By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 14, 2011 at 9:49AM
The various movies in development based on childhood toys and board games, probably the most serious symptom of the creative bankruptcy facing most studios, have, thankfully, yet to come to pass for the most part. McG's "Ouija" had the plug pulled on it, Ridley Scott's "Monopoly" remains stranded in development hell, and films based on the likes of "View-Master" and "Candyland," while threatened, have never made it into production.
One is just about to make it into production however, based on one of the biggest global playthings around, but, if the creative talent announced so far is anything to go by, we're expecting something a lot more interesting than "Battleship." Variety report that Warner Bros. have given the greenlight to "Lego," a big-budget live-action/animation hybrid based on everyone's favorite Danish construction blocks, and the film will begin production next week.
The film has been in development since 2008, with a script by Dan and Kevin Hageman (the upcoming "Hotel Transylvania"), but was reenvisioned last year when Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directors of "Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs," as good an animated film as any made outside of Pixar in recent years, came on board to write and direct, wowing studio executives with a pitch that involved live-action elements.
The pair, who are currently in post on the promising action-comedy "21 Jump Street," remian on board, but they're joined by co-director Chris McKay, who has experience of making toys into comedy as the director of Seth Green's animated series "Robot Chicken," as well as helming the cult Adult Swim series "Moral Orel." In addition, Animal Logic, the Australian animation house behind "Happy Feet" and "Legend of the Guardians," have come on board for the extensive CGI work, which is expected to make up 80% of the finished product, while casting for the live-action elements will begin in the new year.
Plot details are under wraps for present, but we'd put money on someone being magically transported to a Lego world at some point. Ordinarily, this is the kind of project we'd be very down on, and we remain a little cautious, but the track records of Lord, Miller and McKay, all smart, subversive comic minds with the right sensibility for the film like this, are strong enough that we're not going to dismiss it out of hand. Plus, everyone loves Lego. We'll find out how it turns out when Warner Bros. release the film some time in 2014.