If You Build It, They Will Come

Originally posted on nikbunting.me on March 3, 2014.

I finally saw The Lego Movie this weekend. And I absolutely loved it. Mostly. There’s one eensy thing that I can’t let go of. It’s not a surprising thing either. It’s just ugh. Yet not really.

Spoilers to follow. Obviously.

Near the end of the movie they break the fourth wall and we see that the movie has really been both a literal and figurative struggle between Dad wanting things just so / keep your mitts off my toys and the son letting his imagination run wild, which at their heart and ideally, Legos are for. It’s pretty well played out and one of the few times I’m not super annoyed by Will Farrell’s presence.  But but but. Did it have to be a father and son? Couldn’t it be a father and daughter or mother and daughter or mother and son? It reinforces the modern day marketing that Legos are essentially a boy toy. Despite the fun, well written movie with a pretty positive message, that’s still what I take home at the end of the day. And then there’s the bit about now having to let the sister play. Yes, it turns out to be less about the sister being a girl and more about being a mad toddler. But that latter kind of undoes the whole point of what the son was trying to tell his dad. Legos are good for both following the directions and going where your imagination leads you–both are okay and not necessarily mutually exclusive things. But the kid’s reaction to letting his sister/the toddler play isn’t all that different from his father’s attitude. In the end, we see that little sis does get to play and all hell’s gonna break loose. Which mostly yay? And to cap it all off Mom’s upstairs MAKING DINNER.

I’m annoyed because one little thing is coloring my enjoyment. I’m annoyed that I’m annoyed because I have every right to be annoyed since the movie is saying one thing and doing another.  Part of me’s all “shut up and enjoy it, don’t let the gender politics intrude”, ie, “why so serious, baby?” And the other part’s all “fuck you, patriarchy, stop selling me a heteronormative, male-dominated world”. It’s the twenty-first century; it should be better than this.

Sigh.

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