Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lego Movie [2014]

"Come with me if you want to not die."

What would happen if you put Toy Story, Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lego blocks in a blender and hit SMOOTHIE?
This movie.
(Sorry for the unintentional rhyme.)
This is the most fun I've had at the movie theater since either Brave or The Secret World of Arrietty (can't remember which came first). Creative, energetic, hilarious, surprisingly deep, and sometimes disturbing, The Lego Movie is way more than I walked into the theater expecting.
It's the story of Emmet, a normal construction worker who is mistaken for 'The Special'- the only Master Builder who is capable of stopping Lord Business' evil plan. Emmet's home city is a dystopia of sorts. Everyone drinks the same $32 coffee, listens to the same song all day, and watches the same ridiculous sitcom. (Sounds kind of familiar when I think about it...)
It sounds weird written out, but the story was actually quite good. I went in thinking the story would be the crumbling pillar that holds up the product placement. It's actually the other way around, in that I couldn't imagine this story being anything but Lego, and it was engaging and interesting.
Of course, it wasn't perfect. The 100-Minute runtime might outlive the attention spans of kids, but luckily kids aren't the only ones who can enjoy this movie. Most of the plot discrepancies and oddities that make no sense, well, they make no sense because at the point in the movie they're brought up, they haven't been explained yet.
There's a very interesting twist towards the end of the movie that's hinted at, but you don't actually expect it. Then after the twist, you think back about the movie and it totally clicks. (I apologize for any puns that crop up here. But it's pretty much impossible to avoid them XD)
Something I like about all the various short Lego movies (yes, there are many) is that the dialogue crackles and is usually fraught with humor. The same applies here, with so many awesome lines that you can barely pick a favorite. Also, the humor in this refrains from being too rude. A lot of kids movies commit the sin of edginess taken to the extreme. You've got suggestive lyrics, constant crude humor bordering on inappropriate, and bad language. The Lego Movie actually goes out of it's way not to have swearing. There's a moment where Emmet actually spells Oh my G-O-S-H! And the literally two-faced Good Cop/Bad Cop breaks down in a hailstorm of the dreaded 'Darn'.
Speaking of Good Cop/Bad Cop, this movie has some rather... disturbing scenes. I mean, nothing on the level of Pan's Labyrinth, but still pretty dark for a kid's movie.
Despite the constant humor and gags (and the fact that it's about Legos), this film actually gets quite deep and- dare I say it?- touching. Seriously. I did not expect to actually care about the characters. Not all of them are the same level of deep and developed, but for CGI models of plastic figurines, they were very poignant.
Oh, and a word on the Cinematography- Awesome. It's always great to see an animated movie that is shot well. In as much as you 'shoot' an animated feature.

[Extreme Spoilers Ahead! Seriously, you don't want to read this bit unless you've seen the movie. Or just don't care. Because if you're not sure about seeing it, you might actually want to read this bit to help make up your mind. Anyways, you have been warned.]
Once you've reached the twist, there's some doubt to whether Emmet and all his adventures actually happened. Like Pan's Labyrinth, it's open to interpretation, but with clues implying that it was in fact, real. Here, the clue is Emmet moving by himself. The kid's Dad has puts him on a desk, and using all his willpower, Emmet manages to jump off. This part of the movie is where it's the most poignant and intuitive, and part of the reason it's so dang good.
All through the movie, we're told about the 'prophecy' of The Special- the most interesting, talented, and important person in the history of the universe. However, in another plot twist, it turns out that this prophecy was just made up by Morgan Freeman's character(can't remember the name at the moment). This realization brings Emmet down at a critical moment, since all he wanted was to be a special person. However, it turns out that the Morgan Freeman guy made it up because he knew that anyone who found the Piece of Resistance (The cap for a tube of Krazy Glue) would be special- because everyone is unique and special in their own way. This is a nice change on the usual 'Everyone is special trope', because it's not about having something that somebody else doesn't have. In the end, Emmet is just a normal guy. But he's special because he's unique in his own way. Am I making any sense? No matter, I'm getting a little tired of typing 'special', so let's move on.
[Spoilers end here. Feel free to look again.]

Oh, and the animation warrents special mention. Even though it's obviously done with CGI rendering, the 'brickiness' is preserved. Pretty much everything in the movie is made of Lego bricks, even clouds and the ocean. Bright and colorful, even if you don't like the plot and characters that much, the animation is at least really good.

The Verdict: A [My brother would prefer an A+, and even though I can't see any reason NOT to give it an A+, a regular A just feels right.]
Not at all lacking in energy, and very touching in all the right ways, this is one of those kids movies that can be fully enjoyed by everyone in the family. Aside from being wholesome and charming, some of the messages presented are very different from the generic movie messages.
The Lego Movie is one of the best family films in recent memory, and even if it's not quite up there with masterpieces like Up and Kiki's Delivery Service, it certainly comes very close. Even if you're not a 13 year old boy, I highly recommend this movie. Huzzah!
(And I think you can tell a movie's going to get a good review when I go overboard with the pictures. Yikes.)


Everything is awesome!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have enabled comment moderation, but you have nothing to worry about unless your comment has swearing, vulgar language, or is rude and uncourteous.
Feel free to subscribe to follow-up comments, since I'll probably respond sooner or later.
Oh, and if you're commenting with the anonymous setting, please leave a name or alias at the end of your comment, so that I can have something to call you. :)