking upon us. He puts in these little elements that I think is attempting to throw off people who are more familiar with the original work to create a sense of (unnecessary) tension.

Anyway, that said, we’re all lucky (for now) as we finally make it to Rivendell and are re-introduced to Agent Smith. Come on, you know it’s Agent Smith! I’m just waiting for him to bust out with the “Mr. Anderson.” Okay, so that hasn’t (disappointingly) happened yet and we get to see some tensions arise between the dwarves and elves. But look who else gets make their cameos? Why it’s Galadriel and Sarumon! Since when did they ever appear in The Hobbit? Well, I guess once Peter Jackson decided he needed more unnecessary filler. But I guess part of that is okay since Galadriel actually looks sexier here than she did in the previous movies, not to mention that this movie needed a shot of female. I couldn’t take another bad beard shot at this point.

But let’s move on. We get small foreshadowings of Sauron and things to happen for the upcoming (or past coming depending on where you are) sequel. We can only guess that the evil environment depicted in The Hobbit has a connection to the events in Lord of the Rings. But that’s what happens when you have to re-write your own history. I honestly don’t know what real use this has in the scheme of things outside of making the connection between both series, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see how all this plays out.

Regardless, the dwarves scurry away and Gandalf has to play catch up. I’m not sure if that really happened in the book but it’s supposed to explain why he wasn’t around when the dwarves got captured by the goblins. Oh, sorry. That happens almost next. But just before that we get one of the weirdest ideas I’ve seen for a giant ever. We get a storm giant battle. WTF are storm giants doing here? I have no recollection of that whatsoever. In fact, why are storm giants fighting with each other? If they were attempting to squash the dwarves, yeah, I could accept that. But all we get is a simple, “It’s like the legends of old!” type of line to explain this nonsense. Of course, the real purpose is yet more fucking filler with some supposed cutting edge fight scenes that accidentally cause the dwarves to seek shelter.

That whole scene reminded me of the equally bad and useless dinosaur chase scene from Peter Jackson’s  King Kong. Naturally, we can accept some of the fantastic elements to The Hobbit considering that The Hobbit is, after all, a fantasy story. That said, “story” elements like this really do nothing for me except to make me realize how much time and money Peter Jackson and Hollywood tend to waste on things. Honestly, nothing really comes out of the scene outside of the fact that it supposedly motivates the dwarves to seek shelter underground. But as you could clearly see, the storm giants were themselves part of the mountain. How can you trust any mountains at this point to be safe when the very mountain you were climbing was a fucking giant? Wouldn’t you want to get the fuck off the mountain rather than into the mountain? What if the cave was part of a storm giant and the guy moved his knee? Wouldn’t they be crushed by the transformation?

Okay, so finally we’re inside this shelter and we see poor Bilbo’s nutsack shrinking to the size of an ant’s head. Finally, we get back to some character building to show that Bilbo is just a plain old dude who should’ve stayed in bed that one fateful day. Maybe the storm giants acted as a slight plot device to give him some motivation, but the focus was entirely wrong. There was so much clusterfuckiness with the fight that Peter Jackson ignored the psychology of Bilbo’s fear during that whole sequence. Why didn’t the trolls and orcs also scare the living shit out of Bilbo up until this point? We know he doesn’t want to fight, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a coward neither. But suddenly this scene shows up out of nowhere and again serves no purpose outside of attempting to remind the audience that Bilbo is just a fucking boring ass hobbit.

Without giving the audience a chance to really absorb the thought process (or lack thereof) behind Bilbo’s even more revealing manic depressive 180 degree spinning thought process, the dwarves and he are once again tossed into yet another fire pit with the goblins. Okay, so we’re back on track with the plot. Fortunately, the goblins here mostly are consistent with the ones we saw back during the Lord of the Rings. Most importantly though, we’re here to see the Giant Goblin, aka Prototypical American Obesity.

This guy was just….I don’t know how you put it? Lack of trying perhaps? I mean, the Dark Crystal looked far better than this CGI puss infested piece of nose drip. It’s like the people who animated this decided to regress to the original animated version of The Hobbit and resurrect the exact feeling from there. By now, I really thought all I was watching was an updated version of that cartoon. Of the 3-4 things I was looking for to, this one of them. What a pile of demoralizing butt fungus this scene was.

On top of that, the Great Goblin came off sounding far more intelligent than any of the dwarves. He might be Great but he’s just a goblin. Goblins are fucking stupid. That’s why they suck and live underground and people can kick their ass. Yet their lair is pretty damn advanced with all the networks to host their complex living structure. I was pretty impressed by the little Salacious Crumb thingee acting as a precursor to SMS. Even the dwarves, who supposedly are great craftsmen, can’t figure out how to rebuild their fucking home.

We take a little detour when Bilbo gets into a fight with a goblin and he stumbles down a shaft, leading into Gollum’s lair. Yes! Finally, the best character in all of the series makes his return! And once again, Gollum proves to be the only character in the entire Peter Jackson line up that has a fully developed personality that requires little obvious dialog. Although I cannot remember reading about Gollum discovering the body of a goblin and clubbering him (as Dusty Rhodes would say) with a rock, it’s actually a great character development piece that added a lot to Gollum. We’ve known what a sneaky little bastard he is, but we never understood his vicious side. I’m not talking about when he occasionally attempts to assassinate Frodo, but the fact of how he managed to survive so many years.

It’s a pretty dark scene that makes us inclined to really hate Gollum. Yes, the goblin is a victim and supposedly evil because of his nature. However, there is a youthful appearance to this particular goblin and that bonking some hapless creature over the head is probably a pretty low act in most people’s books. Also, one nice little bit is showing how Gollum loses the ring and Bilbo immediately finding it. Again, not entirely factual but it’s such a short scene that I don’t think it hurt the overall story compared to some mushroom inhaling hippies (ahem).

We get the whole riddle sequence and both characters play it off very well. The riddles are told faithfully and are some of the best aspects of Tolkien’s writings. So the fact that Peter Jackson left them intact is a great thing. Also, when Bilbo unfairly asks Gollum about what’s in his pocket, Gollum going ballistic but slowly realizing what’s going on demonstrates that he’s far more intelligent (and dangerous) than we’re lead to suspect. This definitely was one of the highlights in the movie and I think because they managed to establish so much around Gollum from the previous films, it wasn’t difficult to demonstrate more to his character here.

Anyway, we return to the dwarves’ plight with the Great Goblin and as usual Deux Ex Machina shows up. This really did happen! And yes, Gandalf is Tolkien’s Deux Ex Machina! However, we’re given yet another gratuitous epic chase scene that didn’t seem as epic as the one from The Fellowship of the Rings. The whole cavern chase sequence was just another clusterfuck of scenes spliced together to establish yet another time waster for the sake of action bonefication. Best part was the revisiting of King Kong where we see the giant drop. Come on now! People don’t have broken backs, legs, arms, teeth, etc. when they fall 100 fucking feet from the air! And on top of that, you can run full pace after being pretty much crushed by a shitton of boulders. Trustorybrah.

As the dwarves manage to survive and Bilbo manages to slip on the ring by accident, entering in the pre-shadow world without really realizing it. Or perhaps he did? I mean, WTF? Shouldn’t he fucking freak out like Frodo when suddenly everything around you becomes a 60’s bad LSD trip? Anyway, poor little Gollum tries to run after Bilbo and Bilbo manages to go in the correct direction despite not knowing before how to escape. We finally get to one of the most important messages Tolkien attempted to convey in his book about compassion. Here, I think it’s a real mixed bag. Gollum in this scene looks desperate and confused. But as try I could, outside of perpetually rooting for Stinker, here I found no real good reason to pity him. Am I supposed to fall for everyone’s overly large animated blue eyes? This was a case of show and tell, but there wasn’t enough show and might even had needed some telling.

Also, let’s ask why Bilbo would want to kill Gollum here. Out of convenience because he stood in the way? And why was the act of mercy shown at this point? I imagine that Bilbo could’ve killed him during the riddle part. Or perhaps if Bilbo (as the original story I believe told it) had discovered the magical properties of the ring, he might’ve tried killing Gollum beforehand. But that would’ve been out of desperation.

The thing for me is that killing out of convenience doesn’t seem to be Bilbo’s MO. He’s a smart guy and a pacifist to boot. Considering that he always had that option to leap over Gollum, I thought this piece wasn’t really well established. I felt there wasn’t any good reason to pity Gollum outside of the fact that he blocked the passage, but that’s not a great reason all things considered.

Either way, Bilbo leaps over, pisses Gollum off because he got a boot to da head and makes a lifetime enemy. Fortunately, Gollum is piss poor because he should’ve hired some blokes to do his dirty work for him. But I guess Gollum is just one of those hands on kind of guys and I surmise that he wanted Bilbo to go sleep with his fishies some day.

Now, the dwarves are back on the road with Gandalf and the whole group is together. Bilbo slowly is attempting to establish that he’s a worthy party addition by showing up and attempting to dispel any doubts of him in the company. Again this really bothered me. I get that he’s listening and all that, but Bilbo doesn’t strike me as someone with a chip on his shoulder. He’s polite and has a kind heart at the basis but outside of some far out ideology, I don’t see any logical explanation why he wants to dispel his lack of initial loyalty to the dwarves. Because he needs to show him whom the real alpha male is? What does he get out of all of this? I mean, the contract he originally signed was pretty much shit. Where’s his keep?

Well, of course, we never get a chance to ponder over the most crucial aspects of the story since once again our attention must be filled with more gratuitous action. This time, Aragorn Part 2’s arch enemy makes his appearance and we get the worg chase scene. The dwarves scurry up the trees (which happens really fast; even in Tolkien’s version, I’m still having a tough time believing dwarves scaling trees without a great amount of difficulty) and are cornered.

Yet as we’re closely approaching the time limit for this movie, we need an epic fight scene. Hence, Aragorn Part 2 decides to retardedly jump down from the tree and risk everything that the dwarves are attempting to achieve by challenging his arch nemesis. Of course, he gets one shotted because he’s probably a level 5 compared to this orc and his worg, who are fucking bad asses so Deux Ex Machina #2 jumps in.

Yay for pivotal change of character!

Bilbo gets his cut of the action but pretty much is almost as a failure as most of the rest of the dwarves but it’s enough to rally the troops. They decide to zerg the worg, who I thought had far more numbers, and manage to do some damage. But it’s not enough so we get Deux Ex Machine #3: the eagles!

The eagles carry the dwarves to higher ground and we get a tell-not-show speech from Bilbo finally explaining his motives: “I love my home. Your home got fucked. Therefore, I want to help you get your love fuck home back.” What a fucking syllogism! How do hobbits survive with such irrepressible links in their logic? Are they related to Japanese women? Thorin decides that we need to emphasize the bromance part by giving Bilbo a very manly hug and we’re left wondering once again why the fuck the eagles didn’t just drop these guys off where they’re supposed to go!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!

But all this just plays a minor part as one of the dwarves mutters something nearly incomprehensible, leading to a bird flying to the point of destination and being the responsibility for awakening a fucking dragon. Not just any fucking dragon. Fucking Smaug. He’s fucking epic. He fucking is the reason why kids fear dragons. Puff was like Woodsy Owl for most of us. But Smaug inflicted nightmares.

So we’re now led to believe that it’s because of a fucking bird trying to eat why most of Middle Earth would almost get destroyed? Uhhhhhhhhh…….

Anyway, as you can tell, this movie was your prototypical hole filled action/fantasy script produced by Hollywood’s uber marketing machine. It has helped further denigrate the Tolkien legacy into a bigger cesspool of interpreted propaganda with Peter Jackson almost sleeping through the entire process. The movie felt like just rehashes of the film maker’s cinematic cliches, except stooping lower and lower to grab a giant scoop of the world’s brain dead thirst for visual effects.

That all aside, I enjoyed myself. I will probably go and see (or buy) the follow ups. Despite my caustic review, I have to look at movies like this with two sets of lenses. One is my natural instinct for attention to detail. The other is the kid inside who occasionally enjoys turning off my instinct and just being enthralled by the wonder of the camera lens. This is the type of movie where I can watch it over and over again because it has high entertainment value.

All the shitty arbitrary plot devices easily can be ignored because this is the type of movie I can slot on while eating dinner or playing a game and letting this roll in the background. Contrast that with say Prometheus or The Dark Knight Rises. Prometheus isn’t a movie I want to watch while having supper. Face being pounded into hamburger resembling what probably was my hamburger before being cooked? Woman getting her stomach ripped open to extract a blood exploding octopus freak?

And The Dark Knight Rises while watchable over eating, isn’t something that is easily re-watchable. It’s slow and plodding at times and there’s a lot of down points which can be boring. But it’s also a movie you probably want to watch with a great attention to detail because there’s a lot going on, perhaps too much for the brain to handle when it just wants some fast paced, non-offensive action here and there.

I could deal without the return to the childish insinuations for which I think this movie partly was aimed at. Fortunately, those moments weren’t enough of a Jar Jar Binks to completely ruin the remainder of the movie. However, I truly hope that they minimize those elements especially with the upcoming sequels to this.

Lastly, I lied about the “quick” aspect.

Lego 4207 City Garage Review

Lego 4207 is actually an older set from 2012 that I just picked up. I hadn’t made a major Lego purchase in a while but I knew that I absolutely had to own this set. Essentially, the City Garage is a remake of the only other city garage type of system back from 1988 known as the Metro Park. Because of the scarcity of that type of set and the scale that Lego was able to reproduce it, this set becomes a must have for any hardcore City Lego collector.

At 933 pieces, this set is another epic level creation. You get an amazing four vehicles and fully operational elevator for your cars to traverse up and down this multilevel structure. It might seem slightly empty when you look at it from the outside, but don’t let appearances fool you. This set has a great deal of elements and is quite a blast to put together.

Lego 4207 Mini Cooper

The first car you get to build reminds me of a mini cooper. You get a female occupant as the driver. It’s got a sleek feeling and differs slightly from the other yellow car included in this package.

Lego 4207 Van

This van is quite a set in itself. Rarely, do you get to see plain vans so this vehicle is a nice addition to the Lego city universe. It reminds me of a scaled down Volkswagen Van that was sold. While there’s only a single driver, inside you can see room for another occupant. There’s a small cup inside behind the driver’s seat, which is a nice touch. Also, the hub caps are a neat little touch.

Lego 4207 Yellow Wagon

The next pair of vehicles are another wagon type of car and tow truck. The wagon is notable for the driver who reminds me of an ex-coworker, except that he’s dressed in a suit. Behind his seat, you can place his suit case.

Lego 4207 Orange Tow Truck

Lego 4207 Tow Truck Towing Wagon

The tow truck is an interesting vehicle included in this set. I say interesting in that it’s an odd choice to a degree. There is a small repair shop on the 2nd floor of the garage. You can see at the end of the instruction manual though that some where down the line, the little yellow wagon has some issues and requires the aid of the tow truck.

Lego 4207 Garage Entrance and Toll Gate

From there, I decided to photograph each of the major sections as I assembled it. The first section of the building is a gated entrance to the structure. It’s pretty cool in that you have a system that looks to operate like a toll booth at your parking garage. You get a ramp that leads to the elevator once the elevator is at ground level. Also, as part of this section, you get your fuel pump. The fuel pump is detached from the main set. In some ways, I wish that it was part of the structure but there’s no room within the set to place it.

Lego 4207 Car Wash Section

The other bottom section is a car wash. I think the older Metro Park also had a car wash, but this one is slightly updated in that it contains the little brush-like pieces and techniques used to cleanse your vehicles.

Lego 4207 Second Floor Security Office

The next area you get to build is the security office. This was a nice touch to the set where you get a middle aged (probably underpaid) guard who uses his surveillance camera to monitor the second level. Also, on this level you get to see the first little parking spot for your vehicles. Altogether, the set has six spots available for average sized cars, not including the space on the ramp and elevator.

Lego 4207 Second Floor Repair Section

On the opposite side of the security office on the second floor is a make shift repair section. There’s not a lot to this area except some tools for the guy running the tow truck. I thought that was a bizarre element to add to this set, but it does add a little more color/depth to the set beyond just boring, empty parking spaces.

Lego 4207 Third Floor Parking Spot

Next you come to the third floor, which pretty much are duplicates on both sides. Here, you have four spaces, two on each side with the elevator gadget in the middle.

Lego 4207 Elevator Pulley

The elevator aspect is pretty cool in that it uses a pulley mechanism to lower and raise vehicles to each floor. It’s quite sturdy and probably can hold more than the vehicles supplied in this set as long as they can fit on the elevator platform. A small gear on the side allows you to operate the pulley. And of course, we get the standard Octan symbol advertising the garage.

Lego 4207 City Garage

Ultimately, this set is such a wonderful set. It has a tremendous amount of detail with all the stickers enhancing what could’ve been a far more bland structure and making it seem lively. It has a very sturdy feel to it and despite the seemingly thin beams providing most of the vertical structure, it feels strong with small 3×1 smooth tiles reinforcing these beams vertically.

Although the set can serve as a car wash, gas station and repair shop, the main feature as the city’s monolithic garage really adds a great deal of flavor to the Lego world. Given any of your spare pedestrian vehicles, you could make this set feel even fuller by occupying each of the free spaces. At $129, this set can be daunting for most people. I personally would love to have multiple of these if I had both the money and space because of the sheer usefulness from a set like this. Every town needs a garage like this so if you missed out on the older Metro Park set, don’t miss out on this one.

Lego 60004 Fire Station Review

As a long time fire station Lego collector, I’ve seen them all and I think I might have virtually every Lego fire station in existence. So imagine how pumped up I was in seeing this 2013’s newest edition: 60004. Entitled simply “Fire Station”, 60004 quite possibly is the most epic Lego fire station ever made. Certainly by the price, this set is the most expensive to date. At 752 pieces, it might very well be the largest fire station in the history of Lego (I really don’t want to count the other major one a few years back that interconnects with the other mega downtown city set themes; I thought that wasn’t truly representative of most Lego fire stations). Regardless, this set deserves its own review by the sheer scale.

Lego 60004 Fire Station

Ever since Town Junior made its mark many years ago, it seems that Lego decided to move into the opposite direction after scathing criticism and the fear that Lego was becoming too simplistic. Since that point, the fire stations have grown steadily in size and complexity. I believe the last 2-3 re-introduced the garage elements. What 60004 has done is culminate in every element of all fire stations into the mega complex that many of us hardcore Lego fire station fanatics have been waiting for. And it sure has not disappointed.

Lego 60004 Fire Station Paramedic Unit Car

Let’s start off with the paramedic unit. The mode for this vehicle follows other recent paramedic vehicles. The rear can be lifted open in holding an oxygen mask and tank. The driver though is a female, which is something new in concept since older sets had suggested women were more in the office. Now, we’re seeing women figures take more active roles in these sets.

Lego 60004 fire helicopter

The next major component is the helicopter. I believe the last fire station was missing a fire helicopter, which is why it felt smaller in some respects. However, this set has one and makes it quite complete in terms of all the varying elements that Lego has introduced over the years to fire stations. The chopper itself isn’t anything special, only serving as an air unit with a single hose to put out fires from the sky.

Lego 60004 fire engine

For the last of the vehicles included in this set, we have an aerial ladder styled truck. I was a bit ambivalent on this truck. This year, we’ve seen several other very similar sets added into the mix. I was somewhat surprised that Lego decided to go this route. While this component does not outshine 60002, it does seem redundant in comparison to 60003. Part of me wishes that Lego had done something different for one of those sets as they share too similar features without any particular one standing out.

Lego 60004 dalmatian trash can fire

What really stands out for me are not the vehicles but the station itself. The station has so much detail and contains all the cliches Lego has developed over the years and then some. For instance, we see the prototypical fire Dalmatian along with a box filled with flames (strange element but hey it’s different; maybe they use it for practice?)

Lego 60004 bottom floor

The bottom floor of the station contains the main “office”. Here, I planted the fire chief to manage the calls and monitor any alerts that occur on the map. Off to the side, we can see a small trolley which contains several tools. This is one element that is new to the fire station genre.

Lego 60004 second floor

Compared to the top and bottom floors, the second floor is somewhat bland. It’s main purpose, inside of the tower that is, is to hold spare tools. My one complaint about this floor is that it also is used to hold the helicopter platform. Unfortunately, there are no doors that lead to the helipad. Instead, Lego somewhat cheeses this by leaving the office side open. I find this detail a big subtraction since we’ve seen older police stations with doors leading to their helipads. If this section had a wall, I would probably scream.

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The top floor is the dining “hall”. It contains a small sink and stove. There’s even a little hot dog you can cook over a frying pan (how ironic). On the back of the box, one of the funny little stories Lego tells is how a fire man is lounging in the rear, waiting for the next call. Like the 2nd floor of the tower, this floor also leaves one side of the building exposed. Unlike the 2nd floor though, this seems to have no purpose outside of cheap summer air conditioning.

Lego 60004 chute pole

One element that took me by surprise was the sliding pole. I should clarify that “surprise” for me was seeing how the 2nd and 3rd floors had one exposed window frame. The slide element made sense for this aspect and reminded me of another fire station that had a similar structure a few years ago.

Lego 60004 side view heliport

Lego 60004 garage open

Overall, I found this set to be one of my personally anticipated sets of all time. A few years ago I had mentioned in another blog post about how Lego was leading towards an epic fire station. This set feels as though Lego has throughout its career created the ultimate fire station. It feels as close to perfect as you can expect. While I do have a few complaints, they are completely drowned in favor of a great design and meeting all expectations coming from the hefty $110 price tag.

The question that comes out of this is “Can Lego beat this?” That is highly subjective. I think Lego can continue creating permutations of this type of set. Outside of my quips, my three ideas for improving upon this set would be to have a bedroom, a third garage for another set (since there was only one set in the history of Lego fire stations that ever had more than two garages for its vehicles) and making the set more modular by allowing sections of the set to be interconnected with other small fire station garage type of components.

That said, design-wise, there’s not a lot of room elsewhere. I hope that Lego eventually comes up with a similar set for a hospital. I feel that all the types of sets that Lego has come up with for  town should have a once-in-a-lifetime-minimum treatment where they receive an epic design. Glad to see that the fire station finally got its due.

Lego City 60002 and 60003 Review

In my next set of reviews of sets I recently purchased, we have two new Lego City fire sets in 60002 and 60003. Anyone who has known me since my childhood realizes that I’ve been a big Lego fire nut. My second major set in my life was Engine Company No 1, which set off my passion and lifelong hobby. While I have become somewhat delinquent in keeping up with most of the insane output from Lego, I’ve pretty much made it a personal mission to collect most of the fire sets, especially if they’re good ones.

Let’s start off by looking at Lego 60002, the Fire Truck. In some ways, this set resembles the larger fire engine from older sets 6385 and 6366, namely in what I call the “bus window” for the front. It’s got a very boxy-shaped structure, but with a surprising amount of details both in the form of a fair number of decals and tools for the fire fighters.

The rear section allows you to store all the different implements the fire fighters use for their jobs while a double sided compartment which you flip contains a tiny box for an oxygen mask and nozzle you can attach to the fire hose. The nozzle has a blue flame, which in this context means spraying water. I thought that was an interesting little use of the flame piece. The front section of the truck actually allows you to fit both fire fighters inside the truck. The last little part is a fire hydrant where a hose can connect to the tiny gray piece stick near the left side. The hydrant itself has a small gray platform that you can use to add to a side walk.

Lego City 60002 Fire Truck

Next, we come to 60003, the Fire Emergency. This set also has a hook and ladder type of vehicle, albeit slight smaller with less tools. But you also get a burning building, which I thought was an interesting original touch from Lego. Historically, most Fire sets pretty much just include the vehicles and a fire house. This is the first set, to my recollection, that has a building that’s on fire. That aspect drew me to the set as it added a new element to my town series.

The building itself is just a prop. Beyond the flames and a bucket with a sweeper, there’s not much else to this building on the interior. With the boards on the outside, it appears to be an abandoned store perhaps that managed to catch fire. I’m kinda sad in that respect because I’d like to see more detail for these prop sets. It feels like the older movie sets minus the super hero like Spiderman. But hey I’ll take what I can get.

One interesting thing is that the set does include three fire fighters, one of which is female (I use her as my driver). Considering that the truck is just a one seater, it makes you wonder just how the other two arrived. Yes, I’m being a bit critical but I’m going to lead to something in a bit.

Lego City 60003 Fire Emergency

Overall, I think these two sets are worthy additions to your fire collection. There is some uniqueness worth picking these up, especially for die hard Lego fire fans.

Now, onto my criticism of these sets. I alluded to earlier how 60003 provides three mini figures while the truck only has room for one. Now, in comparison to 60002, I found this detail a little disturbing. The trend in the past decade has been to make larger and larger vehicles. You still have slimmer vehicles, but the inconsistent scale between these two drives me nuts. I think some of the construction vehicles were by far the most guilty, having outrageous scale like the dump truck or the crane.

But why be so mad at this aspect? Doesn’t having larger vehicles imply more detail? Yes and no. I feel that a lot of the detail that goes into newer sets is pretty artificial. Most of it is just excess decals. I find the abundance of decals in sets these days to really take away the experience of a set. Not to mention, the problem that decals can slowly erode or wipe off over time.

My main issue all these years is simply the incompatibility between older sets and current sets. Scale has always been an issue with Lego but it’s easy to ignore considering it’s a toy. But I feel that, at least with town, scale should be more consistent overall. It simply looks weird and awkward having these variable sizes in a town. And where do you put some of these ridiculously huge vehicles like the crane or dump truck?

Part of it feels that Lego simply wants to charge more for the packaging than on the actual quality of the set. Having larger vehicles only marginally increases the parts count. But the box sizes are pretty ridiculous for what you get along with the price. I would be far more inclined spending money on greater quantities of sets as opposed to being picky about which sets I can afford both monetarily and in space.

Now, I never want to see the concept of Town Jr ever again. That was horrible (despite me buying into it). But at the same time, I doubt Lego will regress to the 80s where scale, quantity and price felt more reasonable. However, it is a direction I would like to see.

Lego 70705 Review

I decided to bite the bullet today and pick up a few Lego sets at Target. The first one I built was 70705 from the new series Galaxy Squad called “Bug Obliterator.” The set is actually three vehicles where one can be combined from the two Galaxy Squad sections and the other is a wasp-like hover craft of sorts.

I picked this set for the first of group as I felt that the main space craft has a nice color theme that matches closely with the older Mars Mission sets in orange and white. More importantly, without looking into detail at the set, I realized right away that the two vehicles could be united:

Lego 70705 Combined Starcraft

Before we get into this part, I want to discuss the little wasp piece. I’m not really a huge fan of insectoid creations in general. But I can see why Lego often uses them as a sort of nemesis (quite a few games do this like World of Warcraft). I suppose if anything Lego is training future fumigators for your home.

That said, the little wasp piece has a few interesting colors going for it in the Now-n-Later neon green, maroon, dark gray and black. It’s very creepy with the six claw-like legs and frontal pincers. However, the little bug guy manning the ship is the star of the craft, having a menacing head. I can’t find the antennae attached to the helmet piece so it might’ve dropped some place on my floor or desk. The main feature for this piece is the attached cocoon pod sitting behind the rider. I believe you can place abducted space men inside where the troops attempt to save their comrade. Beyond that, there’s little inspiration for this piece, although the rear tail is jointed and looks to have a cannon mounted at the end of the tail.

Lego 70705 Alien Wasp

The next aspect you get to build is the ground rover, which serves as a missile turret system. The turret can be elevated and hidden in the rear. The top section is a plasma cannon that you can remove and have the driver hold as a formidable weapon. The interesting part beyond the missile rack is the driver itself. The driver wears a pretty cool looking helmet and might actually be a robot since there is no head beneath the helmet. Underneath is a sweet little armor chest piece with two notches that you attach a pair of wings. Surprisingly, you can fold the wings up and store the driver inside the cockpit. Now, I had a slight amount of trouble fitting him inside as the wings barely provide enough room for the driver and have the possibility of sliding off with the cockpit connector just bulging above.

Lego 70705 Ground Rover
The last section of the set is the main ship. It’s a mid-sized fighter and is split into two packages. Sadly, there’s not as many moving parts as I would have liked. But I think that compromise is made up in terms of the structural integrity of the craft. It’s quite sturdy and solid overall. I think that design was kept in mind since the primary feature of this set is to connect the ground craft to this ship. The ground craft has a little bit of weight so the rear section needs to be able to reliably hold it in place. Considering that only two little joints connect the two crafts together, the design does a great job in preventing the two from splitting off easily.

Like the turret aspect of the ground rover, the space craft can hoist the cockpit up to allow the ground rover to unite. However, besides the side wings being able to swivel slightly, there’s not a whole lot else going for this set.

Lego 70705 Space Craft

Some of my chief disappointments was the general lack of playability considering the price and number of parts. The space craft has a good look but doesn’t do much. I felt that too much of the set had more details by using stickers to give it character whereas some glaring deficiencies existed. For instance, where do you place the spare astronaut after you “rescue” him? Where do the laser pistols go? There should be at least some storage unit where you could contain those pistols when the astronauts are flying around.

The other thing I’m not overly found of are the oval shaped cockpits. It’s become more standard these days but the shape make it harder to design other types of cockpits. You pretty much are forced into using that slanted design. Also, for a space craft, the shape just does not seem air tight.

Lastly, does Lego really need to add alien bug units just to create a mythical threat? The insectoid craft are quite ugly on average and look like something you would use to scare the neighbor’s cat. I find it hard to use them as parts for a different type of craft because of the make up and mentality behind those sets. For myself, I could’ve easily done without the spare insectoid craft, bring the price down a little and just have a kick-ass looking space craft.

Overall, do I feel that this set is worth the money? The space craft alone for the design is worth the money. It’s a very good looking craft and the rover aspect compliments the feeling well. I can see it fitting into the Mars Mission series stylistically and parts-wise. I probably won’t be picking every thing set in this series since the more bug oriented ones look terrible and their counterpart astronauts do not have any outstanding craft that really make me want to go out and pick them up. But this is a good start to the general space sub branch.

World of Warcraft: Quick 5.0.4 Impressions

I managed to give the 5.0.4 patch a spin tonight. Most of it was attempting to adjust my talents and figure out how to maximize the glyphs that were still available on my toons. I have to say that the talents and glyphs are practically useless. Talents overall seem more geared towards PVPers while glyphs don’t have any real function. The minor glyphs for the most part are visual effects and probably can be skipped entirely.

Originally, I was going to play my priest a bit because she is pretty close to acquiring a new trinket. When I went to the former valor point vender, I noticed that the priest trinket did not show but instead was displaying a tanking one. It turns out that they have a filter on items so this is obviously bugged. Still, the interface somewhat discouraged me from pursuing my priest’s trinket.

Instead, I switched to my rogue to give LFR a spin. Morchok was weird because my rogue took significantly higher damage than before, especially with the stomps. Previously, my rogue used some talent points to boost up her armor contributions. Not sure if that impacted the damage reception from Morchok. Damage output was higher as we seemed to slice through Morchok, etc. fairly quickly. If anything, the only difficulty was making sure my rotation still held. At least with the rogue, everything seemed okay. I did check out Noxxic to check on the rotation. There was a talent that supposedly could impact my rotation but I ended up ignoring it. Bottom line for that was the talent tree appears more cosmetic than anything truly useful.

The loot system was more frustrating though. I do feel as though I scored more money potentially, but it’s hard to say because I never sat down to calculate the exact amount. Now, just like in older instances, you get a loot bag. If you’re lucky you get an item. However, if you get an item that you don’t need, you cannot trade it as all items dropped by the bag is considered soulbound. So really you’re at the utter mercy of the cruel RNG gods when it comes to loot.

Another subtle change was only allowing people get 150 JP for a single LFG run. You can still run LFG but the payout for JP will be lower. If you’re still not 85 yet, that might hurt slightly although you will be able to purchase 397 gear with JP. As a result, it really becomes up to you with regards to effort for gearing. You could run HoT Heroics all day and completely gear up your toon with the max JP gear.

The loss of the range/relic slot was fist shaking frustrating, especially for my hunter. I managed to get the polearm and bow. But the polearm in itself was a pain to get for a while. The fact that Blizzard trivially got rid of that slot altogether is a huge slap in the face to players who grinded for months attempting to fill out all their slots.

Going back to LFG, the rotation issue surface as a result of no add on working at the moment. It was somewhat confusing having to deal with Blizzard’s piss poor base UI system in figuring out which buffs/debuffs you have. So hopefully, these developers for 3rd party add ons will quickly deploy updates. It might not be worth it though considering how close we are to the real expansion.

On the side though, I saw many guildies login briefly. It felt as though people were eager to check out the updates. However, once they saw the mutilation done to their toons, they pretty much quit. I have a feeling that this expansion will cause even more players to quit. The main problem is simply the unnecessary revisions done to toons. Honestly, why fuck around with something that was working before? It really feels like the PVPers QQ’d so much on the forums that Blizzard ended up bowing to them for an entire expansion.

I think the only way this upcoming expansion will succeed is if the content is satisfying and engaging enough to retain people’s interests. For myself, I tried the beta and didn’t see anything that really compelled me to spend that much time. The only thing I did pretty much was check out the talents (which obviously were a huge disappointment) and wandering around the new continent.

I have a feeling that the content itself won’t be that great. The only features that might be interesting are the pet battles and the new landscape. The remaining stuff is just more of the same. I feel that Blizzard is just out of touch at this point with World of Warcraft and their focus on forcing people to grind is wearing everyone out. Each expansion it feels as though Blizzard is killing its legacy and that the wrong people are running the show.

Well, hopefully Blizzard can end WoW on a more uplifting note. Right now, the future is pretty dim.

Shadow Priest Now is Level 82

I pushed right through Northrend this past week in trying to hit 85 before the expansion comes out. At the moment, I managed to hit level 82 on my Shadow Priest and am about to start the Deepholme quest chain. Once I hit level 85, it will mark my 10th level 85, giving me the full range of classes at the moment in the World of Warcraft. I decided to blog about my experience thus far in retrospect as I aim towards 85.

First, the shadow priest definitely is one of my least favorite classes in the game. Of course, you might be wondering why I even bothered leveling one in the first place if I disliked it. The point was to experience the class and see if there were any benefits to playing it. Thus far, I found the class to have been one of the least enjoyable overall mostly because other classes surpass everything the shadow priest can do.

Some may argue that the shadow priest’s damage can make them a top DPS in raids. Ignoring that aspect for the moment, I want to focus just on the play style. The class primarily is thought of as a dot class. Some compare the shadow priest to an affliction warlock. I tend to disagree. I found that the class is closer to a boomkin. You’re really just managing two primary dots on a target while racing to get 3-4 long casting abilities up. If anything, the main difference is that the shadow priest can do an AoE heal rather than just a self-heal. So perhaps in that regard, the shadow priest plays more interesting in a group setting.

However, one of the worst things I’ve found about the class is just a lack of AoE abilities until hitting level 74. Sure, we get holy nova, but that really isn’t practical. That made instance grinding a nightmare, especially when confronted with a lot of mobs. Another element that I dislike about the class is the general slowness as a class. Only at the highest levels do you start seeing some movement boosters. But compared to death knights, hunters, paladins, mages, etc. you really don’t get much and often times find yourself running desperately to catch up to the rest of the group.

Another huge problem is mana. For the most part, you’re going to be mana starved. Once again, until you start hitting higher levels, you’ll be constantly waiting around drinking. Earlier today, I was in an instance with another shadow priest. Her mana was constantly depleted and she wondered just how I managed to keep near full. My trick mostly was in one of the major glyphs, combined with a rotation that allowed replenishment. I think once my shadow priest hits 85, the glyph no longer will be relevant so I might start encountering mana problems again (then again certain talents like Dark Evangelism might solve it along with putting more talent points in reducing the cost of instant cast spells).

Next, we really have no interrupts and good CC. If you want an interrupt, you have to spec into one to gain silence. But then why should you be forced to take a dedicated spec just for a few specific encounters? And the CC for a shadow priest really sucks. We do get an AoE fear and a certain glyph will hold our enemies in place. However, we’re required to be close to our enemies in order to use that. In some encounters, that just isn’t practical, especially considering that we’re a ranged class wearing crap armor.

Of course, old school shadow priest will claim that mind control is the ultimate form of CC. Again, I think that aspect is more geared towards PVP oriented play. I have read how some people will use mind control in Heroic Cataclysm instances to manipulate healers. But as a DPS class, I am not allowed to focus on other mobs while channeling mind control. So for me, this form of CC is useless.

The only thing I do like is the Power Word Shield ability. That has saved my ass on a lot of occasions. That to me is the difference maker in many encounters. Combine that with healing abilities, the shadow priest can shine in their own light.

At any rate, I hope that by next weekend my shadow priest will be at level 85. I will try to make it before then as I would like to run Cataclysm HoTs and LFR before the next expansion comes out. My ultimate purpose though is just to get a chance to really play each class to their fullest and see how each class feels.

Watched Idiocracy

Once again Mike Judge’s social acumen on stupid rings true in this movie. While not the funniest movie nor even being that funny of a movie, the social criticism in this movie is what made me fascinated. Essentially, Mike Judge is arguing that as a species humans are becoming dumber. While we are advancing elements of technology like the internet, the vast majority of our efforts are spent towards cheap entertainment while our interactions are becoming cruder and very primordial.

It’s completely fathomable of this dystopian future that Judge is predicting in this movie. He sees humanities incline towards decadence and barbarism as the primary reasons for the fall of humanity. The first scene establishes this dichotomy where we have two couples: 1) the rationale, intelligent and extremely modern type and 2) the alpha male Jersey Shore type that you find in a fraternity or football team. The rationale intelligent couple fears the economy and prohibits having children for a while. Unfortunately, their decisions for abstinence leads towards a tragic ending for their lineage as the husband meets a fatal end while the wife continually hopes for the perfect man. On the other hand, the imbecile couple breed quite frequently, eventually creating a huge tree of people that dominate society.

Even now, we can both situations occurring. For instance, in Japan the population is in a steep decline even being threatened for extinction. The thing about the Japanese is that they’re fairly smart on average as a society but the recent economic downturn has created fears for having families. But if you check out our own society at the poverty levels, you can see mass breeding. Similarly, the women’s movement can be partly to blame for the instillation of the whole “perfect man” scenario, where those with the highest (theoretical) qualities are the ones desirable, leaving intelligent ones (i.e. those that do not possess the most physically attractive traits) to remain solo.

Beyond that, the heavily advertised and corporate run world are underlying causes for the resulting decline in civilization. The Brawndo conglomerate is seen to have bought out the FDA and other agencies that regulate our health and food systems. Because of the mass employment by Brawndo and the blind fealty to their stock prices, a deadly circular chain is erected where people are too stupid to realize how Brawndo is killing the environment and destroying people’s health.

Although the movie is fiction, you cannot deny the parallels between that aspect and corporations like McDonalds, etc. who evidently have their hands deep in the backside of groups like the FDA to allow their unsavory products and methods of production to exist.

I think one of the interesting things about the film is how Judge does not attempt to directly point the finger at any individual but at humans on a whole. Some people might attempt to knock on so-called secret societies like the Illuminati or Bilderberg group as having setup this global catastrophe. Quite the contrary with Judge where he more than likely, realistically and correctly faults human inhibition as the number one source where all these problems are derived.

In many ways, Mike is correct with where he caustically aims his sights. At the end of the day, people are ultimately responsible for their own actions. If you examine the scenes of the trial and Not Sure’s Rehabilitation scene, the entire thing is setup as a one way spectacle, a catharsis for everyone except Not Sure and behaves like a reading from Orwell’s 1984 regarding the whole 2 minute hate acts. Here, no one attempts to listen to reason and instead revert to primordial instincts of brutality to achieve their momentary relief. However, only Not Sure, as the average Joe, does something different: he accepts responsibility and assumes the blame.

To me Mike is making an overt statement that people are simply reverting to a primitive period. Self sacrifice is considered noble, similar to how in the movie Prometheus, the engineers would sacrifice themselves to bring about prosperity. This is a direct message to the average person, a plea to get off their asses and make positive changes in the world, even small ones to prevent the human race as a whole from entering into this pathetic theoretical world.

As someone who has preached for years on the need to remove myself from the masses, I certainly align myself with Mike’s vision. I already see too many parallels and it scares me. For instance, the worship of stupidity and the degradation of intelligence as being “faggotry.” Add to the self indulgence we’re not that far from this end point.