Legos are Ready for Their Close-Up…

Heading into the weekend, we were drawn to a story about “The Lego Movie” that appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

When we saw the television ad for it, we laughed because we figured it was just a 90-commercial for Legos appearing in a slow month (February).

However, the article really set us straight.

“One of the things we talked about from the beginning is to treat Lego as a medium more than a product,” –Phil Lord, co-director

First, we were impressed that they were committed to the story and Legos were the way to communicate the story.

Also, it was clear that they had done their homework.   On-line, they looked at the YouTube videos posted by Lego customers and even though they were using CGI, they made sure that “everything moves” in a stop-motion way.

Co-director Christopher Miller said, “Any frame, if you stopped the movie, would be something you could recreate if you had a lot of money to buy a lot of Lego bricks.”

When you see the trailer, you’ll understand the “lot of money” comment.  Could be an answer to a trivia question.

According to IMBD, writing credits go to Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman, along with the two directors (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller).  We like the combination for several reasons.

In 2009, Dan and Kevin traveled with Warner producer Dan Lin to Lego headquarters in Billund, Denmark to pitch them a movie set in the Lego universe.  The guys had a sense of ownership and clearly, the two directors did.  This is a labor of love, not a commercial venture.
But that doesn’t mean money won’t be made.

“Our fear going into it,” Mr. Miller says, “was they were going to say, ‘We wanna sell this toy and this toy. Kids love race cars, so we need to have a race car in the movie.’ They never did anything like that. They said make the movie you want make. We’ll make toys based on that.”

Pretty cool!

According to the article, the company has done that. There are nearly 20 building sets that recreate scenes from “The Lego Movie” already in stores along with 16 new character figurines, known as “minifigs.” Plus, there will be a simultaneous Feb. 7 release of The Lego Movie Videogame, McDonald’s Happy Meal collectible cups, and all the other usual tie-in merchandise licensed to outside partners: books, apparel, school supplies.”


LEGO Minifigures The LEGO Movie Series 71004 Interlocking Set

About that Story – Coloring Outside the Lines…

The movie explores what may be the essential question of Lego building as it applies to life: Must you dutifully follow the instructions, or can you combine pieces creatively to make anything you dream up?

We know the answer to that!

About the Characters…

This movie is jam-packed with guys that don’t normally hang around together:

  • From Warner: Batman, Superman, Gandalf, Dumbledore and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
  • Han Solo
  • Shaquille O’Neal (from a 2003 NBA-licensed Lego set)
  • Milhouse from “The Simpsons” (Lego is releasing “Simpsons” products in February).

Fast Facts:

  • Lego estimates that the world’s children spend 5 billion hours a year playing with its toys and that, on average,
  • Every person on Earth owns 86 Lego bricks (many parents whose homes are littered with Lego pieces will acknowledge the allocation is wildly uneven.)
  • Lego’s collaboration with Hollywood dates back to 1998, when the company, until then known for generic play sets like “Lego Castle,” made a deal with Lucasfilm to create sets based on “Star Wars.”
  • In 2000, the company released the Lego Studios Steven Spielberg Moviemaker set, which included a digital camera, software and parts to recreate a scene from “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” (Fan-made Lego movies can be seen online on sites such as
  • Other lines included Legos based on Harry Potter, Indiana Jones,”Lord of the Rings” “The Hobbit,” and superheroes from both the DC and Marvel comic universes.
  • Last year Lego passed Hasbro in global sales to become the world’s No. 2 toy maker.

Note:  The film, opens Feb. 7  and will be the first Lego-related theatrical release (Universal and Warner Bros.).


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  1. Reviewer Peter Hartlaub of the SF Chronicle ( said, “…the first big-screen animated Lego movie has the feel of a passion project – where smart people were given a lot of resources and allowed to execute the craziest thoughts that came to their head. “

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