Price: £79.99 / $99.99 / €99.99 Pieces: 1403 Availability: Now
In typical naming fashion of LEGO movie inspired sets, 70617 is titled the Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon – whatever the weapon is, it is going to be ultimate. The only significant building in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie launch range comes with seven of the movie’s eight key characters and is priced at the £100 mark, save for a penny. So is building this set an ultimate ultimate experience, or just an ultimate one?
It has been noted by others that The LEGO NINJAGO Movie sets channel two previous themes – Adventurers, specifically the Orient subtheme, and Exo-Force. Nowhere is the Adventurers influence more obvious than in 70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon. Wonderfully, it takes everything we loved about those models and perfects them in a huge, glorious, playset that is surprisingly large and packed to the hilt with play possibilities. While perhaps not the highest priority for AFOLs, the target audience will eat this set up.
The exact purpose of this location is currently not known, but maps included with both this set and 70608 Master Falls indicates that the temple lies deep within the jungles surrounding NINJAGO City. Presumably, a weapon that will be important to the plot – perhaps one that will thwart an attack from an indestructable threat? – sought by both Lord Garmadon and the Ninjas lies within its walls. Close inspection of the set surprisingly does not reveal what that weapon is. While a large box takes center stage within the interior, it contains no obviously important contents. No doubt everything will become clear when The LEGO NINJAGO Movie is released.
I was immediately drawn to this set due to its similarities to one of my childhood favorites, 5988 Temple of Anubis from the inaugural Adventurers line. Both structures are entered through imposing gateways. Inside two stories and four rooms contain a delightfully fun mix of treasures and traps to challenge the Ninja.
The front facade is a fabulous display of Japanese inspired LEGO architecture. Despite its beauty, the construction is deceptively simple, being made up primarily of plain grey bricks punctuated by protruding columns and empty black window frames. The visual impact is very disproportionate to the bricks used – in a good way.
Fans of modular buildings will find a lot of similarities in terms of clever brick usage. Only the ornate details on either side of the enormous red door and the design on the tiles leading to it are stickers. The staircase leading up to the doorway is a noteworthy feature itself as the designer did an excellent job of making it look both worn and imposing, as if it were cut out of jungle rock.
The tall red 70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon door towers above the front landing, but is dwarfed still by the structure’s impressive overall height. At the temple’s crown, an impressive spire with a sprouting blue flame commands the skyline.
Visitors to the temple would do well to not allow its outward beauty to lull them into a false sense of complacency, as its interior is a minifigure house of horrors. One need only take two steps in and there will be not one, not two, but three options for a horrific death available.
Release the lever and a giant boulder will fall. Turn a knob and a box of TNT will crash down on an intruder’s head. Finally, as if that were not enough already, pull the island containing the temple’s mysterious box and a trap door will deposit the mutilated corpse of any Indiana Jones wannabes outside on the front step.
Three surefire traps may seem like enough, but those are just the ones in the entrance hall. Four rooms on two different floors, which harks back to the exact layout of my beloved Temple of Anubis, spread from the central corridor – two of which contain additional traps.
A scroll likely containing instant wisdom constructed in the same manner as the one found in Destiny’s Bounty adorns one room with a hidden NEXO KNIGHTS disk shooter concealed in its base. To say it would break a knee is an understatement; positioned correctly a minifigure may do two somersaults before landing. An ancient set of armor that looks like it could come to life in the same manner as the large stone statues that guard the gate stands watch in the other ground floor room.
The upper floors contain a room protected by a wall mounted sword which could do some serious damage, and a storage room conceals the TNT launcher that endangers minifigures in the entryway. Simply put, making it out of this temple alive is a feat any minifigure should be proud of.
No space was wasted by the set’s designer. The ground level and a hanging prison to the side, reminiscent of 7093 Skeleton Tower from the Castle fantasy era, can hold every Ninja included. Judging by the bones and snakes that are already there, prisoners often meet an ignoble end. The final portion of the interior is the small island with the temple’s treasure box. It appears to be protected by some sort of mechanism which causes it to move away from the entrance. This is not an automatic feature, the user must physically pull it away. Doing so reveals a series of small leap points which presumably only a Ninja could safely navigate.
As should be clear by now, this set is brimming over with features. At this piece count and price, I am hard pressed to think of a play set from the LEGO Group in recent years that has come close to this much value. Throw in an astonishing eight fully armed and accessorised minifigures and this becomes a contender for top ten best deals in the past 20 years. Even at full price you will not be disappointed with this purchase.
Despite this, I can see it not being a priority for AFOLs. The reason for this is no reflection on the set, it is due to 70617 Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon being the third largest set in the theme, and the two larger sets are more impressive. AFOLs do not normally collect every set in a theme, rather they pick representative, impressive models that give a good sampling of the theme’s positive qualities. While 70617 fits that bill, 70618 Destiny’s Bounty and the upcoming 70620 NINJAGO City do it better and are more impressive models for display. While those two are more expensive, most AFOLs will opt to save a bit longer and snag one of those two treasures. Sets like The Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon will come again, indeed the NINJAGO theme has had many such offerings such as 70728 Battle for NINJAGO City and 2507 Fire Temple, but UCS quality sets such as the Bounty and NINJAGO City are likely to be one-offs.
In summary, The Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon is one of the, ahem, ultimate ultimate playsets to ever emerge from the NINJAGO theme. It is packed with play possibilities and will delight anyone who gets it. However, its place in the price scale is also its place in the theme – bronze medal status behind the two larger sets, unless NINJAGO City somehow manages to not live up to the imagery. I would encourage AFOLs to pick this one up only if you are looking to complete the theme. It’s another exceptional job by the LEGO designers to produce such a high quality location based set based on The LEGO NINJAGO Movie.