Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Cast: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Charlie Day
Plot: Emmet (Pratt) believes he is your everyday construction worker, loving every second of his life, unaware about a prophecy proclaiming that he is the only one who can prevent the end of the world.
If I had to summarise the LEGO movie in one word, I think I would have to go with ‘imagination’. If I was allowed a second word, it would be ‘Wow!’
Yes, the LEGO movie is a lesson in how imagination is the key ingredient when making a children’s film. With the idea of making a movie focused on those little LEGO blocks we used to play with set in stone, the writers obviously threw together a think tank and came up with some pretty crazy ideas, moulding them together into something great (which as it turns out is a fairly important part of the moral in the finished product). From the first shot to the very last frame, ideas are bouncing around the movie and they never seem in a particular hurry to slow down. The great thing about LEGO as a subject is that it is a different form of nostalgia. For one, there are several layers to it, so even kids who only have a few years’ experience in LEGO will get a nice throw-back to LEGO Indiana Jones, while at the same time adults will get in-jokes about some of the older products. Also, it is a nostalgia that I didn’t even realise I had. I was never a massive LEGO fan, so I expected a lot of the cameos to go right over my head (quite a few did), but this movie made me realise that LEGO had a bigger part in my childhood than I first thought. The moment they made a reference to the long-forgotten Bionicle series, I was hooked. This movie becomes a whirlwind of great ideas and visual gags, having an endless supply of cameos to choose from. The possibilities were endless and the writers totally work with this, letting the random nature of the variety of LEGO to hit us again and again (as Scary Movie and Movie 43 prove, random is actually a tricky comedy style to get right). Was I expecting a cameo from the Simpson’s Milhouse or the Millennium Falcon (best scene by the way)? No, but they totally worked and I loved it.
Honestly, as the movie hit the midway point, I began to realise that the LEGO Movie could actually work as a long-running franchise. Maybe most of you would like this as a stand-alone piece of cinema, but there was a certain element that suggested that the LEGO movie had enough material to produce a few sequels. As I said, the imagination never showed any signs of slowing down, and we never got the sense that the writers ever began to scrap the bottom of the barrel. I was reminded of the Muppets movie, in the sense that if the writers kept themselves open-minded enough, there was no limit to what they could give us as an audience. The best example of this was the addition of Batman as a main character. They assembled a cast of characters and decided that this movie could be improved with Batman. And why not? He brought some of the best jokes to the table, without really stealing the show from the rest of the group. It is that kind of spark that really made the LEGO movie special.
Also, I loved how it stayed true to the nature of LEGO. It focused on the power of building and, here’s that word again, imagination. I expected this film to be something along the lines of Wreck-It-Ralph, with throw-backs to LEGO, but pretty standard as a movie experience. But no, the director went the full way. The movements were jerky, as if it was made from bad stop-motion, but it made the experience feel so much more like, well, a LEGO movie. When I first saw this, I began to feel like this movie might turn a bit painful, but it never became a problem. In fact, it made this movie so original. The explosions and fire were made of LEGO too, something that looked so bizarre, but almost made me want to go home and play with some LEGO. I loved how visually LEGO blocks are fairly tame, but visually, here they looked so beautiful. The scene with the ocean made of LEGO blocks was stunning and made me open my eyes to the potential of LEGO. For most of the running time, my one complaint is that sometimes it was all a bit too much. During the fight scenes, there was so much going on at such a breakneck speed, that my eyes were totally at a loss for where to look. However, even then, I began anticipating buying this on DVD and finding new things to enjoy with every watch.
And then that twist came along and ruined everything. I was forewarned by fellow bloggers that there was a pretty drastic twist. In fact, I thought it happened ten minutes before it did, and although I cannot go into details, when I misinterpreted the road they were taking the movie, I was fairly impressed. However, then the actual twist happened and the whole movie fell to pieces for me (pun intended). I can see where the writers were coming from and I bet during the writing process, and even the production, everyone thought they were making something pretty clever. It was a pretty good surprise and admittedly it lifts it from the ordinary animated film category. However, basically, the writers write themselves into a corner. After a few moments of enjoying this new turn of events, the writers end up breaking their own rules to end the movie. The main flaw is the fact that the villain, Lord Business, makes some pretty drastic character choices that totally destroy his character. It happens too sudden and after some thought, it makes absolutely no sense. Most people feel the same way about the ending yet are more forgiving than me, but seeing as before the writers got cocky, I was enjoying near-perfect entertainment, this twist really rubbed me up the wrong way.
Final Verdict: Dodgy ending aside, the LEGO movie is still a rollercoaster ride of laughs and visual perfection that the kids will love.