Making Fun: The Story of Funko premiered on Netflix today with all the nostalgia and positive vibes that one would expect from the company that brought Wacky Wobblers, Dorbz, and the iconic Pop figurines to the masses over the last 20 years.
The documentary admits that the intention is not to tell the story of Funko as a company but focuses more on the cultural impact that the popular toys have had in a Comic Con world. Mixing famous collectors with “Funatics” of epic proportions, Making Fun does an excellent job of highlighting the culture that has built up around these tiny vinyl figures.
The downside, though, is that the segments that do actually focus on the company are incredibly interesting and underutilized. Perhaps a different edit which mixed up the segments a bit more would satiate the appetites of viewers who desire a deeper look at the design or manufacturing process but it is also fair to say that another 20 minutes devoted to that aspect would make the documentary feel much more balanced.
While it is fascinating to see the massive collections super-fans have built over 20 years — as well as hearing their stories of survival, acceptance, and inspiration — a deeper delve into the creative process would make this a near-perfect documentary.
As it stands now, Making Fun feels more like a corporate training video designed to hype up new employees into the importance of the company. It’s pleasant and informative but a little thin on actual documentary substance. Product lines were broadly mentioned if mentioned at all, and no insights or trivia points of interest were mentioned. Sure, fans will learn that it all started with a Bob’s Big Boy figure, but there’s no mention of how many figures have been made or sold, how many licenses the company produces for, why the decision was made to number Pop brand figures into separate series’, or any other “fun facts” that usually make documentaries like this more intriguing.
Again, it is clear the focus is on the fans, and in that area, the documentary excels but by offering even a cursory look at the actual company the viewer is left wanting to hear more of that interesting story.
Making Fun is definitely worth checking out. It’s pacing and the narrative is solid and it ends with a great montage of 50 years worth of pop culture. The faults in the doc are limited and should not dissuade even the casual Funko fan from taking it in.