Oh my God I love this movie!
“One day, a talented lass or fellow, a special one with face of yellow, will make the Piece of Resistance found from it’s hiding refuge underground, and with a noble army at the helm, this Master Builder will thwart the Kragle and save the realm, and be the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times. All this is true because it rhymes.” – Vitruvius
The LEGO movie tells the story of Emmet (Chris Pratt) – an ordinary LEGO minifig who is prophesied to be “the special” and is recruited to join a quest to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from gluing up the LEGO universe into eternal stasis.
To put this into context, The LEGO Movie is instantly appealing and attractive because the film celebrates everything that makes LEGO good. A child watching this film might not get all the in-jokes but for someone like me who grew up and adored LEGO as a kid, the toy references were easily spotted. The idea of master builders, the instruction manuals, the LEGO product numbers on every piece, using a marker pen to draw a face on a minifig or using nail varnish to wipe it off – all classic LEGO jokes. It very clear, right from the beginning that directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done their homework and what they have produced is probably one of the best animated films of the year.
That joy starts off with the brilliant animation. I’ve always liked the LEGO computer games (LEGO Indiana Jones being my favourite, closely followed by LEGO Lord of the Rings) and LEGO CG films, but you always felt the animation took a few liberties with the characters, especially their movement. In other words, it never felt authentic. You can’t say that about The LEGO Movie. The film adopts a stop motion feel in a computer-generated world so it actually looks and feels like someone painfully and passionately created the entire movie in their bedroom! It’s a massive respect, honour and homage to Brick Films, animators using LEGO creations to create animated worlds and videos.
The story is great fun too with adorable Emmet as “the special” leading the way. Imagine a kid friendly version of The Matrix with Emmet as “the one”.
At the beginning of the film, Emmet is an ordinary guy who conforms to his environment of his town called Bricksburg. He follows a step-by-step instruction guide on how to live life. The film parodies not only LEGO behaviour but also real world contexts and consumerism like the idea of buying overprice coffee ($37 – really? LOL), additively listening to the “Everything is Awesome” song, Taco Tuesdays or watching the formulaic sitcom of “Where’s My Pants?” To him this guidance will make him friends and be happy but in reality, to his LEGO co-workers at the construction site, they think he is a nobody. Emmet is always liking what everyone else is into and doesn’t develop his own unique personality. In the grand scheme of things besides Lord Business’s devious plot to immortalise the LEGO universes to his perfection using the Kragle (aka Krazy Glue), this film is Emmet’s journey to find out what makes him “special”.
Like most animated films where it contains a message to the young kids, The LEGO movie is no different, emphasising on individuality, personality and creativity rather than settling for the norm. Everyone is “the special” – a message that might sound cheesy but does it in a way that adults as well as young kids can appreciate.
That in a nutshell is what LEGO is about, certainly what I discovered as a kid. It was my favourite toy as a child and it probably takes great courage to admit this – it still is. That freedom to imagine and create whatever you want from a couple of bricks makes the toy brilliant and this film celebrates that. Watching The LEGO Movie became a nostalgic reminder of how much fun I had with the toys and to my surprise, the film delves into that nostalgia of a child’s imagination in a very clever twist.
It’s a twist that is unexpected and in my opinion cements the legacy of this film. It suddenly becomes a tribute to Toy Story and Emmet just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz gets a peak behind the curtain. The whole prophecy and the LEGO worlds came from a child’s imagination, using his father’s LEGO sets and his attitude as the basis of the story. It makes the film heartfelt and sincere.
“If this relationship is going to work out between us I need to feel free to party with a bunch of strangers whenever I feel like it. I will text you.” – Batman
The LEGO Movie is also filled with great humour aided by great characters and cameos all from the LEGO licenced sets. Superman (Channing Tatum) does all he can to avoid Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) and that includes threatening to use Kryptonite on himself! Batman (Will Arnett) channels his inner Christian Bale and delivers a perfect Batman voice in the most comical way possible. It’s very clear they had great fun with the character, portraying him as a self-absorbed and hilariously arrogant minifig. Honestly I don’t think I can play the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game without thinking of Arnett’s Batman and his new set of sub-woofers! I hope in the sequel they can get LEGO Joker or Bane just to up the ante and comedy. Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop – is this his best role in years? LOL. His dual personality and his anger issues with a chair made him a joy to watch. Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle was kick ass and Morgan Freeman does his usual God routine but in LEGO format. In fact, the whole cast did an outstanding job.
But I’m saving the best character till last – Benny! Benny (Charlie Day) brings back a lot of memories because I remember the LEGO space sets and while I didn’t have them as a kid, everything about Benny’s look is synonymous with that time period, right down to his broken helmet. I love his child-like enthusiasm when he gets excited to build a spaceship and when he finally made one, I completely cracked and died with laughter.
In case you missed the positive vibes on this review, this film is brilliant and had such a great time watching it. The Geek highly recommends it.
*Five hours later and still singing* EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!