Is Everything REALLY Awesome? A Lego Movie Review

I have mixed feelings about my kids’ addictions to Lego bricks. I do love their educational value. The Padawan saves his money to buy sets that he likes, the more complicated, the better. He learned the value of following directions, and also not to pour all thousand pieces out on the table at once. Those who accuse sets of stifling a child’s creativity have never seen a ten year old redesign a space ship to give it more playability and durability. We have loose bricks, too. Very loose, under foot, even. I don’t mind. The boys love them, and they’ll spend hours building and creating. And we’re all hooked on the Mystery Mini Figures.

I hate the rampant commercialism. We went to a Lego Discovery Center a couple of summers ago. We’ll never go back. I looked into purchasing the Minecraft sets at Christmas. 469 micro bricks for a mere $35. Micro bricks. For $35, I can purchase a Lego set that is all of 3x3x3. Inches. $35 and Squish could hold the whole thing in his hand. No. Thanks.

When the Lego Movie was first advertised, I knew I would be dragged to see it. It’s PG, and ever since “Horton Hears a Who” introduced Squish to some fabulous new words, I’ve had a strict policy of prescreening anything rated higher than G. Last Sunday, I got up a wild hair to treat the Padawan to a movie, sans little brother.

I didn’t tell him where we were going, just that we had an appointment at 1:30. My secret scheme was almost blown at lunch when he said “I want to go see the new Lego movie.” I played it off by asking him if the movie was even out yet. Clever me. He had no clue about our destination until we stepped up to the ticket window. Apparently, he thought I had found him a therapist (I don’t even…), or maybe we had an appointment for a massage. Yes, that sounds like me.

We went full works. Popcorn, sodas so big we’d be peeing Pepsi for a week, enough candy to guarantee illness. It was a perfect set up.

Long story short, I knew I would hate it. I was wrong. I left the theater thinking that Lego Group deserves every penny they make on this film. It was delightful. The cast is star-studded. George Takei, anyone? There’s action, there are celebrities bringing back beloved roles (no spoilers here, folks), there’s earworm that I am still singing.

There’s plot, there’s silliness, and best of all, the Padawan and I both loved it, but neither of us felt compelled to go out and purchase any of the affiliated items. The sets they’ve come out with to go with the movie tend to be a mish-mash of bricks with limited use, and even some pink Duplo style blocks. They’re in keeping with the plot of the movie, but they all look like something a kid could make themselves. We will collect some of the mini figures, but we do that anyway.

I recommend the movie for ages 7 and up. There’s (surprisingly) nothing inappropriate that I could see (and you’d better believe I was looking). There are no snarky kids, no graphic anything,although a few characters are mistreated, and an important plot point is the main character’s friendlessness. The one thing that would make me hesitant to show it to Squish is the plethora of “butt” jokes. I don’t like that word. But that was the only thing. The only thing.

The reason I don’t recommend the movie for younger children is because it is plot-driven, not so much action-driven. There is action, to be sure, but without understanding some intricacies of plot and dialog, there are not enough explosions and car chases to keep many younger children engaged. I know. The theater was full of them, and they got kind of wiggly. My suggestion for those whose little ones are dying to see it is to wait for the DVD. Then buy it. And watch it until your ears fall off. Because they will. Everything is awesome.

The Padawan hasn't had the best luck with Mystery figures. Most of the ones he got at Christmas were girls. But I covet that chihuahua, don't you?

The Padawan hasn’t had the best luck with Mystery figures. Most of the ones he got at Christmas were girls. But I covet that chihuahua, don’t you?

My Star Wars Saga

The Padawan is a Star Wars fan. I’ll pause for a moment while you recover from that shock. Better? Good.

I’ve known for months exactly which magnificent Star Wars Lego set I wanted to get for him for Christmas. I had the money in hand, I just needed to find a good deal. I am a patient woman, so I waited for the prices to drop, which predictably they did.  I am also a cheap woman, so I waited a little longer to see if they would drop still more. Did I mention the part where I am also stupid?

It has been a long time since I have shopped like this, about a year, actually. And I had forgotten that prices hit bottom on the good stuff in October and will steadily climb until Christmas. A year is a long time to remember that I should loosen the purse strings a little.

So now, the cool item has disappeared from store shelves. On Sunday, I found a store that would ship it to the store of my choice for free, and the set was at a supremely sweet price to boot. One catch. We have our holiday funds in a new account, strictly for the holiday shopping. The lesson I do remember from last year is that when a giant online store messes up, it can take months to straighten out the ol’ bank account (I’m looking at you, Amazon). So we set up a separate account for online stuff. The card was due to arrive on Monday.

On Monday, the set was no longer available. I found another retailer. They were going to charge me so much to ship the thing that it was no longer worth it. I almost gave up on ever possessing that set. But I found new determination, the same kind that leads a cat to believe that it will one day catch that laser pointer.

I went to The Source. You know, the Lego Store. I found the set I wanted (back-ordered, but available for presale), plus a precious freebie set, free shipping AND 10% off. So, yay! Sale ending in six hours. Thank goodness the card had arrived!

Card declined. I tried again. Declined.  I called the bank, which happens to be a local credit union. It was 5:30, and everyone was gone. No 24 hour service.

Husband’s card also declined. Same deal. Verified, authorized, useless. I may have pooped my pants.

Called the Lego Store to beg for mercy. And free shipping.The nicest guy helped me out.

The little freebie was gone.  Sad face. BUT the fellow set up an order for me so that I qualified for free shipping and 10% off. He assured me that they are getting more of my set on the 15th, but no more are scheduled to arrive after that. If my order didn’t complete early the next day, it might be gone for good. No pressure.

Called the bank. At 8:30 sharp. I was transferred to the person who could help me. Except that she was out of the office. Tick tock, Clarice.

Discovered the problem.  Turns out, when the teller had set up this account, she had missed the last step in the process. You know, the one that actually opens the account.

I called the Lego store.  The nice lady clicked some buttons and said the order was verified. I didn’t get a confirmation email, and I told her as much. She said I’d get the confirmation in 2 days. For real? In the digital age, it takes 2 days to know if my payment went through?

I asked her to double-check. Turns out, she didn’t even have my payment information, which is kind of important for buying stuff. We tried again.

Did it work?  I have no idea. I gave her the info, and the order was verified. At least she says it was. Neither the order or the payment will be processed until Thursday. Awesome.

May the Force be with us all.

Why am I trying so hard? Maybe because I am stubborn and like beating my head against the wall. Or maybe because the kid looks SO much like his mom that I feel like I owe him big time. No guy wants to look this much like his mom did at that age. Seriously.  It’s almost as bad as finding out Darth Vader is your dad. 

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Something’s Not Right Here

Lego has just come out with a new product called Lego Friends. They come in pink boxes. And you can get a Butterfly Beauty Shop and give makeovers to your girl Lego figures.

The toy box will never be the same. I just took a peek, and  Emma and Mia have been doing a color analysis on the Storm Troopers and convinced Chewbacca to shave. Olivia is leading a campfire sing-along with the battle droids after dinner. We are witnessing the collapse of natural order.

Harry and Voldie, chillaxing? What is wrong with this picture?


.You have to click the links. Seriously.