The Lego Universe has expended far beyond what anyone would have expected twenty years ago. I say this knowing full well they have always a lock on the toy world that can’t be broken, and recognize that though the toy remain the same in concept, it has changed dramatically as far as shape and content goes. When I was growing up I had a set of space Legos and that was as far as it went. Now you can buy sets that connect to Star Wars, Marvel, Jurassic Park, and you can create practically anything you can imaginebased on the regular old blocks that are still sold as plain old Legos.
Last week my son had a bad fever and I stopped at the store on the way home. There were a bunch of Lego sets on sale and since I knew neither him nor I would leave the house for at least a day, I bought one. This of course to add to the thousands of Legos he already had. It was a submarine set, from the Lego City line, that I just now discovered has been retired. I like that they “retire” sets and don’t discontinue them. It gives me wonderful images of older Lego people on a beach some place, enjoying their golden years. Some of them holding little cups in their little round claw hands and soaking up Lego sun while they swim in Lego water. It’s like a retirement community in Miami made of plastic. We put it together over the course of an hour or so and after we finished I stared at it in wonder. We built this. How amazing. I mean we did it with the help if instructions. There is no way I could have put together something so specific without a guild of some kind. This thing was so cool and all I wanted to do was play with it. I let Max have the first go. I mean he was sick.
Legos never seem to go away and with good reason. Even when you give them a predesigned form, what you do with them is entirely up to you. They can be anything at anytime. My son has never held Legos and put them together the way they were “supposed” to be. He makes whatever is in his head at that moment. They are universal in their appeal to kids, and some adults, because we can look at them and see anything we want, and then, we have the ability to act on that idea, to build what we see in our head.
Legos Making the Move from Toy to Movies and TV
I think this is why the Lego movies and TV shows have been such a success. The Lego Movie was a delightful, hilarious surprise. It allowed it’s audience to be complicit in a little boys fantastic ,imagined world as he took apart his father’s ordered life (ie: always used the instructions) and reassembled it in his own amazing vision. Every scene is so full of jokes, images, and images of jokes that there is almost no way to keep up, and rightly so, that’s what pure imagination is all about, the idea move so fast it is impossible to catch them all. If you had asked me ten years back, I never would have thought a “Lego Movie” was a good idea, as a matter a fact I remember laughing it off as something horrible when I heard about it. It turns out that the makers of the movie knew that there was only one way to tell this story; set it inside a kid’s imagination. Though I have not seen it yet, I understand Lego Batman is of the same ilk, as far as the content goes.
We recently started watching some of the Lego TV shows. Ninjago is the only one I can say I didn’t like, but, I feel like I missed something in there. Like I need to go back and take another look. All I remember about it was that what I saw, and I haven’t seen much, is it didn’t seem to have the same humor and sense of life that the movie had, it was full of obnoxious characters, and wasn’t about the Legos, it was a superficial superhero show and a silly plot. They recently made a Ninjago movie and the trailer makes it look pretty funny, like maybe they have refocused what it is based on this new set of movies and TV shows. Now, let’s be clear, there are a lot of movies and TV shows by Lego that have been around for some time, and I’m sure that not all of them have the same quality or standard set by The Lego Movie, just take a look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Lego_films_and_TV_series. I don’t know what most of these are. There is a lot to look at there. I have recently seen a couple of the shorter spoofs they have done. I call them spoofs because I think that’s what they are. They are planted firmly in the camp of what the movie Airplane was trying to achieve, but more kid friendly. Lego Jurassic World: The Indominus Escapes is a hilarious look at Jurassic World that I think is better than the movie, if for no other reason, it uses all those things that made the movie mediocre and makes them really funny.
So in the end, even with whatever is negative about them, Legos are everything. They’re simple, amazing and have taken generations of kids through playtime. Now we have movies and shows that have blended into that universe, making it something entirely different, but not unwelcome. All of this started with a small, colorful, plastic block that can lock on to another plastic block, to form something you can came up with in your head. I can’t think of a healthier thing to do with one’s time, unless combining exercise and Legos is a thing. My son has drawers and drawers of what he calls “Little Legos”, and he plays with all of them, and creates, and loves. What more could you ask for in a toy?
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