Making Fun: The Story of Funko (2018)

“Funko” is not a flash in the pan and it’s not a fad. It wants us to know that, and that it loves us, the fans. It’s been around for twenty years, manufacturing bobble heads and dolls in the background. Most recently it broke in to the mainstream consciousness with its series of Funko Pop Dolls, a long line of dolls with big heads, black eyes, and no mouths that have become humongous, coveted collector items far and wide. The Funko Pop craze has even managed to save some waning businesses with its broad line of dolls that range between anything from Batman, to The Sandlot, to The Golden Girls. “Making Fun” is a documentary by category, but in reality it’s a big promotional reel for stock holders of the company in the midst of its massive popularity.

While many folks that hate the brand have declared it a fad in the vein of Beanie Babies, Funko has shown surprising staying power. You can’t help but compare them to Beanie Babies or troll dolls, though. They were all born from home grown corporations, they all had creators that adored them, and they experienced a boom where collectors will pay anything from a hundred to five thousand dollars for a “rare” artifact of said item. “Making Fun” is mostly a saccharine and cheery look at the beginnings of Funko, and how it began mostly producing original bobble heads, and then blew up when it gained the rights to produce Betty Boop dolls. If you love Funko and or are a huge Pop collector, this movie is right up your alley, as it’s mainly a celebration of the brand. Even the sad portions attribute Funko to being a benefit to some individuals.

The owner even had to retire in tears because the company was just too big and popular, dagnabit. Along with a lot of the looks at the various toys and sub-lines like Rock Candy, as well as explorations on their popular brands like Batman and horror movies, the movie picks up when it peaks in to the fans’ lives. Well, it picks up and then completely drops off. At eighty minutes, “Making Fun” is twenty minutes too long, as we visit a few fans who found happiness in Funko, including a ton of celebrities that praise the brand like Kevin Smith, Conan O’Brien, and Alice Cooper, respectively. The movie takes a dip when it meanders with a lot of testimonies, spending a large amount of time on one woman who, stricken with cancer, loved Star Trek so much she collected the pops line, and eventually gets to meet (and sing with) Nichelle Nichols.

The segment just feels out of place and not really on topic at all. I would have loved for the documentary to discuss how various pops have risen in value, why they rise in value, where they draw the line on licensing, and the rather toxic base of collectors that have caused many store chains to crack down and instill major rules to avoid violence and a ruckus. I also would have loved insight as to why the Funko Pops appeal to a lot of people. What is it about the blank eyes, big heads, and small bodies that just click with people old and young, man or woman? In the end, “Making Fun” is a sub-par documentary, but a great promotional film that I imagine will be playing in the background of Funko Themed Sections in gift shops at Disneyland or Universal Studios.

Now streaming on Netflix.