If you haven’t seen The Lego Movie yet, go see it. No really. Step one, buy some tickets. Step two, try to make it through the movie without cracking up at Batman’s creative side or humming along to the movie’s upbeat pop anthem. It’s as impossible as licking your elbow. You just tried to lick your elbow. Gotcha! But seriously…Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the trailer.
I love animation. I was born into a world of Disney features, Chuck Jones shorts, and the wily hijinks of Jay Ward’s Rocky and Bullwinkle. I’m an avid Avatar the Last Airbender fan and have watched Batman: The Animated Series start to finish more times than I am willing to admit. Despite that, as a parent, I often find myself sitting through movies that aren’t that good because they are child appropriate. I enjoy going to the movies with my daughter because she enjoys it so much. She is interested in how cinema works and is enamored with stories in every available form. I like to spend time doing things she enjoys. That being said, The Lego Movie is a movie we both wanted to watch and that is pretty rare.
I was raised by animation enthusiasts and while I’m not nearly as picky as my dad or my brother, I have a hard time watching stuff that is well…ugly. This isn’t. Somehow, something as rudimentary as a brick is animated in a way which stays true to it’s history but is also visually interesting. Just like real Legos, some of the coolest scenes in this movie involve destruction as tall towers rain down in individual pieces. Outside of the demolition team, every day occurrences like water and soap bubbles are given their own dash of whimsy. I honestly can’t say enough about how delighted I am by all the little details that make up this film. They are a testament to the power of free-thinking all by themselves.
The star-studded voice cast ended up being pretty perfect. I could listen to Morgan Freeman read the nutritional information off cereal boxes for days so when I found out he was playing the main character’s shamanistic guide I was sold. Beyond that Will Arnett gives this universe’s brooding egotistical yet hilarious Batman(!) his voice, Will Ferrell plays President Business, Chris Pratt voices our unlikely minifig hero, Emmet and Liam Neeson gives us both good cop and bad cop.
I can’t talk about the cast without mentioning the long list of fabulous cameos like Han Solo, Abraham Lincoln, Professor Dumbledore, Wonder Woman and a menageries of other DC heroes, Gandalf, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shaquille O’Neill, Shakespeare, and many more. I have a feeling the vast majority of those are thrown in more for my benefit than my child’s. There are also a slew of homages to the different types of Lego sets available for the diehard Lego fans out there. I heard excited whispers about Ninjango from two little girls were sitting in front of me. Even the entry-level Duplos got a shout out.
While we are talking about characters, let’s take a second to talk about Wyldstyle. Despite her goofy name, she kicks a lot of @ss. She’s a highly imaginative master engineer who has the ability to utilize anything and everything around her to create what she needs to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, the creators definitely feel back on some stereotypical female characterization crutches with this role. She does a lot of slow-motion hair flipping and second guessing herself which is annoying, considering she seems to be the most competent character in this group of unruly misfits. I know Lego has been buying into the gross blue aisle, pink aisle thing with their branding lately, but I am happy to see a strong female co-lead despite her moments of insecurity and her affection for an emotionally absent boyfriend.
After seeing the trailer, I was worried it was going to be one of those movies where they put all the funny stuff in the promo and the rest of the film falls flat in comparison but The Lego Movie is actually funny, like haha funny. Half the jokes are over-exaggerated slapstick , each timed to the beat of mishaps which result from being made to be disassembled. It’s like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos with Legos. The other half are jokes for the adults in the theater. They float right over the kids to their parents and caregivers who are desperate for a kid’s movie that doesn’t suck. The physical comedy and intellectual comedy are often interwoven to create a universal and resounding laugh from everyone at the same time.
Overall, The Lego Movie movie is a creative tribute to the imaginative ventures Lego strives to cultivate. The movie reminds us to be active participants in our lives, our communities and our relationships. While there are some interlaced adult jokes and comedic violence, I don’t think it reflects negatively on the brand. In fact, I think it sort of helps reel parents back in and remind us what we loved about Legos as a kid, the total lack of limitations. We do a lot of Lego building in our house on a normal day, but we were all excited to get home and bust out the Duplos. PS: Damn you, Tegan and Sara! I cannot seem to stop singing Everything is Awesome!
If you have seen it and are interested in how the movie brought everyone’s favorite toy slash choking hazard to life check out this behind the scenes film from FxGuide. It does contain some spoilers so I would avoid it until you’ve actually seen the film.
*Lego Movie Fanart Feature Photo Credit : Tom Whalen. This guy is awesome. Check out his stuff. || Screen Caps courtesy of Warner Bros.
Written by Rachel Brandt