The Rube’s Review: Hunger Games Vs. The Flying Dutchman
As you should know by now, the Rube is a big fan of Legos. To me it’s not only a way to relax, but when you don’t have a lot of time (or space) to build and paint a teetering stack of monster model kits, Lego kits are the next best thing. They come in pre-colored bricks with easy instructions and a BUTTLOAD of pieces. While looking through the toy isle at my local Walmart, I was hoping to find either the Lego Monster Fighters Frankenstein or Zombies set… they were sold out. They DID happen to have a Lego set that I’ve be been eye’n for awhile, though: The Flying Dutchman from Spongebob Squarepants.
This set consists of 241 pieces, which includes Pirate Spongebob, First Mate Patrick, a treasure island with dock, and The Flying Dutchman Ghost with his haunted ship. The main thing that drew me to this set was the ship. I liked how cartoony it looked and I was very pleased that the pirate flag mast was a solid Lego piece with no sticker which, if you ever built a kit, the stickers just suck.
I decided to build this while I watched The Hunger Games, simply because even though it’s based on a popular book series I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to “get it” and wanted another relaxing distration. I knew that basic plot of the film was a futuristic tale of kids that get chosen to fight to the death for the honor of their country. However, I tend to stay away “pre-teen drama,” especially if it’s going to be violent and has a PG-13 Rating.
I sat down to a Lego-filled table and started the movie, which I had to rewind because I didn’t know that I have to read the basic plot. Turns out in the future America there were 12 districts that revolted against their major city, The Capitol. These districts lost and are generally dirt poor now (think of 30’s dustbowl depression). Their sole purpose is to mine minerals, grow grains, and produce other necessary resources for the mega-wealthy that live in the Capitol. As tribute, there is a lottery of all children 11 -18 to compete in a broadcasted competition called the Hunger Games. These games pay tribute to the failed revolt (which is either poorly explained or lost on me) which happened 74 years ago.
The selected teens are treated like celebrities at the Capitol and have very little time to train or make an impression to city patrons/wealthy sponsors. They’re then sent to an enclosed forest arena to battle to the death until there is only one champion… which I assume gets fame, fortune, or a better quality of life for them and their district. Sorry for some reason, that important part doesn’t really get too much of an explanation in the film… whatever, I got a Lego boat to build!
While watching the semi-interesting story of Katniss Everdeen, a spunky self-taught archer that volunteers for the games to take her sister’s place, I stared on building my Lego figures and mini island. Usually, when I get a new Lego set, you get a person, place, or thing that you really want to build and then get stuck with a secondary build that you couldn’t care less about. I currently felt this way about my last Lego set, The Monster Fighters: The Werewolf. Yeah, I had a blast building the monster hunter’s car and werewolf is really cool looking but I hated building that catapult tree.
I started on the first piece, Treasure Island, and you know what? This was a lot of fun to build! There’s a really neat rickety dock, a hidden cave for a treasure chest, and spring loaded cannon that shoots Legos. The figures are really cool too, I like how small Pirate Spongebob is compared to everyone else.
While I kept on working on my Legos I continued watching young Katniss make her way through training and impressing her mentor, played by Woody Harrelson. Even though there is some great acting, Hunger Games spends too much time on the heroes’ journey rather than on the actual games. Also, what screen time isn’t about the games feels poorly wasted. Instead of dwelling on scenery of real forests, CG’d cityscapes, and the Norman Rockwell look of a poor mining town, they could have spent the time on more dialog or story development. Honestly, story wise, there really isn’t a lot to draw the viewer in, which is sad since this is a movie based on a very popular book series.
Waiting for the story to finally pick up as the contestants get released into the arena, I opened Lego bag #2 and got going on the Flying Dutchman. I think my favorite to build in this set was the captain’s cabin which is made up of four cathedral style windows. Once built, I realized that this boat really reminds me of the pirate ship carts on the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland. Once again, Legos make me feel like a kid!
Even though I haven’t read the book series, I feel that there’s a great story here which wasn’t told in the right way. Even though the acting is top notch and it looks pretty, the story is too simple with no suspense or highpoints of any kind. Even the action of the hunt during the games seems uneventful. I felt, with better editing and maybe a extra 1/2 hour of screen time, this could have been a more memorable movie. Lets hope that the other two following film make up for the first one.
5/10 Mockingjay pins
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS FLYING DUTCHMAN LEGO KIT
This set was a lot of fun to build, even the secondary minor piece (Treasure Island), which I usually dread. What can I say, I love this boat! The only downside was I wish this set was cheaper since most similar piece sets are $5-$7 cheaper (I’m assuming the extra cost was for licensing) and, of course, that there were more pieces. Not the most challenging set, but it’s still a great build.