Princess Leia and Harry Potter are dining in the eat-in kitchen of their midcentury modern home, sunshine bouncing off the white floors and refracting through the enormous aquarium that separates the kitchen from the den. “I need more pink tiles for my dining room!” their neighbor Hermione calls from her rainbow-colored split-level ranch home next door, which boasts three patios and two hot tubs.
“I wish we had purple bricks,” their neighbor Queen Amidala says as she parks her yacht next to her two-seater spaceship. “Maybe the Lego store has them now.”
I am powerless to those words and my daughters, ages 4 and 7, know it. So do the masterminds at the privately held Danish Lego group. They know how that first purchase of a small Lego brick box will invariably lead someone in my demographic to the Star Wars Lego collection at Target, where I’ll ogle the Millennium Falcon and babble on about the awesomeness of Ewok Village Leia. They know that my enthusiasm will lead my daughters straight to Heartlake City, the girlie Lego fantasy land that’s filled with bakeries, beauty salons, high schools and horse ranches (but no trains or traffic lights or firefighters or cops or civic infrastructure of any sort). And once we’re all caught in the tractor beam of the Lego store’s Pick A Brick wall, with its breathtaking kaleidoscope of specialty bricks and tiles for $14.99 a bucket, that’s when those Danes have us in their whimsical Scandinavian clutches forever.
No wonder I feel guilty as I’m driving my children to see “The Lego Movie.” I should be taking them on a long hike or handing out aprons and baking cookies. But we aren’t doing those things; instead we spend our weekends hunched over expensive plastic bricks, and now we’re going to watch them on the big screen. I have filled my daughters’ empty minds with a blind devotion to an indifferent commercial empire. #legoempire