The biggest movie in America is The Lego Movie, which has grossed $142 million in just 11 days, shattering expectations. LEGO-based video games—that is, video games that take existing properties such as Batman and reimagine them in jokey, LEGO-based universes—are insanely popular. And you can't go a day without discovering some jackaninny has "LEGOed" something; for instance, here are the posters for this year's best picture nominees at the Academy Awards redone as LEGOs.
I say this as someone who grew up playing with LEGOs and thinks they're amazing, but: This needs to stop. Immediately.
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It's not just that it's an annoyingly cutesy and cloying thing to do—"Oh, look, 12 Years a Slave LEGO characters! That toy seems to be having a great time in between whippings and lynchings!"—though that's a large part of my revulsion. It's also that it's an annoying perversion of everything that makes LEGOs great.
Even as a child, I was vaguely annoyed by the LEGO kits that allowed you to recreate something you'd seen on TV or in the movies. The greatest thing about LEGOs is that you can use them to build anything your imagination can create. Castles, cars, airplanes, you name it: If you had the blocks and a mild spark of ingenuity, you could do just about any damn thing you pleased.
But the LEGOification of every aspect of popular culture is, in many ways, the exact opposite of the triumph of imagination. This ideal asks you to take something endlessly changeable and shove it into a tiny mental space already dominated by every other facet of popular culture. It's a perversion of the LEGO ideal, a slap in the face of everyone who grew up tinkering with their building blocks in the hope of creating something new and exciting, something just for themselves or their friends.
Also, if you could get off my lawn, that would be great.