Clones, Stormtroopers Attack (LEGO) Michigan Avenue
By Kim Bellware in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 23, 2010 7:15PM
By the end of summer, real-world Michigan Avenue will get a reprieve from the carnage of burning cars, wrecked streets and robots that are more than meets the eye; LEGO Michigan Avenue, on the other hand, will be rebuilding for a long time following this weekend's invasion from Imperial Stormtroopers and Battle Droids.
Saturday and Sunday, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago threw a two-day special event to celebrate the area's first-ever LEGO Star Wars Days (the event is normally held at the toy company's California location). The Chicago-area LEGO builders used a hefty handful of their more than two million LEGO bricks to re-create a portion of Michigan Avenue and some of the city's most iconic buildings--all of which served as the setting for Star Wars' scum and villainy to terrorize the residents of the "miniland" Chicago.
Mixed in the action were Battle Droids attacking tour buses, Stormtroopers relaxing outside the MCA (with a sign promoting the current Calder exhibit) and a few of the good-guys--Aayla Secura, C-3PO, and Obi-Wan Kenobi--trying to contain the mayhem.
The more than 500 clone trooper and battle droid "minifigures" crowded the streets and buildings that were each, according to LEGO Master Building Daniel Morey, constructed only from classic LEGO bricks (no structural forms, glued-in pieces or doctored bricks). To show off the detail of the architecture and the glittering skyline, the miniland transitioned from night to day in 5-minute increments, with the city's skyscrapers and street lights illuminated at dusk.
Apart from the battle scenarios, The LEGO builders created some scenes that depict the more pleasant activities enjoyed by real Chicago residents--walks on Navy Pier, baseball games, bike rides through the streets and catching sun at Oak Street Beach--though a few more grim scenes were tucked in as well (we counted a LEGO "jumper" on the tracks of the Quincy El stop, a bike crash, a disemboweled LEGO person and a few gardeners bringing shovels and picks down on some LEGO rats).
Notably missing was a mini version of Blago, whose coif has been compared to that of the LEGO people. We also would have loved to see a LEGO Mayor Daley waving stormtroopers on while saying "these aren't the droids you're looking for," but in this version of Chicago, there are some figures that trump even Da Mayor himself.
Check back tomorrow for our interview with LEGO Master Builder, Daniel Morey.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is located in suburban Schaumburg at 601 N Martingale Rd.