The Lego Movie
The Lego Movie 2014
So I managed to make it out to theaters to see my first theatrical movie of 2014. It’s not exactly what you might call a “superhero movie”, but there are quite a few superheroes as supporting characters so I’ll let that slide. It’s almost more like a Lego version of the Matrix, complete with “the one” also known as “the special”, the master builders who can change the code by rearranging the Lego blocks, and-spoiler- a bit of a twist involving a second world outside the world. Aside from that, there’s a lot more laughs, a lot more heart, and a lot less violence. I loved it, my daughter Jena loved it, and my wife loved it. It’s a whole lot of fun from beginning to end.
I may I have mentioned this in my review of Lego Batman 2, but I grew up with Legos. I remember my first set was a racecar, but my next two were from the 80’s space sets so I was delighted when one of them were represented as a master builder in this movie. In fact everything in this movie with the possible exception of the Unikitty and Metalbeard are actual Legos that can be made. There’s also several moments when one the movie goes into a master builder vision mode where they can see numbers on the lego pieces, and Legos and Lego sets are actually numbered in a similar way. Even the special effects with the explosions, flames, smoke, and water aer all represented by Lego pieces rather than actual special effects, and I loved every minute of it. When I initially saw the trailers, I thought this might have been CGI that looked like it was actual Lego stop motion, but after seeing it, I’m pretty sure it was all done with actual Legos except for possibly the facial expressions. I especially loved the moment where a character that died comes back as an old school lego ghost, complete with glow in the dark effect and string to hold him up. It all plays very smoothly on par with any stop motion movie I’ve ever seen.
As for the story itself, as I mentioned, it plays very much like a typical savior story where there is a prophecy that foretells of a single person who can save the world. And when that person is found, they ultimately reject the prophecy, but in doing so end up fulfilling the prophecy in the process. But part of what made this film so enjoyable to me is that it poked fun at the story at the same time that it was going through the motions of it. This film is hilarious in so many different ways. Chris Pratt is great as the extremely happy, simple, and carefree Emmett. Morgan Freeman also gets plenty of moments to play off of his somber, meaningful, and iconic voice for some of the funniest moments in the movie. Will Arnett also plays up his role as Batman in the best way possible, really taking the air out of the character which is always a lot of fun, and he was the superhero master builder with the most screen time, though Green Lantern got a couple great lines alongside Superman. In fact, just the cameos in general were often a great moment of humor. Lego has its hand in so many properties, that it was great to see them all come together. Even though there were still plenty of other properties Lego has worked with that didn’t make the cut like any Marvel or Middle Earth properties. But there was a really great scene with a property not owned by Warner Bros and two of the three voices were reprised by their actual actors.
There was also a bit of a twist to this movie that I totally wasn’t expecting, but when it happened, it made total sense and brought a lot of extra heart to the movie. Will Farrell plays a dual role, besides being Lord Business, he is also the Man Upstairs. In other words, at the end of the movie they break out of the Lego world and into the real world which is a basement where Will Farrell is a businessman who has this incredible basement Lego diorama. But he also has a young son who just wants to play with the Legos the way a child would – creating things willy nilly with little rhyme or reason while he wants to keep them all looking the way he wants them to. This Matrix-like twist was something that I wasn’t expecting, but realizing that the entire movie was basically the world as a child’s imagination in this basement filled to the brim with tons of Lego sets was a really smart move by the screenwriters.
I think I am probably the perfect audience for this movie. I had a smile plastered on my face from the opening credits. I loved seeing the world represented in Lego with all the meta moments like when the characters reference the words hanging in the sky which you could still see off in the distance when they first crossed over to the Old West world. Everything is Awesome is likely to be stuck in my head for ages to come, and at least for now, I dont have a problem with that. It made me remember and miss my giant box of loose Lego sets even though I never stuck around with it long enough to get any of their licensed sets, I just had mostly their generic space sets, though I only had a couple of the 80’s ones and moved on to the sleeker-looking but still generic 90’s sets along with some of their Castle sets and a few of their Town sets. But even if you didn’t play with Legos, there’s enough humor, action, and heart to enjoy this movie at any age. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.