Dee Discusses: The Lego Movie

Posted: March 24, 2014 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Movies, New Movies, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

There are major spoilers in this review!

I was hugely skeptical of this movie and I think everyone was. When I started seeing RottenTomatoes giving it high praise and people saying it was fantastic, I was very intrigued. How could this possibly be good? I envisioned it more as Cars, which I hate a great deal. The thing is, I love Legos. I played with them constantly as a child, I loved everything about them. This movie made me miss them so much. I was not at all disappointed with The Lego Movie and I feel like it deserved every ounce of praise it got. I haven’t had that much fun in an animated movie since … I can’t even remember. Probably Pixar. And this may have partly to do with my deep love for Batman and everything relating to Batman. But I’ll get into bigger thoughts later on.

The movie is about a completely average worker named Emmet (Chris Pratt), who is forgettable by everyone he meets. He wants to please people and make friends, but it doesn’t seem to be working. In his town everyone does their routine and are completely happy as shallow drones. They do everything that President Business tells them (Will Ferrell), and he has nefarious plans. There’s only one thing that can stop him from glueing people in place so they can’t “mess up” his perfect world: the Special. A person said to have the key with a magical piece to stop him and his secret weapon. Emmet accidentally stumbles into it, and he’s rescued by master builder and total hottie Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). At first she is psyched to meet the Special – although envious a little – but she realizes how average and boring Emmet is and freaks out. She brings him to meet with a wizard┬áVitruvius (Morgan Freeman), who made the prophecy in the first place. She also is dating Batman (Will Arnett). He’s completely awesome and arrogant.

They are being hunted by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). He needs to capture and kill them before Lord Business does his evil plan. Emmet is no master builder and has no idea how to help anyone. The master builders are all hiding in a special place and when he tries to inspire them, he only makes them lose hope. Then they’re all captured, except for Emmet and his friends who make a submarine and then successfully hide. He comes up with a plan to get them inside by pretending to be completely average. He uses his weakness as a success. It almost works but Lord Business captures them and ties Emmet to a battery that holds all the master builders. It sucks their inspiration away and there is a count down to the end of everything. Vitruvius is killed and reveals there is no Special, he made it up. Emmet despairs at first, but then comes to a plan to willingly sacrifice himself to save everyone. He destroys the battery by falling off the tower into nothingness. The others try to make his sacrifice worthwhile by fighting to the very end.

Meanwhile Emmet finds himself in the real word. Yes this make believe world is all in the mind of a little boy. This was the “twist” people didn’t expect, and I certainly didn’t. I love fourth wall breaking, and this was so well done. It gives in to the conceit of the movie, making it possibly true, while also grounding a time and place. The boy’s father (also down by Will Ferrell) has an orderly world and wants to glue everything down where it belongs. The boy just wants to play. He is dismayed by his father’s criticism of his designs, but Emmet takes control of his own body. The boy returns him to the set piece and he tries to stop Lord Business again. It is now that the father sees everything for what it is, and realizes how unfair it’s been for his son. They have an extremely sweet scene where the boy speaks as Emmet and explains everyone is special and creativity is necessary. The father allows him to do whatever he wants, the characters are excited, and there’s a little funny scene at the end when his little sister’s toys enter the mix.

There are aspects of this that remind me of Toy Story, both in emotional resonance and fourth wall breaking. But the characters are not aware they are toys, this story is extremely real to them. By the end of the movie you can see how this all comes from a childlike mind. The connection and lesson for the father is very important, and really a nod to the parents in the audience. It’s a healthy message: encourage your child’s inspiration because he won’t necessarily have it last forever. And open yourself up to change, make the relationships you can, be kind and not critical to children just because their ideas are out of the norm. The idea of “everyone is special” is nice and good to sell to kids. It’s a nice movie for both adults and children. It’s very clever and has some great one liners, and a lot of it might go over the heads of the young audience.

The voice acting is all superb, but I have to give it up to the animation department because oh my god. I’ve never seen anything like it. They apparently used a mixture of stop-motion with CGI, and you can tell, because these look like real legos and they have fantastic additions like lego fire and water. I laughed when I saw those horses that just have room for the feet and can never move sideways. All the set pieces are from real Legos, and I had most of them growing up. Especially all the medieval ones. It looks gorgeous, and the colors are vibrant and intense. I honestly cannot think of a criticism for the movie. Yes the plot is somewhat simplistic, but that’s to be expected in this genre. It was pleasant and funny and strangely touching. I look forward to owning it, because I want to see all of the behind the scenes. I’d see this again in a heartbeat. Also I saw it in 3D and it was worth it, completely.

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