BOOK REVIEW: LEGO Star Wars - The Visual Dictionary
The brick strikes back with entertaining book...
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Ten years ago George Lucas unleashed the most hyped film of all time to the world, for better or for worse. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was met with much criticism despite huge numbers at the box office but regardless of what you think, the prequel film was just the beginning for toy fans everywhere.
The LEGO system, beloved world wide for its interlocking plastic blocks launched for the very first time, a set of toys based on a popular franchise. There were 15 sets of Star Wars LEGO in its inaugural year of 1999; eight of which were for The Phantom Menace, six for the original trilogy, and the last was a Droid developer kit.
Buying all the sets that year was pretty easy. They were easy to find and most importantly, a lot of fun. It reintroduced generations who had "outgrown" LEGO back to the basics of building, but at last they were building something from Star Wars.
Since its introduction, there have been countless LEGO sets released for all Star Wars properties, including the new series The Clone Wars as well as Expanded Universe. It’s near impossible to keep track of them all so if you’re like me and stopped being a completist years ago, you can appreciate the new book by Simon Becroft, LEGO STAR WARS – THE VISUAL DICTIONARY recently released by Lucas Books and DK Publishing.
There are 96 colorful pages in this book and none of them have gone to waste. You’ll find photography of a vehicle or figure in great detail on every page, even the index. The dictionary retails for $21.99 US but you can find it for closer to $13 on Amazon. As an added bonus, the book comes with an exclusive minifigure, Yavin Luke Skywalker, available nowhere else. The front cover is extra thick to allow the figure to be packed inside, visible from the front cover. The down side is that you’ll need to tear something to get the figure out so be extra careful.
The book itself isn’t organized in any chronological order so depending on how you like your guides, that may or may not interest you. There IS a timeline showing the packaging of every release of every year since 1999 to 2009 which is helpful but the rest of the guide doesn’t quite follow the same path. The first six films are lumped together in the first chapter. For example there’s two pages devoted to Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’ll find information about each Obi-Wan figure released as well as the vehicles, no matter which film it is. Chapter 2 is The Clone Wars, Chapter 3 is Specialist Sets (minis, technic, etc).
The final chapter of the book takes you into designing LEGO Star Wars sets that includes an interview with Jens Kronvold Frederiksen who is the Design Manager, Merchandising, and even Community. And added just for fun on the bottom corners of every page is a flip book element. On one side you’ll find clone troopers marching in file; on the other, Jedi Luke Skywalker shows off his lightsaber skills.
If you’re a fan of LEGO and especially Star Wars, this is a fun coffee table book to own. Buying every LEGO set may be too expensive but you can enjoy the fun of those toys through the visual dictionary. Having a book every ten years is a great way to go. In that case, Hasbro Star Wars is LONG overdue.
Review and Photography by David Yeh