Movie Review: THE LEGO MOVIE (2014) – The Building Blocks Of A Good Spoof
It’s a weird time for movies and cinema, when the strangest subject matter is turned into feature length films. People doing strange things in public, pranking others, documentaries, found footage camera, adaptations of board games, and so on. So it’s not surprising to see a movie based on a popular children’s toy. What is surprising is how good of a story, and entertaining that movie turned out to be. Here is my Movie Review of THE LEGO MOVIE…
Blank Page Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Expecting nothing more than a gimmicky movie, with simple and unrelated jokes thrown in with complete nonsense and shenanigans, I was very surprised and taken off guard by the cohesive and symbolically thematic elements of such a supposedly superficial film. THE LEGO MOVIE is just that, a movie involving a world made entirely by the Lego bricks we all played with as children. Over the last few years, direct to DVD short films using this animation technique of the characters and worlds and objects being only built from Lego bricks, really took off. THE LEGO MOVIE takes this a step further in a full-length action adventure story that is just as exciting as any live action movie.
The set up is simple: An evil villain has stolen some sort of ancient artifact and plans on doing something horrible with it. A wise wizard predicts the rise of a ‘chosen one’ who will foil the evil one’s plans and be the hero to restore balance in the world by finding a mystical ‘piece’ to counteract the artifact. Cut to sometime in the future, and the evil one has become the leader of the free world, dominating everyone with an authoritarian, almost 1984 -like world of conformity and obedience, who elbowing fed propaganda that it’s all for their own good and happiness. One of the people in this world is Emmett, an oblivious construction worker who leads a pathetic life, but one day stumbles upon the aforementioned ‘piece’, and becomes part of an underground movement that takes him to different worlds, and an adventure with repercussions that may mean the end of the universe.
THE LEGO MOVIE has a great story, with amazing characters, great humor and a story arc that leads to the completely unexpected, making it so much more than a gimmicky movie. For the prevention of spoilers, I’ll say very little, but the story gets very meta at one point goes beyond the Lego Universe, creating a very well rounded experience and exceeding expectations. It’s not just a story set in a Lego world, but the plot points all involve actual Lego elements. The control of the evil villain is counteracting the freedom that people have to use their imaginations to build anything they want using the Lego bricks. The characters who can do this freely are known as Master Builders and are regarded almost as Kung Fu masters from the badly dubbed Asian movies we all know and love. Even the approach used to motivate Emmett into opening his mind and building from instinct, is reminiscent of the classic Martial Arts movies where they protégé has to clear his mind…. wax on, wax off!
The biggest achievement of THE LEGO MOVIE has to be that, the fact that it is an amalgamation of a variety of classic and modern day genres, paying homage to, while parodying many other stories and films into an original piece of work. The ‘chosen one’ concept, along with his ability to build, comes straight from THE MATRIX TRILOGY, as does the introduction of a life outside his conformist world. While there are also elements of THE NEVERENDING STORY, LORD OF THE RINGS-like Fantasy stories, vintage action adventure fluff, and even smatterings of the Superhero genre in there too. Given that the Lego Franchise is able to encompass many other film franchises, there’s are many exciting and crowd-pleasing favorite cameos as well.
My one complaint against this movie would be the fact that it doesn’t take into account a much younger audience, who may not be hip to all the references and inside jokes. Many of the references to other films, dynamics between characters of other genres, even the cameos made by characters from other franchises, might be lost to a younger audience who have no idea where those characters are from, or why they’re in this movie. For example: a Lego version of Batman plays a major character through out the story, and there are many jokes referencing his ‘dark side’ and basically mocking the fact that the character has always been portrayed as a dark and grim loner. However, these references are lost to kids who think Batman is awesome and don’t get the criticism or contrast of that character against other superheroes. There are many other instances of this through out the film, which I feel is a huge misstep, given that the world of Lego still appeals mostly to kids, and a large part of the audience for this movie is that age group.
Despite that, THE LEGO MOVIE is an incredibly original story with a very satisfying end, and one of the very few movies in recent times to effectively use themes and symbolism and weave them into a story that works on two fronts, treading the line between the ridiculous and the metaphorical.
Gotta Get It!