Saturday 15 February 2014

Recon Mission to Transformers Expo Malaysia

The Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) away mission this month rolled out to the Transformers Expo Malaysia held in the Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands. Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the infamous transforming robots from Cyberton, this expo is touted as the largest expo to date in Asia taking place from 31 January to 16 February 2014. Open  from 10am to 10pm, tickets are priced at RM55 for adult and RM45 for child. More details at the official website and Facebook Page as well as feature article from TheStar.

A brief hour's drive uphill to top of Genting Highlands, the Outpost MRT was relieved with cooler weather compared to the scorching heat typical of Chinese New Year season in the Klang Valley. The Arena of Stars is located next to what used to be the outdoor theme park which has recently been demolished to be converted into the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox theme park in 2016... yes, we can't wait soon enough! Read more about this from TheStar.

Recon Team ready for adventure to Cybertron.

Our online search for visitor reviews or experiences of Transformers Expo turned out few results, so the Outpost MRT recon report here will attempt to serve as a brief guide on what to expect at the exhibition. Admittedly this may come too late should one be motivated to head over to Transformers Expo which ends the weekend this report is published. But we do hope it still serves to enlighten everyone on what to have expected from the exhibition. So here we go with our walkthrough with quotes from the brochure of the various attractions (and fortunately no restrictions on photography).

Kreon Optimus Prime greets visitors at entrance.

"Chronology: Get acquainted with the history of Transformers from Generation 1 and beyond."

First section of the expo showcases information of the various incarnations of Transformers from Generation 1 thirty years ago to the latest Transformers Prime. Perhaps a good read for non-fans to get up to speed with Transformers lore before progressing to next exhibits.

Display boards explain the Transformers over 30 years.

"Collector Exhibit: The largest collection of Transformers exclusive exhibit from small to big. More than a thousand figurines on display from both local and international Transformers toy collectors including the latest 30th anniversary edition."

The second section showcases an impressive display of Transformers toys including hard to find vintage Generation 1 robots in mint condition. This is no doubt good eye candy for toy collectors to view firsthand rare Transformers only otherwise seen from online photos. The toys are properly categorised into respective product lines with description and lighted to allow photo-taking. It is worth noting the evolution of original toys from blocky robots in the 80's to the current highly poseable figures with near perfect transformation forms. Check out more photos of the toy gallery from the TransformersLive Blog.

Displays house over 1000 Transformers toys from all series.

The original and highly prized Generation One toys.

Huge collection of the many incarnations of the infamous Autobot Bumblebee.

"Camaro Display: Ever famous Chevrolet Camaro actual car on display."

Next see the 1:1 scale version of Bumblebee from the Transformers movies in his vehicle form as a Chevrolet Camaro. Instant print photo service is offered here to visitors at RM30 for up close snapshots with the Camaro. Surrounding Bumblebee are cut-outs of various Transformers characters plus what appears to be box packaging for Fall of Cybertron Optimus Prime and Megatron where visitors could stand in place of the toy.

1:1 scale Bumblebee in vehicular form.

"Cybertron World: Indulge yourself like never before in a World of Cybertron"

Following on is a wall gallery of assorted Transformer characters providing opportunity to take photos with one's favourite bots. Several TVs also screen opening sequences of the Transformers cartoons such as the classic Generation 1. Our MRT could not quite fathom the various features of Cyberton comprising the Allspark cube "crashing" on Devastator, and claws or inverted stalactites against a cave backdrop. Only Megatron's claw projecting out of wall art seemed to jive. This section is also adorned with wall art from the Transformers comic books and promo materials.

Corridor lined with Transformers character art and cartoon trailers.

The Allspark is crashing on Devastator?

Visiting Cybertronian landscape?

Wall of various Transformers art form comics, etc.

"3D Experience: See, hear and feel as you experience the 3D in action for this exclusive 30th Anniversary Celebration of Transformers."

Official Professional TV Partner Toshiba gets to showcase their 3D TVs here screening about 10 minutes of footage from the animated series and movies, converted to 3D. About half the content comprise robot battle sequences from Transformers Dark of the Moon so nothing new for Transformers fans other than perhaps the novelty of seeing the animated cartoon openings in 3D.

"3D Mapping: Go beyond the screen as you come face to face experiencing 3D transformation effects and highlights of Transformers."

3D projection on the base sculpture of Optimus Prime's head.

The 3D Projection Mapping session utilised a large sculpture of Optimus Prime's head flanked by pillars for the projection base. Unfortunately, the visuals projected left us rather confounded and seems out-of-sync with the sculpture for various sequences. Check out for yourself from this video of the 3D Mapping by another expo visitor:

"Augmented Reality: Be a part of the celebration, a long awaited oportunity to interact with Transformers Characters."

Up next is the opportunity to "dance" with Transformers Kreons Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Live video capture visitors projected onto large screen TVs with the two Kreons dancing to tunes from Madagascar's "Move It, Move It" sung by King Julien. Perhaps Weird Al Yankovic from the 1986 animated movie singing "Dare to be Stupid" would have been more appropriate.

"Move It, Move It!" with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee Kreons.
Visitors then had opportunity to be photographed with a Transformers character which are uploaded to the Transformers Expo Facebook Page Photo Albums. The Outpost crew found ourselves paired with Bumblebee that day.

Capturing photo to add robot into into final photo (below).

"Massive Monumental Statue: Finally the opportunity to stand side by side with actual Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in person."

The expo saves the best for last to view statues of the iconic Autobots Optimus Prime and Bumblebee from the movies. As large as they may appear with Prime standing 23 feet tall, the statues still undersize possibly at two-thirds scale, i.e. Optimus Prime from the movies should be around 32-36 feet. Prime's pose looks imposing, although Bumblebee appears somewhat squat, possibly due to hips spaced usually far apart plus seemingly shortened torso. Again instant print photos were offered to visitors for RM30 with opportunity to be pictured up-close with the statues inside the barricades.

Could these Chevy's be Robots in Disguise?

Chevrolet presents some cars like the Cruze on the way out of the arena. The outdoor portion follows with refreshments sold and games conducted under canopy. The MRT's exit to this area also coincided with a mascot meet & greet session but we were underwhelmed by a Kreon Optimus Prime seemingly low on Energon. We were hoping to meet instead the awesome looking Optimus Prime and Bumblebee mascots ofthe Transformers Prime animated series sighted at the expo launch event.

Optimus Prime looks low on Energon.

Missed seeing these Transformers Prime mascots from the launch event.

"Merchandise: Get your latest and limited edition Transformers toys and add to your collection, as special gifts or souvenirs."

The merchandise section ends our journey through Transformers Expo. Retail products comprise mostly Hasbro toys and expo apparel such as tshirts and caps, plus assortment of other Transformers featured items like bedsheets, slippers, stationery and posters. For non-ticket holders, similar merchandise is also available at First World Plaza in the ground floor concourse promo area for Transformers Expo (facing stage).

Retail area on the way out from the expo.

Microfibre tshirts with logo print.

For another perspective of the expo, check out this video walkthrough by Linora Low below, or an early review from non-fan perspective blogger MiraCikCit.

So ends the Outpost MRT's recon report of Transformers Expo Malaysia. If so motivated that this event is meet-than-meets-the-eye, quickly transform and roll-out immediately to Genting Highlands this very weekend!

Play this video to recollect what made Transformers so darn awesome!

Disclaimer: Transformers and other trademarks are copyright to Hasbro, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

LEGO Movie is an awesome brick-fest!

Official Synopsis:

"The original 3D computer animated story follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Chris Pratt (“Moneyball”) stars as the voice of Emmet. Will Ferrell (“The Campaign”) stars as the voice of his primary adversary, President Business, an erudite, anal-retentive CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life; while Liam Neeson (“Taken” and “Taken 2,” Oscar nominee for “Schindler’s List”) voices the president’s powerful henchman, known as Bad Cop, who will stop at nothing to catch Emmet.

Starring as Emmet’s fellow travelers are Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”), as Vitruvius, an old mystic; Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games,” Emmy nominee for “30 Rock”), as tough-as-nails Lucy, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest; Will Arnett (Emmy nominee, “30 Rock”), as the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure with whom Lucy shares a history; Nick Offerman (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as a craggy, swaggering pirate obsessed with revenge on President Business; and Alison Brie (NBC’s “Community”) as a sweet, loveable member of the team, with a powerful secret."

Hilarious "behind-the-scenes" with the movie minifigures!

Other DC superheroes populate the LEGO movie universe.

Find out more about the many minifigures populating the LEGO movie universe from ScreenRant's Character Guide. Also check out CinemaOnline snapshots of the famous faces voicing Emmet and company.

Reviews of LEGO Movie have been AWESOME and no doubt Warner Bros. is set to make bucketloads of $$$ whilst LEGO will similarly sell bucketloads of brick toys. Here's reviews from TheStar, CinemaOnlineTotalFilm and IGN, plus highlights few things parents may consider when bringing kids to the movie. We suggest bringing a few hundred extra $$$ or top-up your credit card limits for buying LEGO sets after the movie!

Real behind-the-scenes in making LEGO movie.

Although as "awesome" as LEGO movie seems to be, the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) did not have such as awesome time finding associated movie memorabilia in Malaysia. Among the local cinemas, only Cathay Cineplexes is running a contest for customers to win LEGO movie merchandise (see flyer below) as well as an online Facebook contest (until 16 February).

This time none of the cinema chains have concession counter combos including movie premiums. An online contest for movie passes is still available from KLIPS but ending soon so act fast!

Official LEGO Movie toys seem currently only limited to select LEGO speciality stores. Head over to the Brickboy Toys in Tropicana City Mall and Gardens Midvalley, or the newly opened LEGO shop in Bangsar Village 2, which also sells rarer sets such as Architecture and UCS Star Wars.

There are currently 8 LEGO movie sets available to re-live Emmet's adventures:

Smallest sets 70800 Getaway Glider and 70801 Melting Room for RM74.90.

Go crazy at 70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace for RM99.90.

Fans of Liam Neeson should grab 70802 Bad Cop's Pursuit for RM129.90.

2-in-1 sets creates 2 different designs from the movie, such as 70804 Ice Cream Machine as a normal ice-cream truck or flying vehicle for RM149.90.

70805 Trash Chomper builds normal garbage truck or flying metal-eater for RM149.90.

70806 Castle Cavalry alternates between a flying "podracer" from Star Wars or land-locked castle wall for RM149.90 also.

Swashbuckling LEGO mecha action comes with 70807 Metalbeard's Duel for RM174.90.

Biggest playset is non-other than 70809 Lord Business' Evil Lair for RM349.90.

The LEGO Movie foil packs hasn't been sighted yet but hopeful to be landing soon. There are 16 randomly packed figures from the movie to collect!

Get your LEGO Movie sets from the official LEGO Shop in Bangsar Village 2 (opposite Borders)

Check out more details of these LEGO movie toys at the official LEGO website. Master Builders looking for more challenge can look forward to more LEGO movie sets coming soon next month such as Benny's Spaceship and Metalbeard's Sea Ship with over 2,700+ pieces! 

Fans of LEGO may want to follow the Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOL) Facebook Page to receive the latest news of all things LEGO.

If bricking building is too analog for kids in this digital era, there is an official LEGO movie video game releasing later this month for Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo.

Alternatively, young readers have lots of choice over LEGO books available not just from LEGO movie, but other LEGO lines like Star Wars, Batman, etc. Borders, MPH, and Popular stock kids and adult friendly DK books for LEGO.

Lots of LEGO books at major bookstores.
For total LEGO immersion, take a trip to LEGOLAND Malaysia in Johor Bahru. There's even more to do now at LEGOLAND with newly opened water park and hotel. Toys R Us Star card members will be able to get 30% off theme park passes.

Meet Emmet & Wildstyle live in LEGOLAND!

For the love of LEGO, we couldn't let this movie pass by without something special for our valued fans who are also LEGO lovers. So our first giveaway to fans for 2014 will be an official LEGO ice tray shaped for mini-figures!

To participate in this giveaway, just post photo of your favourite LEGO creation onto our Facebook Page with description of your masterpiece starting with "I am a Master Builder of..." and hashtag #OutpostGiveaway tagging Outpost Toys, Events & Services. You must also be in the photo. Here's a sample:

SAMPLE PHOTO only. Actual photo submissions should include giveaway participant. 
"I am a Master Builder of Rivendell in Middle-Earth hosting the Fellowship of the Ring. #OutpostGiveaway at Outpost Toys, Events & Services"

Make sure you also like Outpost Toys, Events and Services. Giveaway closes 28 February 2014 so start building NOW if you have an ambitious LEGO project!

Giveaway Terms & Conditions:

1. This online giveaway promo commences 8 February until 28 February 2013.
2. Participation is open to all residents in Malaysia. Outpost personnel are not eligible to particpate.
3. Participate must post photo featuring themselves and LEGO creation on the Outpost Toys, Events & Services Facebook Page. Description must be included or no more than 25 words starting with "I am a Master Builder of..." and ending with hashtag #OutpostGiveaway and tagging Outpost Toys, Events & Services Facebook Page.
4. Winner will be chosen amongst qualified participants and contacted through Facebook message for collection arrangements. Winners must self-collect prize in Klang Valley within 1 month of notification.
5. Outpost as the organiser reserves the rights to change these terms and conditions without prior notice.

The Outpost MRT will be off next few days building so we'll sign-off now with festive greetings from Emmet...

Disclaimer: LEGO and other trademarks are copyright to The LEGO Group, Warner Bros., and their respective owners, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.