Two stories involving children’s toys come to mind. In the universe of Toy Story, a franchise created by Pixar, the toys are living, sentient beings that simply pretend to be inanimate when there are humans around. In The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson, toys are inanimate objects with a spark of consciousness, and can be made Real through the love and adoration of children.
The myth in The Lego Movie combines both premises: both “the man upstairs”/the child and the Lego characters have agency and influence. The prophesy is both “made-up” and “true”. Of course a religious reading is inevitable, but subtext or no this is a fun story celebrating imagination. This is a fast-paced, laugh-per-minute comedy, that rare children’s animated film that didn’t have to use adult jokes to garner laughs. It also acknowledges the craziness of child’s play. Have you ever tried listening to a child talk about the plots and subplots and sub-subplots of his toys? The stories children concoct are weird and insane and sometimes creepy – because they have no rules, or they make up and discard the rules as they go along. The Lego Movie understands this. This is probably the funniest film I’ve seen in years.
Of course, after the experience of the cinema I got to thinking about those expensive bricks. The Lego Movie is a fun story, but it’s also a product placement, and I sympathize with the parents who have to contend with demands for a Lego set now now now. I have never played with Lego bricks because my family can’t afford it. For example, Cinderella’s Romantic Castle goes for US$69.99. And of course you won’t stop with the romantic castle. You need to get the Man Bat attack and the Desert Skiff and —
I dream of an animated film a la Toy Story, but featuring toys made from found objects. Because those are the “toys” we used to play with, right? Twigs + leaves + empty can of evaporated milk = kitchen set. I can already imagine a scene showing a robot made from karton and buttons and retaso meeting a high-tech robot toy belonging to a child of an OFW. The karton robot feels inadequate. And scene.
What say you, Pixar?