Who would have thought a movie about Legos would be one of the most talked about films of the year?
I'm late to the party but I came out impressed with what directors and co-writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller had done with the material. To be honest, my experience with Lego is a bit limited, I was more of an action figure kind of kid. I built something out of some Legos, at least as far as I can remember but when it comes to some of the bigger sets, they just seem kind of tedious to me like building the Millennium Falcon for example. But I'm not completely ignorant of the brand. I knew about stuff like Bionicle and I saw some animated Lego movies on Cartoon Network such as the first Bionicle movie and one of the Star Wars animated Lego specials. They're not impressive for the record.
However I became intrigued given what was going on with The Lego Movie with the trailer being what sold me on the concept and really, it really did turn out way better than people thought it would. And it kind of helps that there's more going on beyond the surface of a sea full of jokes.
Let me get this out of the way first and this is just something I noticed right off the bat, this movie does not dilly dally that much. It's fast paced. It's a compliment, it's to the point and doesn't try too hard to be funny. It felt like a breeze watching the film. It kind of helps when the film has a hit joke, it doesn't beat it down to the ground in a desperate need for a laugh. The jokes come out very naturally, no one is trying too hard to be funny in order to get a laugh by either trying to make a goofy voice. Yeah, there's Will Arnett with his Batman voice but it's part of the character, not an excuse to shoehorn in more jokes in a desperate attempt for a laugh.
The entire film is basically a satire of the Hero's Journey. You know, the kind of structure you'd see in a film like Star Wars. It takes potshots at the concept in every step of the way like the wise, old mentor, the hero getting the girl at the end, the exposition dump on the chosen one, all that jazz and more. A lot of the film's funniest jokes come from that sort of thing.
For example, Emmett, voiced by Chris Pratt, asks Wyldstyle to repeat the whole story again as he wasn't listening while he was staring at her.
Actually speaking of Emmett and Wyldstyle; these are the most surreal cast of characters I'd ever witnessed and that's really another compliment as they're all a hoot from not just the two leads but also Vitruvius, Uni-Kitty, Batman, yes Batman-just go with it, Benny, the 80's classic space guy, Metal Beard, Good Cop/Bad Cop, Lord Business and such. You have all these characters and these diverse actors, they all were a perfect and were not thrown in for name recognition. A lot of these names were no doubt people Lord and Miller wanted to work with and can you blame them? They all had great comedic timing and excellent chemistry with one another; what's not to like about the cast?
Then we have the animation, oh my god do I love the animation. It's all CGI but it moves like stop motion, specifically like Lego figures. They move exactly like you think they do but not only that and here's the thing that impresses me about it; it's about how fast it can look. You have these characters creating various vehicles or objects in seconds like no tomorrow. It was just simply fun for me to be a bit mesmerized by it.
But here's the meat of the film itself, and this is where I get to spoiler territory so feel free to skip this point.
Now here's the motivation behind Lord Business and how his city works. They all have to follow instructions exactly as they are. No alterations, no loopholes, no anything. They have to stick according to the instructions. Wake up, do exercise, watch a sitcom called "Where's My Pants?" and such.
As explained, see, the multiple Lego worlds used to be one but Lord Business disagreed with that so he had them separated and follow their own instructions and whatnot, no interaction with any of the outside worlds.
The whole prophecy relies on the concept of the Master Builder who would bring creativity to their Lego worlds as it should like being able to make a motorcycle out of random parts in an alleyway for example.
This all culminates to the film's major twist. This kragle that's part of Lord Business's plan to stick everything together to keep everything in place without change? Crazy glue. It's crazy glue, except the brand name as a K instead of a c and one of the tubes has some of the letters scratched out. Don't want to steal someone else's gag but it calls for it.
"Because poor literacy is kewel."
Yup, the twist is that what happens in the world with everyone in the Lego universe is affected by what happens in the real world. It starts with a kid building the newly crafted spaceship that's coming to save the day as Emmett is thrown into a magic portal that transports him into the real world. There was a mention of "The Man Upstairs" earlier in the film and it turns out to be the kid's father. A rather uptight and kind of obsessive Lego collector and builder who President Business is based on. See, this whole Lego universe is based on the imagination of this one kid and based certain elements of his life so far and implemented into his creativity.
It does speak to people in a lot of ways. People I know grew up with Legos. They had similar creativity as much as this kid. And I have said before somewhere else that remakes and such are like Legos. And in terms of the father, it certainly speaks to me as I know similar dickweeds who follow his logic even to a point where I don't doubt other people I know in real life. For an example of the latter, I know this dude who really thinks comedy is a low form of storytelling (and yet he praises Full House, huh) believing that it's very limited to one emotion. Or this other guy I know in the fanfiction, whom I'll just name him SJ just to be safe. Basically in a nutshell, he plagiarizes other's works. No, not other people's fanfiction. No, I mean he steals from other movies and shows word for word and it's termed "fanmakes.". He barely has an original idea of his own and he seems to operate on the similar logic as the father like it must be like this and not a certain other way.
You can even apply this sort of thing to how Hollywood runs their films by testing films or TV shows to focus groups and use that knowledge to make something that follows a specific formula. Doing that, you get something like The Swan Princess which as I stated before was very calculating by utilizing the Disney formula and using whatever anachronistic humor Disney used for Aladdin.
This is the heart of the movie, it is about the joy of being creative especially as a child. You can follow some certain instructions to your Lego sets but it doesn't hurt to do something else with it just because the box tells you to build it exactly as it is on the box; don't be limited.
Really, go see it; you won't regret that you did. It's hilarious, there's a lot to admire, just an all around fun film. Check it out and remember, everything is awesome.