The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago opened up a new Star Wars miniland this weekend, and it is all The Phantom Menace. Located in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is exhibiting three interactive dioramas showing off scenes from the first prequel film:
- The Naboo hangar, with launching starfighter and duel scene
- The Mos Espa podrace arena, with controllable Anakin and Sebulba podracers
- The Naboo plains battlefield, where Gungans and battle droids face off
The new set of Star Wars dioramas, a first for a U.S. LEGOLAND Discovery Center, is made with over 500,000 LEGO bricks and 2,000 mini figures. Additionally, the Chicago skyline diorama will also celebrate the opening by including Star Wars minifigures and other references in its display. The new miniland opened to the public this past weekend with a series of grand opening weekend festivities. One blogger reports their ‘preview night’ experience with lots of photos.
Unlike the miniland dioramas at LEGOLAND California (which previously announced some minor updates for this summer) which assemble characters in a blocky 4-6 inch height scale, these dioramas are at the scale of the regular LEGO mini-figures, so you’ll see your favorite LEGO figures from The Phantom Menace in the exhibit (including a hugely populated podrace arena grandstand).
This is the first Star Wars miniland at any of the indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in North America. The Manchester UK Discovery Center was the first to receive the Episode I miniland, though only from February through June, and there are some hints that the Chicago installation may be temporary as well.
I am an admitted non-fan of the prequel trilogy; I’ve never claimed otherwise. I’m not going to now.
But folks: It’s time to get over the prequels.
We’re still going strong over on Tumblr, though I have been very lax at mentioning it here. Here are few things that haven’t made the blog proper.
High fashion. Remember the Star Wars spread in the April 1999 issue of Vogue? It featured several of Queen Amidala’s costumes from The Phantom Menace.
Long reads. How obsessive fans built a better Han Solo blaster is strangely fascinating. Or maybe drop the ‘strangely.’
A Major Award. Of course there’s a Star Wars version of the lamp from A Christmas Story.. Of course.
It is the year of the GIF, after all. Who doesn’t love the floating head of Ewan McGregor?
Quick hits. Was that a dead Jaxxon on The Clone Wars? The Star Trek Into Darkness poster gets a Star Wars remix There are already Scoundrels costumes! And no roundup is complete without Star Wars infographics.
Just as annoying and tedious as the real thing! American Idol, I mean. At least the editing is pretty good.
Ewan McGregor spoke to /Film about his latest movie, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, his Oscar-winning Beginners co-star Christopher Plummer, the upcoming Jack the Giant Killer and, of course, the prequels:
Well I like them. I mean I saw them when they came out and I haven’t seen them since, but I was happy to be in them. I felt that it was great to be part of that huge legend of STAR WARS and you know I never involve myself in the discussion about it or the criticism of them or not. They are what they are and fortunately to the moment they’ve re-released the first one and there’s a whole generation of kids now who weren’t around when we released them before. Children love them, regardless of what the die hard STAR WARS fans from the 70’s think, kids love them to bits and I’ve always really enjoyed that with my discussions with them, you know when people’s kids who I haven’t met before come up and they see Obi Wan Kenobi. They’ve always got nice questions to ask and stuff.
He hasn’t seen The Phantom Menace 3D due to filming on The Corrections, but he hopes to go soon – and “take my kids along.”
Last week, three different sources pointed me to Rod Hilton’s blog post from last fall on the Machete order for watching the films of the Star Wars saga (especially for newcomers). While his overall proposed order (start with IV – A New Hope and V – The Empire Strikes Back, then go with the prequels, then show VI – Return of the Jedi isn’t new — Last year, we covered Drew McWeendy’s Film Nerd 2.0 showings to his two sons), Machete goes a step further by cutting out The Phantom Menace. Not because Hilton feels it is a bad movie, but because he points out that it is mostly irrelevant to the saga. Either a point gets brought up again in the other prequels or it isn’t needed at all in the larger scheme of things (Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, Valorum, podracing). He points out how he thinks it makes the saga stronger, by preserving some of the big reveals, and relating whiny Anakin to whiny Luke as showing Luke on the same path to the dark side in Return of the Jedi as Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. He also points out some of the weaknesses of his ordering of the films, most notably about the Prophecy of the Chosen One, and Anakin’s return to rescue Shmi and pick up Threepio in Attack of the Clones. The Machete Order got me thinking, and also prompted a discussion among some Club Jaders, who looked at the notion of order and TPM‘s relevance from several angles.
The Phantom Menace became the first Star Wars movie to cross the $1 billion mark at the box office Wednesday, only the 11th film to do so globally.
Rumor! Pocket Lint report that sources at the Panasonic conference in Hamburg are saying that The Phantom Menace 3D will be coming to Blu-ray in the spring.
Being Ackbar. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub catches up with Erik Bauersfeld, the radio dramatist who provided the voice of Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna.
Sports. Sports Illustrated features Amanda Lucas. She claimed an open-weight women’s championship Saturday in Japan.
Honors. George Lucas accepted a Vanguard Award from Samuel L. Jackson at Saturday’s NAACP Image Awards. In his presentation, Jackson talking about lobbying for a role in the prequels: “I’ll be a Storm Trooper and just run across the screen. Nobody even has to know I’m in it.”
The Phantom Menace had a 65% drop at the box office this weekend, coming up at #6 with $7.9 million, but it did pass one very big milestone – the first Star Wars. The Phantom Menace is now beating the original in all-time domestic grosses. Will A New Hope earn back top placement when its 3D turn comes around? Stay tuned…
In the meantime, there’s a rumor going around that we may see Attack of the Clones 3D as soon as August. Curious…