Merch Hunter #24: Batman Spud, LOTR Lego and Star Wars: The Blueprints

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so you might have expected something here dedicated to the merchandise of romantic films. But until you can get an official When Harry Met Sally orgasm sandwich, there’s very little overlap in terms of those films and the collectible world. Unless we’re talking Twilight. And I can assure you right now, we bloody well aren’t talking Twilight.

So instead, this week’s column is once again dedicated to the finest things in collecting life, including a further addition to the Mr. Potato Head film co-licensed products. You can’t see it, but I can assure you that the excitement radiating from my every orifice is tangible.

There’s also even more Lego – almost a weekly addition to this column you’ll note, but a wholly justified one in this case – and a book that would make Crime & Punishment blush for being so rubbish. It might also be the most expensive book I have ever recommended people buy, but who cares really – the only way out of recession is through frivolous, short-sighted spending. Probably.

1. The Dark Knight Spud

It was inevitable, given Hasbro’s existing co-licensed Mr. Potato Head lines, that someone would get the idea to release a Batman tie-in, and now PPW, who also have previous with the world’s favorite potato (but not with the same quality as Hasbro it has to be said) have done just that. The design is good, but as a dedicated follower of everything Potato Head related, I can’t help but wish it was Hasbro and not PPW who were in charge of this line.

My only other real issue is the name – I have every movie-themed Mr. Potato Head in my collection and there are a number with ingenious pun-heavy names like Tony Starch and  R2-Potatoo. Adding “Spud” to the end of the film seems slightly lazy in that respect. Why not Batato-Man?

Pre-order one now for $17.99, and you can expect to receive your spud in June.

2. The Lord of the Rings Lego

Okay, so I’m addicted to Lego. But who can blame me? As toys go, it’s about the manliest endeavor one can turn ones hand to combining actual fun with real construction world concerns like surveying, material inventory and meticulous planning. I like to go really balls deep, and have had several stern letters back from the government in response to my planning applications, but you can’t just approach these things frivolously.

Anyway, the latest addition to Lego’s link-up with the world of film is their forthcoming Lord of the Rings series, which once again is likely to attract a hell of a lot of attention when they start to appear in June. The first series will feature the Fellowship of the ring, and the second collects some of the film series’ villains, including Gollum and a Ringwraith – all wonderfully, charmingly designed of course. The Hobbit will get its own Lego series around the film’s release in December.

Bookmark this page for your Lego needs.

3. Star Wars: The Blueprints

Arguably the greatest book I’ve ever clapped eyes on (alongside the Art of Pixar, which is far cheaper and just as wonderful incidentally), and a genuine collectible thanks to the limited print run and the sheer quality of the content. $500 is a lot of money for a book, especially in a world that will soon all be governed by apps and mobile technology, but The Blueprints is a tangible piece of cinema history, brilliantly animated and wonderfully comprehensive. And in the future when electricity is rationed by our alien overlords, you can laugh at those trying to read their e-books with no battery power as you flick through your copy, which will probably be the most valuable thing left in the post-apocalyptic world.

Buy one here.

T-Shirt of the Week

The Pythons are back. Sort of, even if they’re obstinate about calling their upcoming project a Monty Python film. I say we all gleefully ignore that and then criticize the film for being nothing like Life of Brian. That’s how I approach all films these days anyway. Buy it here.

Hide your pocketbook before you enter the Merch Hunter archives.

Born to the mean streets of Newcastle, England the same year that BMX Bandits was cruelly over-looked for the Best Film Oscar, Simon Gallagher's obsessive love of all things cinema blossomed during that one summer in which he watched Clueless every day for six weeks. This is not a joke. Eventually able to wean himself off that particular dirty habit, and encouraged by the revelation that was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, he then spent many years reviewing films on the underground scene, throwing away thousands of pounds on a Masters Degree in English in the process, before landing feet-first at the doors of British movie site ObsessedWithFilm.com, where you can catch his blend of rapier wit and morbid sardony on a daily basis. Simon is also a hopeless collector of film paraphenalia, and counts his complete Star Wars Mr. Potato Heads collection among his friends.

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