The Lego Movie Review

14 Feb

You have to admit than when looking at previous movies that were based off of toys, they were all pretty obvious attempts to just cash in on the merchandising value those toy brands had built up during the past few decades. Looking at the track record let’s remember Transformers and G.I. Joe both had cartoon shows whose only purpose was to make kids want to buy more of their action figures. Once these kids had grown into better consumers Hollywood corporate bean counters figured they could once again sell Transformers and G.I. Joe repackaged as a movie title , even if the movies themselves are just a CG pile of stupid. So when I heard that the next toy to get a Hollywood makeover would be Legos, I wasn’t optimistic and expected another 90 minute commercial. But a mixture of curiosity for how bad could it get mixed with a little hope that they might make something fun got me to buy a ticket. Being on the fence going in I didn’t consider it a good sign that the 3D glasses the movie theater gave me had “The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey” printed on them. You know when the theater is unloading stuff they’ve sat on for 14 months they’re really pulling out all the stops to make sure you have the best experience possible. I skipped the Popcorn, figuring it also was probably from the Django Unchained opening weekend.

 Lego Moive

Five minutes after the start of The Lego Movie it had already won me over. I could tell that it wasn’t trying to be a cheap gimmick or lazy money grab and that it was going to embrace the unique charm of living up to being “The Lego Movie”. It also reminded me a little bit of Team America (easily in my Top 5 favorite movies ever) not just because it used inanimate objects to tell its story but because it derived humor out of the limitations of these objects. Team America’s puppets couldn’t dance or fight or walk, Lego people can’t bend their elbows and have claw hands so watching the characters trying to maneuver around is awkward and funny. Team America made fun of the giant special effects budget movies by having all their special effects done with miniatures and fishing line and cheap small scale explosives. The Lego Movie rendered everything in plastic; the clouds, water, smoke, lasers, gunfire flashes and explosions are all just Lego pieces, no Industrial Light and Magic needed (Yes I realize most of the movie was in fact CG and not stop motion animation with Lego but you get my point). Team America also made sure to point out all the required elements an action movie needs like a ticking clock and a montage. The Lego Movie makes use of calling story elements what they are, the main character is “The Special” his secret weapon is “The Piece of Resistance” etc. By making plot devices so apparent it is funny and also keeps things simple so you can just sit back and enjoy the blocky beauty of Lego world.

 Lego Movie 2

This movie works really hard to be everything you want it to and it shows. The previews don’t do justice to what this movie looks like, in the clips the Lego world seems like a bunch of kids with ADHD have been drinking Red Bull and snapping Lego sets together then throwing them at one each other. Watching the actual movie isn’t nearly as chaotic as the trailers make it look. What I like is that they are embracing the full legoness look of everything. The Spaceman from the 1980’s set has a broken helmet, just like mine did. People’s heads rotate 360 degrees and can be pulled off and reattached to other things. There are so many Lego based visual site-gags going on in the background I know I missed a few. In fact this movie has so many jokes in it period. Luckily there weren’t any of those jokes that are “for the parents” because kids won’t get the subtle sexual hidden double meaning of the dialog. I just think that’s too easy to do in a G movie, it takes real wit to make an adult and a kid laugh at the same gag, or maybe my sense of humor is more immature than I think it is. The adult themed humor here is geared more toward making fun of pop-culture, like how expensive franchise coffee is and how pop music is overproduced and repetitive. Parents be warned you will not be able to get your kids to stop singing “Everything is awesome”. Even knowing it is a spoof song I still have it stuck in my head cause it is so damn catchy.

I didn’t even mention the casting which uses Morgan Freeman perfectly and keeps Will Ferrell in a supporting role where he belongs and Will Arnett’s Batman steals every scene he’s in, there’s some nice surprise voices, like Charlie Day and Liam Neeson to keep an ear for out too. Summing up, this is not the Blockbuster that uses a toy in the title to sell you a movie of crap. The Lego Movie cleverly spoofs other toy Blockbusters while at the same time being the toy Blockbuster we always wanted. This movie made me happy from beginning to end.

Carl Wells

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3 Responses to “The Lego Movie Review”

  1. Derek February 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    I thought it was done very well. What are your thoughts on the obvious resemblance of Mitt Romney with Will Ferrell’s character, President Business?

    • Carl Wells February 20, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      I think that lifeless piece of plastic was phoney and hollow and was clearly under the control of of an unseen invisible hand. And on the other hand there’s President Business who was funny easy to connect with and was much more of a human being.

      • Derek February 20, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

        burn

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