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Five Movie Franchises That Deserve the Lego Game Treatment

Five Movie Franchises That Deserve the Lego Game Treatment (photo)

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Anyone who’s ever brought and played through a licensed property or movie tie-in game–especially the ones aimed at kids–knows that they are the devil’s own coding. The shoehorned sensibilities, unoriginal design and general trying-to-hard vibe not only make you want to smash whatever console you play them on, they drain any enthusiasm you might have had for the movie they’re based on.

However, the glowing exception to this experience has been the various Lego action/adventure titles of the last few years. Development studio Travelers Tales has made winning games out of the mythos of Batman, Harry Potter Indiana Jones, both “Star Wars” trilogies and the “Star Wars Clone Wars” cartoon series. They’ve all been fun, pick-up-and-play experiences that turn the worlds of the central characters into hilarious, breakaway brick playgrounds. The characters don’t talk so they act out pivotal moments in the mythos with mime-like physical action. For example, when Darth Vader has to tell that he’s his father, the Dark Lord of the Sith whips out a Polaroid of him-as-Anakin and Padme.

Like any good Lego experience, you get to collect bricks and build things in the assorted Travelers Tales games. Usually, the buildables are vehicles or gadgets but “Lego Indy 2” had a deep crafting system that let you play with the environment, too.

To celebrate the release of “Lego Pirates of the Caribbean” this week, a few humble suggestions follow as to what other entertainment franchises would make great Lego games. One big caveat: Travelers Tales was brought by Warner Bros. a few years back, meaning that the majority of their future work will likely be WB prperties. Still, a gamer can dream, can’t he?

“The Fast & the Furious”
Let’s face it, for all the too-cool street racing drama, the “F&F” movies are basically superhero films where driving is the superpower. A Lego version of the NOS-fueled films would maintain the car fetish that runs through all of them, with players collecting Lego studs to build blocky versions of the high-powered autos. Best of all, crashed cars wouldn’t be a tragedy in “Lego F&F;” they’d just get rebuilt with a few button presses.

“Karate Kid”
There’ve been four wildly different movies that have borne the Karate Kid name and The Lego games so far have been mostly platformers, with run-jump-shoot action. “Lego KK” would give players a chance to see what a fighting game with the snap-together sensibilities would look and play like. Punching somebody’s head off would literally be punching somebody’s head off. And the laughs to be had in translating the various training sequences and big showdowns would surely be comedic gold. I’m guessing the Sweep the Leg, Johnny scene would have to involve a broom.

“James Bond”
If the Lego games specialize in one thing, it’s cheeky humor. Excepting the deadly grimness of the current Daniel Craig incarnation, all of the onscreen incarnations of Ian Fleming’s superspy have had healthy doses of sarcasm. That’s right in line with the Traveller’s Tales Lego vibe. The gadgets and fantastic vehicles of 007’s world would fit perfectly in the established template, not to mention all the exotic lairs, locales and hideouts of the various Bond villains. The often racy antics of James Bond would have to be toned down but who doesn’t want to face off against a Lego Jaws or Chop Chop?

“Zorro”
Traveller’s Tales always manages to put in a lot of visual flourish to the animation of their stubby-limbed Lego-fied characters and they’d put that to good use in a game starring the 19th Century masked swordsman. The developers could mix and match the best parts of the many interpretations of Don Diego’s swashbuckling alter ego, with levels built around horseback riding, swordfighting and whip-wielding. Carving that ‘Z’ into the blocky torso of an old-timey Spaniard bad guy would be too much fun.

“Howl’s Moving Castle”
Real-world Lego play always involves copious amounts of imagination and the oeuvre of animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki sports the same wild-eyed dreaming as that of a kid playing with those timeless colored bricks. In particular, “Howl’s Moving Castle” offers the kind of grand sweep that Traveller’s Tales have gotten really good at portraying in their games, with “Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars” as the best recent example. The modernized fairytale aesthetic of “Howl’s” would give TT a chance to stretch their legs artistically and the darker textures of the movie would be great for slightly older kids to gobble up in playable form.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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