The Lego Movie (2014)

Posted by on Dec 29, 2011 in Welcome to Our World | 0 comments

LEGO

Disclaimer: Some small parts hurt like hell when you step on them, otherwise everything herein is awesome.

They took a Danish toy from the 40s and turned it into a movie. Strike that. They took a Danish toy from the 40s and turned it into a GOOD movie. Regardless of how you may feel about the validity of the idea, you gotta take your hats off to the makers of The Lego Movie – they pulled off the impossible. They were given a product and told to make it entertaining on a screen. How do you approach a project like that? How do you take ­the likes of action figures (He-Man) or a board game (Battleship), make it entertaining, and avoid it seeming like an overbearing 90-minute advertisement? In the case of The Lego Movie, you embrace it and create a self-satire.

It starts with the look. They have buttloads of money to work with, which means cutting edge CGI and animation, but that just doesn’t seem right. After all, they’re dealing with crude building blocks and figurines. So they make it look like clunky stop-motion. The foundation to the world, and really the whole idea, is that everything from the visual design to the stellar voice work feels improvised and thrown together on-the-fly. Nevermind that this captures the essence of the toy and the act of improvisational building, it makes for a helluva fun movie experience.

The movie (and eventual franchise, I’m sure) was helmed by the clever comedy team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs), with the help of an incredible animation team and voice actors like Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Charlie Day. Their story continues the self-reflexive hackyness by combining overused plotlines and recognizable character stereotypes, but they do it with such aplomb and charm that it somehow works. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in a world where regular people coexist with pirates, ninja turtles, celebrities throughout history, and anything else the toy company has turned into a collectible set.

They’re all here. And in the best example of how they use such characters, the Will Arnett-voiced Batman is a spoiled dickhead who only enters into a heroic situation if it’ll benefit his status with the ladies. It’s never not funny. And it usually revolves around Elizabeth Banks’ Wyldstyle, a strong independent female character who leads a political revolution until she’s forced to rely on the Chris Pratt-voiced protagonist who’s often fulfilling the bumbling-husband-from-a-sitcom role.

Like countless of others in this world, he’s a construction worker who always follows the build instructions. He likes his life, but has a sneaking suspicion that there’s somehow more. That suspicion materializes when he’s thrown into a political resistance for creativity against President Business’s (Will Ferrell) strict cookie-cutter rules.

I’m not gonna ruin the genuinely surprising finale, suffice it to say that it just seals the deal. It, first and foremost, provides the opportunity to hammer home the message – that entertainment like Legos are meant to stimulate creativity, not limit it. But it also boldly breaks down the fourth wall, surprising viewers once again, and reminding us just how truly clever this movie really is. When they tell you ‘everything is awesome,’ you’re gonna believe it. Not just because it’s a ridiculously catchy song, but because it is. It really is.

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