The Scoop: 2014 PG, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett
Tagline: The story of a nobody who saved everybody
Summary Capsule: It’s conformity versus individual creativity in this tale of a LEGO world torn asunder. Also, there’s Batman.
Justin’s Rating: “Oh my goodness. This movie is GREAT!” ~ My 4-year-old son in the theater toward the end of The LEGO Movie.
Justin’s Review: As a teen who spent more time in his room after school than with (non-existent) friends, I had three pasttimes that kept me going: reading, computer games, and my enormous LEGO collection. Epic sagas known only to me took place in my bedroom over the years, as planets (desks, dressers) waged war against each other, nail-biting treasure hunts took place in ancient ruins, and my favorite sci-fi franchises (Star Wars, Star Trek, Battletech) were recreated with those bumpy little blocks that we all love.
The LEGO culture of today is perhaps more pop culture-oriented but it still pretty awesome, and I’ve been known to buy a Star Wars set from time to time as well as stock up on blocks for my kids. The enduring legacy of these toys across several generations now formed the framework for a blockbuster smash hit, and crazily enough, this movie wasn’t just phoned in and done with minimum of effort.
The LEGO Movie manages to be smart, hilarious, cross-generational, meta, and geeky as all get out during its short run — and that’s not even mentioning that earworm of a song, “Everything Is Awesome!!” You can see that the creators really knew what made LEGOs so appealing to people and attempted to create a movie that mimicked how we played with them. I laughed when I saw a character with LEGO stilts on the bottom of his feet, because who didn’t do that to make their minis absurdly tall?
At the onset of the film, ordinary construction worker Emmet accidentally gets something stuck to his back and is heralded as “The Special” by a force of freedom fighters struggling against the oppressive regime of Lord/President Business. It’s a series of wacky adventures across the many LEGO worlds as he evades the bad guys, meets a motley collection of heroes, and learns how to strike a blow for creativity everywhere.
When you’re not goggling at the interesting look of the film (the CGI pretends to be moving/building everything in pseudo-stop motion with LEGO bricks) you’ll be laughing your head off. It’s a funny movie, plain and simple, because it’s set in a universe where nothing is too absurd. Because — again — who didn’t mix-and-match LEGO sets so that Gandalf and the Green Lantern were hanging out in Sherwood Forest?
While there are plenty of awesome characters (80’s Spaceship Guy is a personal favorite, as I had all of his sets, and Unikitty gave Allison Brie a perfect role), everyone ended up talking about Batman, and for good reason. Will Arnett’s take on the caped crusader is screamingly funny — he’s kind of a Dark Knight unhinged, full of himself and brash to the point of being a semi-villain. By the time that Batman steals the hyperdrive from the Millenium Falcon (because why not), I was bowing to this film as clearly superior to anything I would do in my life.
I also really want to get a special shout-out without spoilers to the big twist toward the end of the film that managed to tie this wacky plot together while adding a dose of sentimentality on top of it. It was clever without being cloying.
My kids love this movie. I love this movie, but for slightly different reasons. Everything in it is awesome, indeed, when you’re part of a team (of… audience… watchers, I guess).
- The word “Lego” is never spoken in the movie.
- Vitruvius’ staff is actually a chewed up lollipop, and in most cases, the stick of a lollipop will fit a minifigure’s hand.
- The very first animated film for Morgan Freeman.
- Everything in the movie was designed to look as if built out of LEGO pieces. This even includes effects like water, fire, laser bolts, explosions and smoke.
- The animation is entirely CGI.
- Upon first entering in Cloud Cuckoo Land, Batman is visibly annoyed by the place as two characters, a clown and a man in a lizard/dinosaur suit, are greeting him. These two figures are reminiscent of two of Batman’s most formidable foes: The Joker and Killer Croc.
- In order to add more realism to the movie, the Lego bricks have scratches, fading, and even fingerprints to make the movie look like someone was manipulating the bricks in a stop-motion fashion. The Bricks are also affected by their locations, with the bricks in The Old West realm being more dusty and faded from the sunlight.
- Anthony Daniels reprises his voice role as C-3PO. The Lando Calrissian Lego character was voiced by Billy Dee Williams.
- When in the Octan tower, Wyldstyle goes off and tells them to wait for her signal. When she gives it, it’s the “Super Secret” signal from Team America: World Police.
Batman: [to Lucy] If this relationship is going to work out between us I need to feel free to party with a bunch of strangers whenever I feel like it. I will text you.
Batman: I only work in black and sometimes very, very dark grey.
Green Lantern: Oh, my gosh, my hands are stuck. My legs are stuck as well.
Superman: I super hate you.
Robot: [At the Octan loading bay] Who are you here to see?
Batman: I’m here to see… your butt!
Lucy: [to Emmet] Come with me if you want to not die.
Unikitty: Here in Cloud Cuckoo Land, there are no rules: There’s no government, no baby sitters, no bedtimes, no frowny faces, no bushy mustaches, and no negativity of any kind.
Lucy: You just said the word “no” like a thousand times.
Unikitty: And there’s also no consistency.
Batman: [the clown and the lizard man are dancing around him] I hate this place.
Shaq: Y’all ready for this? Oh no! They were ready for that.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- The bajillion LEGO movies out there