It’s always a little baffling to see how far LEGO has come since we were kids. As if being the go-to building block for upwards of three generations isn’t enough, LEGO has recently been expanding very VERY far beyond the bricks. Marvel and DC licenses? Really good action games with IP’s like Harry Potter and freaking Star Wars? If you had told me in 1989 that LEGO would become a hugely successful multimedia darling, I would have been very confused to say the least. And taking a look at what’s coming in 2014 for LEGO, we haven’t seen anything yet.
The LEGO Movie
Ok, I’ll hand it to you, upon first hearing about the LEGO movie it sounds like a seriously silly money grab from a brand that is obviously overextending.
But then, you see the trailer:
WHAT?!? IS THAT MORGAN FREEMAN?
Yep. And Liam Neeson, Charlie Day, Jonah Hill and Will Ferrell. And lots of Batman, it would seem. This thing is more than watchable; it may even be worth the ticket price. It definitely has everything a family movie needs. Actually, I’m pretty sure it has everything every movie needs. A plot, some jokes for adults and kids alike (there’s a character called “Where’s My Pants Guy”) and even a little romance. There’s even history in there. Have you ever seen a movie with Shakespeare, Michelangelo (the TMNT and the painter) and Abraham Lincoln? History overload.
Can’t wait for February.
The LEGO Movie Merchandise
This is the first time in my life that I’m anticipating merch from a film more than the film itself. As a recently converted hysterical fan of minifigs, I literally can’t wait to feel up the new LEGO Movie minifig packs. I say ‘literally’ because I’m going to the toy store right after this to go see if I can find my favorite fig from the set: Larry the Barista. I’m pretty psyched to put the minifig head that I use for myself on the barista body and perch it on my espresso hopper.
I’m also pretty excited about the William Shakespeare and Abe Lincoln minifigs. I can honestly say that there isn’t one figure in this new set that I wouldn’t be happy to get instead.
Of course, there are other larger building sets you can get in anticipation for the movie. So weird – is that a LEGO snail?
LEGO’s Entry Into the Digital World
Even though LEGO is still owned by the same family that created in it in 1933, it has had no trouble staying ahead of competitors by staying on the edge of innovation. These days, toy innovation means staying painstakingly current when it comes to digital integration, and it seems that LEGO has had no problem at all in that area.
A great example of LEGO’s entry into this world is the EV3 line, which is on its third incarnation since 1998. The Mindstorms EV3 is a build-it-yourself robot with real potential to sync with your Mac or PC. If LEGO’s digital prowess is still in doubt, just visit their website which features a ton of kid-friendly digital content to tie in with their classic brick products.
The LEGO Minifigures Online Video Game
The MMO world falls woefully short on kid’s titles, but not for lack of trying. Normally kids’ MMOs have trouble being playable for parents, but since LEGO is so skillful at hitting different populations simultaneously, I have high hopes that it’ll genuinely please the whole family.
LEGO’s past and future success may see effortless, but their approach of targeting different populations from complex builders (Architecture Series and Architecture Studio) to girls who wanted something a little more girly (the new Disney Princess line) and lovers of all things nerdy (The Hobbit and Star Wars) has most certainly paid off. The company that has built itself on fostering childhood creativity has most certainly shown us how it’s done.