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Jun302010

Cancel the LEGO movie! It's a terrible idea

So the news is out, the Warner Bros. Lego movie has a pair of directors. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the team responsible for last year's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (review), will write and direct the still unnamed Lego movie. If you think a Lego movie is a bad idea, like I do, you'll be livid when you hear this.

The plot is being kept under wraps, but it will be an adventure in the Lego world mixing live action and animation.

Are these people insane?! The only way Legos could work in a movie is if they were a part of Toy Story. On its own, the classic Lego brand hasn't done well outside of the physical toy market. Making a feature film in the category of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Garfield is like letting your girlfriend live after she's been bitten by a zombie, then making out with her. Not only are you putting your life in danger, you're clearly suicidal.

Lego needs brands to leech

Live action woes aside, the Lego brand doesn't do well on its own. Lego video games are a great example. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Lego released a number of video games based only on Legos and failed commercially. Games like Lego Racers, Lego Stunt Rally, Lego Chess, Lego Creator, and Lego Alpha Team weren't terrible games, but sold poorly compared to other games in their category.

In the last few years Lego has finally taken off as a video game brand, but it's done so solely by piggybacking on more successful brands, much like Lego toys have done in the last decade. Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Harry Potter, and Lego Rock Band are all top sellers, but less becasue they're Legos, more because Star Wars fans and Harry Potter-ites are buying them up. Unlike the Legos of my youth, the top selling Lego toys are also all brand-connected. Nobody hates Legos, but these days few buy them without the incentive of better brand. Kids just don't have imaginations anymore.

Legos shouldn't talk

When you look at the successful Lego video games, almost none feature any speaking at all. Lego people are unnerving when they have personalities and talk--it's unnatural. It's fun to watch Legos falling apart and being put together, but disturbing to see them talk to one another.

There is one exception to this rule: the Bionicle brand. Lego has made some short films starring Bionicle toys. However, these are not actual Legos. From the ground up, Bionicle was created and launched as a multimedia brand for Lego because the core Lego brand wasn't transcending the toy market. Bionicle toys resemble action figures more than Legos. There is also no mention of Bionicle toys being a part of this film.

You might say, "well Jeff, video games are different from movies." To that I say "true." The best moments of the Lego video games are the action and the worse moments are the cutscenes. A movie is nothing but cutscenes, and full of dialogue. It's a nightmare!

Not good

There are millions of adults who grew up and love Lego, including myself. I had (have) tons of them. But the brand is not marketable by itself. People will not go to see a movie just because it has Legos in it, and the few that do are not going leave happy. 

I do not make it a habit to poo-poo new movie ideas, even those that seem ludicrous, but I can imagine few scenarios where a Lego feature film appeals to anyone over the age of 10. That is about the age when kids start to develop a discerning taste and stop watching movies like Garfield.

Reader Comments (3)

I know this article is ancient.
But now that the movie is out and I have personally seen it.
I can only call you one thing.


Dumbass.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Wolf

Haha. Touche, sir. After seeing the Lego movie, I agree. But my rationale here several years ago was pretty solid.

March 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterJeffrey Van Camp

Ofcourse, LEGO will cancel a movie they spent months (maybe even years) because of a little brat and Legos can't talk? Seriously? IT'S A MOVIE!!!!

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThis makes me laugh

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