The budget for “The Lego Movie” was $60 million. Which seems reasonable, since I’m pretty sure that’s what various people have spent buying Legos for my son.
Since my son is 5 (AND A HALF, he would remind me), the construction of the superhero sets usually falls on my husband or myself. So I build the Batmobile or the Daily Bugle or whatever, only to find it in my son’s room three days later at least partially disassembled. I once found Superman standing on a space shuttle, wearing the Joker’s hair and Batman’s cape and carrying both Aquaman’s trident and a pizza that rightfully belonged to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And it drove. Me. Bonkers. Superman does not eat pizza. Lex Luthor has no business attacking a medieval castle with a trebuchet.
I took him (my son, not Lex Luthor) to a screening of “The Lego Movie,” expecting he would love it and I would find it mildly enjoyable. I was right on the first assumption and wildly wrong on the second. Because I loved it. It’s the best kind of children’s film: Not only is there humor for the adults, but the humor for the kids is smart, too, and edgy. (Batman says “butt,” a forbidden word in our house, so Batman is essentially my son’s George Carlin.)
The film’s message — which I expected to be the generic “believe in yourself, kids!” — was much more nuanced and, frankly, it spoke to me: Following the instructions can lead to great things, but these are toys, ultimately, and SuperAquaPizzaBat deserves respect, even if he has the hair of a supervillain.
So my son left the screening with a poster and a fondness for shouting “Honey, where are my pants?” (just see the movie). I left with a better understanding of why it’s OK to take apart something you can never get quite right again. Because Batcaves rise and Batcaves fall, but imagination is forever.