Thoughts on The Lego Movie

First things first:

That pretty much sums up my feelings about The Lego Movie.  It basically did everything I hoped a Lego movie would do, and it did it well.

The basic premise of the movie is that the evil Lord Business has found an ultimate weapon and plans to freeze the entire universe to ensure that it stays well-ordered like he designed it.  Emmet is the “Special”, the chosen one who can save the universe.  That universe is an amalgamation of all the different Lego sets and properties, and thus full of references to older Lego lines, sly in-joke character cameos, and a whole lot of craziness.  Anyway, Emmet turns out to be a less-than-suitable savioiur, and wackiness ensues.

The animation for this movie is rather beautiful—it almost seems like stop-motion at times.  For the most part, everything on screen is made of Lego, from the clouds to smoke puff to the waves in the ocean.  It gives it a really interesting look.  Several of the other visual effects also have a sort of home-built look as well, though I don’t want to ruin those gags for you if you haven’t seen it yet.  But overall, it managed to differentiate itself in an increasing crowded market of computer-animated movies, while at the same time staying absolutely true to the notion of being a Lego movie.

The voice cast was also perfectly done, including big names like Morgan Freeman and Will Ferrell and slightly-less-big-but-no-less-awesome actors such as Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, and Chris Pratt.  (There were a host of famous guest star cameos, as well—again, don’t want to ruin any surprises.)  Everyone stepped up to deliver a hilarious performance.

In many ways, The Lego Movie is a culmination of years of work bringing Lego to life in video games and on TV.  I think the irreverent, not-too-serious feel of this movie had its beginnings in video games like Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones.  The directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller rightly recognized that the Lego universe would have to be wacky and infused with humour, and they mined the toy’s rich history to extract every bit they could find.

I only really have one minor criticism.  Late in the movie, there is a… twist… that is a bit inconsistent with the feel of the movie up to that point.  Thankfully, it doesn’t undermine what came before as can sometimes happen in movies, and it is not completely devoid of the humour that pervades the rest of the film, but I found it a little jarring.  Oddly enough, I feel that the twist may make the movie more appealing to viewers who are not inherently fans of the toys, the ridiculous humour, or the fantastical plot.

Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.  It was awesome.  I just need to get more Lego now….

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