I went to go see The Lego Movie with my son. We were on a father-son getaway, and it was probably the longest time we had spent together just the two of us since he was born. He took a trip with his mother last year, and I was jealous for my own 1:1 trip. This was my time. And it just happened to be opening weekend for The Lego Movie.
I can’t remember the last time I had such a surprisingly emotional reaction to a “kid’s movie” – maybe The Iron Giant or Toy Story. Either way, The Lego Movie really blew me away. Such a witty, creative script. From the very beginning exposition, the movie sets your expectation for a satirical tone. From clever plays on hero movie stereotypes to pretty spectacular voice acting from sarcastic masters like Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, and Will Ferrell, everything points to a certain style of humor. And it’s great, it’s amazingly funny, but in a very tongue-in-cheek way.
Towards the end, the movie makes an unexpected turn away from the sarcastic and into absolute sincerity. And I never saw it coming. Without giving away spoilers, I would just say that the movie makes an inspired appeal toward creativity, individualism, and play. It almost makes you ashamed to be a grown-up. Walking out of the theater with my young son, we both loved the movie but clearly for different reasons.
While my head was spinning with thoughts about what kind of father I want to be and how I can encourage that sense of wonder in my children, I did have one other inescapable thought. The Lego Movie, while an amazingly enjoyable, funny and surprisingly deep movie, is also perhaps the greatest marketing and branding success story of the year. I have no idea how much Lego sales are up, but beyond the economic success, it’s just amazing how “on brand” this movie was for Lego. I can’t imagine how they could have been more successful at entertaining audiences and reinforcing the Lego brand. Everything is awesome.