Hi all, apologies for not posting anything for a couple of weeks. I became overcome by a lot university work (we do actually do stuff you know). Hopefully things will be a little more regular for a bit! I saw this movie last week and have only just got round to write about it, so enjoy!
Going in to Lego: The Movie, my expectations were not very high and I half expected it be a rubbish commercial cash in devoid of any emotional or artistic integrity, product placing every Lego based franchise/product under the sun. But ho boy, was I wrong. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong (except when I went through a phase of calling Inception “mediocre”).
It’s reminiscent of Pixar classics like Toy Story 2 & 3 in the way that they sort of transcended their initial and perceived boundaries and thus spoke on two levels: to kids and adults. In Lego however it addresses both demographics simultaneously and brings them together in a complete and majestic way.
The movie concerns a Lego construction worker called Emmet (voiced by Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt) who is completely normal and ordinary in every way and only wishes to fit in. Emmet then discovers he is “The Chosen”, the one who will use the Piece of Resistance (Pièce de résistance, geddit?) to save them from President Business (Will Ferrell) who will unleash the Kragle (I’ll let you figure that one out) on the unsuspecting citizens of the Lego World.
It boasts terrific vocal performance across the board and is packed with lots of well casted cameos (Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson to name a few). Chris Pratt anchors the whole film down with his down to earth, loveable, yet slightly stupid role – similar to his character in Parks and Recreation, but less dumb. One particular highlight was Will Arnett’s Batman, whom I wholeheartedly think is one of the best big screen portrayals ever: “I only work in black! and sometimes very very dark grey!” and his song, oh, his song! Lord Business – voiced by Will Ferrell – is the butt of many cracking consumerist and creativity based jokes. Don’t roll your eyes just yet, this is Ferrell as we’ve never seen (or I suppose it’s heard right?) before.
The animation really shines and for my money, it is one of the most innovative and satisfying animation movies to come out for a long time in terms of style. It’s all computer-generated (for the most part!) but it is done in such a way as to make it seem as if it stop motion. Y’know like the type you used to do (or pretend to do) as a child? Visually, it’s great, but more importantly it works perfectly both structurally and thematically.
After a lot of really awful adverts for upcoming kids movies (I swear they were better when I was a child, though, I did drag my dad to see the first Pokémon movie; sorry for that dad) I was put in a trepidatious mood, but after the first, say 15 seconds of the opening sequence, I was completely and utter won over. And that won-over-ness only escalated as the film went on. The opening sequence is a magnificent opening piece is beautiful and frantic; it’s great just at a technical standpoint. And “Everything is Awesome” has been stuck in my head for days as it will yours.
All this dazzling imagery would be for nothing though if the script was utter tripe. But thankfully, it’s not. Simply put, the film is really, really funny, full of smart (paying $17 – later it turns out to be more – for a cup of coffee for example) and slapstick and visual gags and it manages to strike the perfect balance between them.
The really satisfying element however is that the movie fully embraces the logical systems of Lego. At the end, everything just makes sense. The characters and “MasterBuilders” all build things out of Lego pieces; in fact everything in the world is made out of Lego (duh), even the explosions and water. Thematically, it is also about building, individuality, creativity, spontaneity but whilst all this clever mumbo jumbo is whizzing by, I was never taken out of the action and the fun. Then, towards the end, something unexpected happens. And it really hits you in a visceral, genuine way. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t with my friends, I would’ve been balling my eyes out. Like I said earlier, it’s like Toy Story 2 and 3 in that regard. Perhaps – dare I say it – it’s better than those because it doesn’t drown the film out while still being an integral part of it.
Everything is indeed, awesome.