Every time a new ill-conceived attempt at turning a board/video game into a movie is announced, the internet wails “WHY, GOD, WHY?!” And a story this morning is sure to raise that chorus. First they came for the Transformers; then Hasbro cashed in on G.I. Joe, which the world apparently has accepted with gratitude. But… what’s that, now? You don’t care for these aggressive relics of the American military-industrial complex? Pacifist Danes to the rescue!
Yes, Lego is coming to a screen near you. Variety brings the news: Dan and Kevin Hageman, who’ve yet to have a movie in theaters but have scripted a few things in development, like “Castle Transylvania,” have been flying back and forth between American and Denmark for over a year to meet with Lego execs, who are understandably invested in protecting their core values. Said values, according to producer Dan Lin: “a fun factor, creativity and that imagination has no boundaries.” Mr. Lin is also producing a “Tom & Jerry” movie in live-action, but I’ll refrain from any cracks about the boundaries of his particular imagination.
Now, we all know that Lego has creative potential, because of Michel Gondry’s still-mindblowing video for “Fell In Love With A Girl.” (Lego does not always smile upon music-related endeavors; as the New York Times reported a few days ago, Spinal Tap got shut down when they tried to include a video for “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” on their upcoming concert DVD.) But to date, the Lego corporation’s sole official venture into film has been the lousy-looking DVD series “Bionical”.
How someone can shape a feature film from a line of building blocks unencumbered by backstory or narrative is almost impossible to imagine. But is blowing up this thinnest of material into the biggest of spectacles so much worse than, say, spending hundreds of millions on the literary nuances of Dan Brown? My constructive suggestion: Youtube + Lego = music video. Lego + movie = feature musical fun for the whole family? Hell, they could even make a stop-motion Transformers musical while they’re at it. If we can’t stave off the inevitable, why not have Jack White as Optimus Prime? Worse things have happened.