Suggested Age: 16+
Casual Build Time: 9.5 hours
Dimensions: Palace Cinema: 15″ x 10″ x 10″ / Limousine: 1.6″ x 5.9″ x 1.9″
Brand: LEGO Creator
Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to posting this review – life is hectic! Anyhow, the Palace Cinema kit was a bit of a special kit for me and is certainly way more elaborate than the ones that I usually buy for myself. Although I prefer building vehicles, I’ve admired this set for a long time and was very pleased to receive one for my 30th birthday!
The set is inspired by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and forms part of LEGO’s Modular Buildings series. It comes with all the pieces required to build the cinema and limousine, as well as a number of accessories and six minifigures – a child actress, a chauffeur, a female guest, a male guest, a photographer, and a cinema worker.
This is going to be a very photo-heavy review, so read on if you’d like to take a closer look inside this beautiful set!
The first thing you need to bear in mind when purchasing this kit is its complexity. This is one of LEGO’s “Expert” sets, which means that it’s targeted at older teen and adult builders. As you might be able to see in the photos, the kit came with dozens of bags that are only numbered to match them up with their respective manual. To be able to build this efficiently, you really do need to have some kind of sorting system in place and follow the instructions closely as it’s very easy to miss a brick (one step required me to fish out 64 brown pieces from the box, which was an exercise in frustration).
The kit is not an easy or quick build, making it feel as though it earned its higher price. Yet, the finished result makes all that time and effort worthwhile as the set is truly beautiful.
The theatre is very eye catching, making it a wonderful centrepiece for any collection. It should be noted that this is a very tall and sturdy piece, so you should make sure that you have ample room to display it before you buy. Although it’s not really designed to be a toy, the cinema does easily come apart so you can lift off each floor in order to see the inside. Let’s look at these floors and details one by one, beginning with the exterior.
The back of the kit isn’t as detailed at the front, but I do like the detail of the exposed brickwork and different coloured patches. The small holes and pipes at the base are designed to allow this set to be attached to other similar ones. The Palace Cinema forms part of the Modular Buildings Series, which allows you to collect and construct an entire street scene. However, given how large and expensive this kit is, I can’t imagine how much money and space you’d require if you intended to do this!
The roof was pretty simple to construct, yet is one of the kit’s most eye-catching features. Parts of note include the use of little sai blades (like those you would find in a Ninjago set) to form the spikes, and a hatch that leads down onto the second floor. However, it should be noted that the roof does feel a little wobbly to touch. Although the front portion is pretty well supported, I don’t think it would stand up to a lot of rough treatment.
Moving down, you can see the amazing level of detail that goes into the street scene. The sign is made by lots of small white and blue pieces, layered carefully to build up the Cinema’s name. There are also large windows on either side, some forming little payment booths and others showing movie posters for a variety of LEGO-themed movies (I have been advised that some older versions of the kit include a poster for the actual LEGO movie, though mine unfortunately did not).
Yet my favourite feature is the walk of fame. It’s a simple thing, but I love the special gold bricks that line this. The spot-lights and partisans are also not fixed in place, so you can move them around however you like.
The set also comes with a limousine, to add a little class to your external presentation. While it’s not the most exciting of cars in my collection, it does add a bit of playability to the set if you intend to use it as a toy, rather than just display it. It has moving wheels and enough space to comfortably sit two minifigures inside it.
Removing the roof reveals the second floor detail – the cinema screen itself. While I’m not so wild about some of the colour contrasts (personally, I think a darker coloured floor would have worked better), it’s hard not to fall in love with the smaller details of the screen. The arched windows, the reclining seats and the projector are all immediately eye-grabbing and all of the space is well used. While there are a couple of stickers in this set, they’re mainly used for signs and posters. Everything is is just pure bricky goodness.
If you lift off the second floor, you see my favourite part of this set – the lobby. Quite frankly, this blew me away. The level of detail is outstanding, from light fittings to potted plants. Just look at that amazing concessions stand, with its popcorn machine and cake display! The set also comes with a handful of dollar bill pieces, so you can pose your minifigures as though they are buying things.
Finally, lets take a look at those figures. They’re not as detailed as those in the newer themed kits, but there is a certain charm to those blank, smiling faces. The child actress particularly stands out, as she’s made with the stubby legs of the Hobbit characters, making her a head shorter than the rest. It does mean that she can’t sit down, but it at least makes clear that she’s supposed to be younger than the rest. However, he kit is a little light on accessories for the characters, as the only things they come with are dollar bills and a camera. This is possibly something to bear in mind if you’re buying this as a toy.
Anyhow, this is a long review and I think you’ve probably heard enough. The Palace Cinema is probably my favourite kit of all time. It’s expensive, but took me the better part of ten hours to build and so felt like good value for money. The finished set isn’t the most interactive toy, but as a model it’s truly stunning. If you’re an adult collector and you have the space for it, you really can’t go wrong.