Movie Review: The Lego Movie

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A Lego construction worker stumbles upon a magical relic and is believed to be the prophecised “special” of legend.

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Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, 2014

There’s nothing special about Emmett (Chris Pratt). He’s a generic construction worker, one of hundreds who go follow instructions to go to work every day, destroy old building and build new ones, then go home to their box apartments to start all over again. One day on the site he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), pink and blue streaks in her lego hair, searching for something. He finds the relic, a block of red plastic which sticks to his back, and is thrust into the world of the Master Builders, where nothing is as he thought it was. He meets Magical Negro old blind wise man Vetruvius (Morgan Freeman), who tells him of the prophecy that declares a “Special” will find the relic (the “Piece of Resistance”, very punny) and save the universe. He starts to, erm, “train” Emmett to be the special in his own, er, special way, and they’re joined by a team of Master Builders including Batman (Will Arnett), Unikitty (Alison Brie), and Benny the 1980-Something Space Guy (Charlie Day) to try to stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and save the world as they know it.

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It’s hard to explain why I was so fond of the message of this movie without spoiling you guys for something I was unspoiled for, and which increased my enjoyment of the movie dramatically. My friend called it a very Scandinavian message about creativity within limits (ETA: correction, he said “freedom within limits”, I am a fool with a poor memory), but I’m more interested in the idea of adults co-opting kids’ spaces. Increasingly, as geek culture is becoming more popular and embraced by more people, you start to see adults feeling entitled to properties made for children. I’m not exempt from this in my own Harry Potter obsession. This film is about embracing the unbridled creativity of children and guiding it, shaping it into something bigger, rather than limiting it. In a stroke of genius, the film is written as if by a very smart, creative child, with the sound effects for some creatures and moments actually voiced by people. This affords the film the ability to parody certain tropes in a very affectionate, amusing way, as if through a child’s eyes. Good luck ever getting the song “Everything is Awesome” out of your head – every time I think about the movie it pops into my mind, unbidden.

This film marks the first ever big screen appearance of Wonder Woman, who is then immediately taken out of the action for a large portion of the film. It’s disappointing that she can’t have a role more like Batman’s, which is a funny Batman parody portraying him as a selfish emo jerk without removing all his badassness entirely. Wyldstyle is a rounded character, but still never elevated above being the love interest (there was a moment at which she admitted she wished she were the Special, and I thought, of course she can’t be because she isn’t Generic White Guy #1). By far the best performance in the movie comes from Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop, who is rib-crackingly hilarious playing on his new tough guy image. The movie is visually inventive, much more so than I thought it would be having seen parts of other (very bad) Lego movies in the past. There’s something wonderfully creative about how they make LITERALLY EVERYTHING in these movies out of lego, but it can get frustrating at times as well. This is an inventive, clever movie for kids and adults alike, but mostly for kids, because isn’t that what it should be?

The Lego Movie on IMDb

 

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