Getting right back into it after the 86th Academy Awards, this week we’ll be looking at the surprisingly popular Lego Movie (sorry, we know it’s kinda late!). Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, it stars Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett (and many, many others). It is rating PG for mild action and rude humor.
The LEGO Movie is a 3-D animated film that follows the life of an everyday Lego mini-figure (for lack of a better word), Emmet, (Pratt) who is identified as “the most extraordinary person”, “special”, and a “master-builder” after an encounter with a mysterious girl, Wyldstyle (Banks). He is told that he is the only person who can save the Lego universe. With the help of Batman (Arnett), Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman) and other “master-builders”, Emmet goes on a journey to save the universe, but struggles with finding himself in the process.
8.5 out of 10
What a stupid movie.
Now let me explain. Yes this movie was silly. I mean, it’s Legos for Pete’s sake. If that’s not silly then I don’t know what is. But sometimes stupid and silly is good. And in The LEGO Movie’s case, a great thing. In a way, it’s The Expendables for kids. Stupid, mindless action (I guess) and fun. It’s just a fun movie to watch from beginning to end: a fast paced, endorphin releasing adventure. Hell, it’s got Batman, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings; everything.
There’s really not much to analyze, but I’ll do my best. The cast is star studded, featuring all sorts of big names including Arnett, Banks, Pratt, Freeman, Will Ferrell, Charlie Day, Will Forte, Dave Franco, Jonah Hill, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum, and even Shaq. The voice acting is pretty good, and everyone seemed to actually put in effort. Hey, Will Arnett could probably do a better job as Batman than Ben Affleck! (I kid, I kid).
The animation is very impressive. The work to make the fire, smoke, and water look like it’s actually made out of Legos was very cool. Every detail was so specific and careful, helping the universe look so good. The whole universe, both in terms of its myth and its physical attributes, is created to perfection. It’s not hard to imagine playing this story with your own Legos as a child.
Though I did say this movie is stupid, I will be the first one to admit how smart the script is. There are so many ambiguous references that are hilarious if you understand them. I remember being the only person in the movie theater that laughed when Batman says “he’s the boyfriend you deserve” (a reference to the end of The Dark Knight). They’re not afraid to make obscure references and sometimes tease cultural icons, making fun of Gandalf and Dumbledore at points in the film. The writing of this film is impressive and rich with pop culture references.
As depth-less as this movie may appear, its message is honestly pretty deep, especially for the young children that this movie is targeted towards. Not trying to force myself into analyzing themes of a film (especially a movie like this) but the fact that The LEGO Movie actually has a relevant, important message is pretty cool. Everyone is unique, even if all signs point otherwise. Such an uplifting movie. The ending gives you all kind of feels and if you don’t get emotional then you’re not human. It’s kind of like the polar opposite of the Broadway musical Avenue Q, if you’ve ever seen or heard of that.
I can’t finish without mentioning the song ‘Everything is Awesome’, which is, well, awesome. It’s catchy and fits the tone of the movie so well. You’ll be singing it for days. Overall, the entire movie is so much fun and features so many intelligent jokes that contribute to its comedy. There is no doubt that this a silly movie, but seriously, who cares? It’s awesome.
8 out of 10
Everything (About this movie) is awesome!
Seriously, logistically, this must have had Village Roadshow, Vertigo and all of the other producers sweating bullets. Yes, when kids see brightly colored Lego-versions of their favorite characters, they’re gonna flock to the movies (And shell out the extra $3.00 for 3-D to boot) but what about parents? And, if we’re shooting for the moon here, teenagers?
Well, that got me thinking of all of the times I dragged my parents to hour and a half long kid films as a child. Now, those were great times, they probably wouldn’t have seen Shrek 2, Toy Story or Wall-E without them but, then again, they also wouldn’t have seen Shark Tale, The Wild, or Home on the Range without them (There’s a bonus if you actually remember those).
What I’m getting at here is that animation can get pretty dicey. It’s a category rife with beautiful opportunities and untapped potential but it’s also rife with money-makers: half-baked, loud, watch-checkers that’ll keep your kid entertained for $11. And sitting at the tippity top of this category is an animated movie that’s based off of a specific toy or brand.
Lego Movie really didn’t go with that route whatsoever. It was not an 100 minute commercial, though probably did work just as well as one. No, Lego Movie actually had me laughing. It also had me physically shocked that I was enjoying it so well. I read that it was laugh-a-minute but that was totally wrong: I laughed about every thirty seconds.
Now, given that just last week we looked at some of the first-tier Oscar picks, this praise may sound ridiculous but I thoroughly enjoyed this. This movie blindsided me in plenty of ways. First of all, it may operate in a world of blocks and bricks but its a beautiful film. Attentively animated and really kinetic but not busy. Second, it gets all of these different characters and licenses together in an organic way that doesn’t feel forced.
And, most importantly, it has a lot of heart. Really, I was surprised that this movie had a thoughtful message. Did it completely go against everything Lego says? Yes, Lego does not want you to practice what it preaches apparently. But it executes it in a pretty darn mature manner without getting taking itself too seriously.
Aside from the lack of Mega-Blocks jokes (I thought they’d be a good sport if that happened), I really can not say much more about this movie except that I loved it. Even if you are a self-proclaimed adult, break down that steel age-barrier and see it, you certainly will not regret it. You just might enjoy it more than most kids will.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%