The Lego Movie
Tea: Coconut Sencha Tea
There was a rather odd conversation I overheard once: People argued whether it was acceptable to make a movie about toys, all the while wearing a Transformers T-Shirt. Ok, not overheard, but read about. Actually hearing people talk about things would require me to go outside and keep me from watching movies like this (have you ever experienced a better introduction to a topic? I think not).
The Lego Movie does have a pretty revealing title, since it spoils you the entire material of the movie right there. The story follows Emmet a would-be-special person on his quest to stop the evil Lord Business by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. While this might sound like a run-of-the-mill plot it does get a little meta near the end, which I won’t spoil, but it actually adds to the movie rather than subtracts from the overall experience.
The opening sequence showing Emmet’s and his fellow citizen’s daily routine paints a surface level happy, but a much darker picture implication wise. This is only the start of a line of social critique with one among them being consumerism which strikes me as odd from a company that makes millions selling toys and probably made millions selling toys based on this movie alone, but I digress. The social commentary (with its own accurate and probably far more enjoyable version of Two and a Half Men, for instance) is actually very well implemented neither too obscure to notice at first, but also not blatantly obvious turning the thing into a 90 minute schooling about the values of friendship. It manages an even split between plot and message that is surprising for this type of movie. In return, the movie becomes more enjoyable for a wider audience. Children will enjoy the movie simply because it’s Lego figures moving about, while mature people can get entertainment from the flick as well.
– Never has the term ‘average-guy’ been more applicable –
Let’s talk about the visual design, because it is actually pretty impressive. Everything is animated to look like Lego, but not the Lego [Insert popular movie franchise here] The Videogame kind of look. It looks like the Lego YOU could own. It has texture and also shows signs of use. The most iconic one being the broken helmet of 1980-something space guy which I swear I broke the exact same way. It’s effective at evoking nostalgia through the look alone and this is both a testament to the animator as well as to the Lego Company. The theme song of the movie is sadly really catchy, I say sadly, because it is the kind of song you feel a bit embarrassed liking and humming. Although I won’t let Batman’s song go unmentioned, which is a great example of the use of an existing character and ridiculing him a bit.
– Credit were credit is due: This animation-level is impressive –
Speaking off Batman, what movie could not be improved by adding Batman? That was a rhetorical question of course. Batman beating the hell out of Christian Gray seems like a welcome addition to that movie and afterwards he could turn his steel-fists to the author of the source-material. But I digress. Batman represents only one of many pop-culture references the movie takes a shot at and thankfully none of them are cringeworthy. This is also represented in the voice-over. Casting Morgan Freeman to speak anything is a good idea, but making him the prophet of this world seems like a smart decision to appease all the people who wittingly write something along the lines of: “What is God doing in this movie?” under any movie trailer involving Morgan Freeman and giggling like little schoolgirls in the process. As a whole the voice-over was done and selected really well and I can’t think of anyone I would have switched out. Yes, Christian Bale might have been the more iconic Batman-voice at this day and age, but also the one harder to comprehend.
– Batman: Improving movies by being in them 100% of the time –
However, there are a lot of dark aspects the movie presents to its viewers. Some of which might even go unnoticed. Like casual beheadings, the implied murder of one’s own parents (no, this doesn’t have anything to do with Batman for once), the erasing of one’s sympathy through torture, and the list goes on and on. Maybe some might just say, it’s a kids movie and I am reading too much into and the beheading is totally okay, since they are just toys. Yet, the movie does everything it can to makes us fell otherwise and I love reading too much into stuff, so sod off.
All in all the Lego Movie is a nice entertainment from start to finish. It does not lose its momentum and even the token dramatic moment that movies like this apparently must incorporate manages to stay interesting and does not feel forced in, but rather a natural continuation of the story. Animation and sound are excellent and the fact that everything in the Lego world manages to really look like it consists entirely of Lego, rather than say would-be water in the Lego video games, adds a lot to the immersive quality of the movie. There are some dark moments I can’t really predict how a child would react to, but to me it adds the needed tone of seriousness to an otherwise hilarious movie. If you can stomach that the movie’s social commentary is not entirely in line with the usual image of Lego and the fact that it somewhat glorifies a communist line of thinking then you have really nothing to worry about, or would not have thought about those things in the first place. In no way am I implying that this movie will turn your kids into the next red ruler of communist Russia and if you actually thought that you are probably American. The Lego Movie is enjoyable for all ages, just like Lego (what a coincidence…) and well worth to check out, comrade.
Image sources in order of appearance:
- http://www.filmdivider.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/emmet-lego-movie.jpg (Last date of access: 24.07.2015)
- http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/lego/images/2/2b/The_lego_movie_wallpaper_emmet.png/revision/latest?cb=20131226112114 (Last date of access: 24.07.2015)
- http://cdn.wegotthiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/lego-will-arnett-batman-600.jpg (Last date of access: 24.07.2015)