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    Discuss This Story ReviewSunday, September 8th, 2002 at 11:24pm by Jon, BZPower Co-Owner

    Several weeks ago word started spreading about a Toa Nuva calendar that was making its way around the country, but only in limited release, and only in a few department stores.  Despite living in one of fifty capital cities, trips to every major department and discount store left me empty-handed, but a little fishing around with a friend in South Florida finally produced results.  Here's a closer look at the 2003 Bionicle Calendar.

    I may save you the time of reading any more of this article in this next sentence: "The 2003 Bionicle Calendar is nothing more and nothing less than you'd expect."

    If you were hoping for a full-size wall calendar with sharp, glossy shots of the Toa Nuva, then this item delivers.  But if you were hoping for any new artwork, teasers for upcoming Bionicle storyline elements or more images from the upcoming Bionicle motion pictures, then you're barking up the wrong tree.

    The calendar's MSRP is listed at $10.99 US & $16.99 CAN, but I got it for $4.95 from a Tampa K-Mart.  Further, if you can't locate one in your area, they have been popping up on eBay occasionally and selling for at or around the printed MSRP.

    As I mentioned, if you've seen the shots of the Toa Nuva circulating online and on the Nuva packaging, then you've seen it all.

    The cover promises a "16-Month 2003 Calendar" and while it's technically not incorrect, it is somewhat misleading.  There are six Toa Nuva and twelve months in the year, so each Toa is featured twice: once standing bravely & defiantly before a mosaic background of Nuva runes, and again with an action shot in his native envrionment.  The remaining four months are September through December of 2002 all grouped on page one with no artwork or holiday notation.

    Level of Detail
    So while there are sixteen months in the calendar, only twelve are Bionicle-themed.

    The artwork itself is, I believe the largest clean print and highest resolution of the Toa Nuva images released to date.

    This is most evident when looking closely at the metallic Protodermis Armor.  At right is a close-up shot of one page of Kopaka Nuva skating across an icy surface.  Note the rendered imperfections in the armor texture that give it a look of metal rather than plastic, and also the reflection of the Kanohi in the shoulder armor.

    The chance to look at these high-quality renders really make me anxious for the forthcoming CGI video and film releases.  If anywere near this caliber of detail is used in creating the world of Mata Nui for the small and big screens, respectively, then we should be in for a visual treat!

    Lest we forget, in addition to all of the high resolution artwork there's a calendar included in this calendar.

    I must first say that the calendar grids are a missed opportunity.  While they could have been peppered with interesting tidbits of Mata Nui lore and Bionicle storyline points, further whetting the audience's appetite for the upcoming films, we are instead treated to a very generic block of days.

    The 2003 date portion of the calendar could just as easily be used for your "Cute Kittens in Baskets of Flowers" and "Beefcake Hunks with Toolbelts" -- nothing at all specific to Bionicle is included below the staple on any page, unless you count the typeface which is vaguely reminiscent of the one used by the Technic brand (which, ironically, Bionicle no longer seems to be a part of!).

    That being said, I must give credit and say that this is probably the most internationally aware calendar I've ever seen.  Major holidays are marked for the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and several other countries.

    As I gather my thoughts to write this summation, I realize how absurd it sounds to be writing a review for a calendar.  Has any calendar, even a 16-Month one, ever been given so much scrutiny?

    Probably not, but then we're Bionicle nuts, aren't we.

    The calendar is, as I think I've imparted above, visually gorgeous but lacking on theme.  For many Bionicle fans, what makes the line so appealing is the story and legend that ties it all together.  I was really hoping to see some of those creative types at LEGO to create the Bionicle ad campaign sprinkle a few nuggets of Mata Nuian lore into the body of this piece, but it was not to be.

    That one complaint being aired, if you're a die-hard Bionicle fan, there's no other acceptable way to mark the days of 2003.  With any luck, as 2002 draws closer to an end the distribution of these calendars will see a wider distrubution and everyone can enjoy one adorning their room, locker or office.

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