Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Lego Movie - 2014

"The Lego Movie" - 2014
Dir. by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller - 1 hr. 40 min.

Official Main Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

First off, I'm still mad that my girlfriend went to see this without me, and that I had to wait until it was on TV to finally see it.  Unaccompanied men over thirty years old can't really go see "children's movies" in a theatre without an escort, lest you get peppered with stares and dirty looks that make baseless criminal accusations.  I LIKE CARTOONS, OKAY?  You worry about your children, and I'll worry about the quality of the animation, and hopefully our two worlds will never meet.  Secondly, the idea of a full movie made out of Legos is something that appeals to me very much, ever since Lego put out a kit that included software and a stop-motion camera so that you could make your own home Lego movies with a minimum of fuss.  Granted, this movie is far more visually sophisticated than anything anyone could have made with their set, but it's just very polished version of the things floating around my head.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a generic, forgettable construction worker, who strives to be likable and to be part of a team (there's a whole song about this).  When he goes missing because he's found the Piece of Resistance, and ushered into an underground society of master builders by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Emmet discovers that he's forgettable (via testimony from his co-workers), not a master builder, and generally not good at much.  But he still has to lead the fight against President Business (Will Ferrell), who wants to use the kragle to freeze everyone in place forever.

First, off, the Lego stuff is completely awesome.  For anyone who ever blew afternoon after afternoon building spaceships and cars and weird-ass buildings waiting for their parents to get home from work, delving into a completely Lego world is going to stir up some pleasant memories.  Secondly, the animation is pleasantly blocky and clunky; the whole point of Legos is to build something and let your imagination fill in the rest.  So we get weird lazer blasts that look like chunks of pipe cleaners, and weird dances, and when things blow up, they break down into Lego blocks.  It's all perfect.

Beyond all of that, "The Lego Movie" is peppy, fun, well-paced, and fun for everyone.  One of my all-time favorite video games is "Micro Machines," which takes the basic car-race game and makes it awesome by changing the scale of the course.  "The Lego Movie" has a similar appeal; it's very easy to get lost into the world of these toys, and the barely-detailed faces of the characters make the voice-work resonate more.  And there are tons of characters!  Everyone from Shaquille O'Neal (who was part of a NBA All-Stars Lego set at some point) to Han Solo to the whole pantheon of DC superheroes (which officially makes "The Lego Movie" the greatest Green Lantern movie of all-time), which leads me to Batman (voiced by Will Arnett).  I would watch a nearly endless stream of films that featured this version of Batman; he's like an overgrown emo tween.  And this is also the only funny version of Batman since Adam West that actually works!

So yeah, I totally enjoyed "The Lego Movie."  Maybe not as much as if I'd gotten to see it in a theatre, with a crowd, so that I could have joined in in all the "Everything Is Awesome" jokes for the last few months, but I still enjoyed it.  I generally don't enjoy it when animated films bounce back and forth between animated scenes and live-action ones, and I did think that was a bit of a detriment to "The Lego Movie."  Blah blah father/son bonding blah blah blah.  Whatevs.  I wanted another fifteen minutes in the Lego world, Will Ferrell can puppy dog eye his son some other time.  That's what deleted scenes (or even an inevitable extended version of the film) are for.  But the rest of the movie was pretty awesome.

3.5 / 5 - TV (HD)

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