Hello, Spongey here.
Well, 2014, like every year has started out kind of slow in terms of film. Everything in January is infamously bad (The Legend of Hercules, Ride Along, The Nut Job), as per usual. The AV Club recently did an article revealing that February always has the worst movies.
Proof? Movie 43.
But for me, it’s always the month with that ONE movie that convinces you that the year might get better. And for 2014, it’s this movie. Well, that and Non-Stop which looks badass, but let’s talk about THIS Liam Neeson movie.
If you read my anticipated Films of 2014 post, you’ll remember that this was one of my most anticipated animated films of the year. I thought it looked pretty funny, even if the story seemed generic.
When it comes to Lego, I’ve played with it (like every kid ever) but I’m not a huge Lego person or anything. There have been plenty of Lego special it’s one of the biggest things ever. But now they made an entire movie about Lego.
This looks like the biggest cash grab since Foodfight, but in reality, it’s more like Toy Story. I was a tad unsure, but I still interested. Then the reviews came in and they were….positive! But how positive? I mean, what does it have on Rotten To-
…DAY-UM! 95?! That’s higher than Frozen, Wreck it Ralph, and ParaNorman! Seriously, people LOVE this movie. Not only did Ani-Mat, just today, give it an 8, but “Angry’ Jake loved it!
And if you know him, you’ll know making him like a kids movie is no easy feat. So, is this weirdly creative film worth the hype? Do all these odd pieces fit perfectly together, or is it such a mess that not even kragle can fix it?
…You’ll get the joke if you’ve seen the movie.
This, is The Lego Movie
In a world made entirely of Lego, Emmet is a very very ordinary but endlessly happy construction worker. No one thinks anything of him, but one day he bumps into a woman named Wildstyle and he finds something called the “piece of Resistance”. He finds out he is “The Special”, aka the Choosen One, that is supposed to bring peace to the world and stop the evil “President Business” from using a weapon to do bad shit to the world. Hilarity ensues.
Now, on the surface, this seems like the typical “chosen one” story we’ve seen exactly 34444343 times. I was worried this iflm would do it straight and the humor would make up for it. Well, I was wrong.
Not only do they make up for it with the humor….but the story itself works really well. That’s right, they did a fresh and funny take on this old story. Half the time, they play it straight but with some amusing tweaks, but in the 2nd half, they reveal a lot of things that make it REALLY different and interesting.
I REALLY don’t want to spoil the twist, as it is simply amazing, but I will say it adds to how clever this story is. But I’ll try to say as much as I can without saying that twist. They cleverly address how weak this story is and how little sense it makes in the end.
As you would expect, Wildstyle is pissed that a loser got picked to be the chosen one instead of her. Through this cliché, they bring up that this whole “Chosen one” thing does more harm than good.
And through that, they offer a great message that has been done before, but it feels so fresh due to how they tell it. Again, it’s through that amazing twist that I won’t spoil…here. I decided to do a special SPOILER section on this review that will go after the end, right below the final grade and that./
Anyway, the basic story ends up being very told due to the IMMENSE creativity they put in. After all, most kids came up with generic stories involving their favorite characters, using Lego and all that.
Not only do they channel that, but they use it to a spin on the story. This is story that works so well that it only got better once I started thinking about the movie when I left my screening. By the way, as a side note, my theater was PACKED. I predict this movie will do very well.
Anyway, I said the humor made the story work, and by god, it did. I didn’t laugh at loud at everyone joke, but most of them hit their mark. I don’t want to spoil every great joke, but just watch the trailer for some amusing gags. One of my faves is when Morgan Freeman’s character says the prophecy
“It’s true because it rhymes!”
That was one of the first jokes in the movie. Yeah.
The humor comes form all over. Self aware jokes, slapstick, one liners, all that good stuff. It’s rapid fire, so there are jokes in the background too. The attention to detail to some of these gags is great. It’s not quite as funny as, say, Shrek 2 (which I am with Doug Walker on, for the most part) but it’s one of the funnier animated films in recent memory.
Are there any flaws with the story? Well, at times it can still FEEL slightly generic and some of the jokes aren’t that well thought out. Also, the rapid fire pace may make the film unfocused for some. And as good as the twist is, it does bring some logic questions.
But that’s all nitpicking. The only reason the Story won’t get an A at the end, is that it doesn’t bring that many new and daring ideas like Paranorman or WALL-E. But this film really did a good job at taking an old story and making it work with clever ideas, funny jokes, and a great ending.
The reason I went with this Ani-Mat ripoff, I mean homage style review, even though his review went up right as I came home from the film, is that I had different thoughts when it came to the story and characters.
But when it comes to the animation, I don’t have much to add from what he said. The animation is just really great. What they did is make a CG movie that is in the style of those stop motion Lego movies you see online.
It looks great. All the Lego characters look realistic, but still fit in the CG world. Just the way they move can generate a laugh because of how stiff they are. But the real show stealer is the world itself.
See, in this movie, everything is Lego. EVERY. FREAKING THING. Not just the people but the buildings and even the effects! For example, when bad guys are shooting at them, the lasers are Lego! And when something blows up, the explosion is Lego!
It’s really a sight to behold. They mix stop motion-ish things and CG so well, and it’s great. The studio that animated this is Animal Logic, who previously did films like Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians. Ani-Mat said they are the most underrated animation studio and I agree.
By the way, this technically goes in the story section, but I love how they fit in all these unqiue worlds, from Cloud Cuckooland to “Middle Zealand”, It’s great and it shows how much these writers love their Lego.
So I don’t have much to add now. The animation is creative, fun and has great attention to detail. Good job, guys.
Usually, when there are a huge batch of characters, and only two develop at all, it’s bad. But in this case, it worked out pretty well. Why? Well, the ones that do grow are great, and the rest are still AWESOME.
First up is our hero, Emmet, voiced by Christ Pratt. Right off the bat, he’s likable because he is so happy about everything, even overpriced coffee. His happiness is infectious even when you realize he’s pretty much a sheep and all that. Now, plenty of movies have leads without much personality to them.
In this movie, they deconstruct that. Emmet is a nobody. He is painfully normal and he doesn’t stand out. So much so that all of his workers view him as “that guy”. As you can imagine, this leads to a lot of development as he tries to find his place and all that.
I think in the end, he becomes a somebody with his own thing. See, they address that he has never had an original though, except for an idea that was dumb even Morgan Freeman thinks it sucks. His thing is creative ideas that are so dumb that they actually work very well.
And what is this movie? An odd idea that works well. Yeah, see why I like this guy? At first, he’s just an likable guy by the end he gets some great development and I rooting for him all the through.
Then we got Wyldstyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks. She’s the tough chick who doesn’t like Emmet because he is the “Special” instead of her. She seems like the generic action girl love interest, and for awhile, she is, but she still ends up being BADASS. She is a master builder, that can make anything out of their world.
Which means she gets some great moments. We do get a bit of development from her, though not as much as with Emmet. She was a small side story with her boyfriend…who I will to get to in a bit. Thankfully, it’s played for laughs and it ends pretty well.
She isn’t the most complex girl ever, but she helps with the themes later on, and her relationship with Emmet is well handled. Plus, ….still a badass.
Next up is our villain, President/Lord Business, voiced by Will Ferrel. He is the evil business dude who all for conformity and wants to do evil shit. He seems generic, but his genericness is part of the charm. Thanks to Will Ferrel, this one hilarious villain with one funny line after line. Not to mention he invokes those good themes, as he finds these “creative” worlds just weird and prefers perfection.
So yeah, he’s a decent villain because he is cool and hilarious.
Now for the less complex characters I mentioned. We have BATMAN, voiced by Will Arnett. Yeah, this movie is owned by Warner Bros, and they decided to throw in a ton of of their characters and Batman is one of them.
He’s mostly there to be a joke-y version of Batman, and man, it works. He is so funny with how dark he is.
“I only work in black. And sometimes very very dark gray”
And yes, they do pull a few Dark Knight jokes.
“You are the hero we deserve”
Hell, he even ends up with Liam Neeson again! Anyway, he is the boyfriend I mentioned. Yes, really. She loves him cuz he’s “angsty”, which makes him a true artist. He even made a hilarious song that plays in the credits.
His thing with Wyldstyle is well done as it doesn’t get sappy, and at the end they actually….break up with no issues! They don’t fight, they are still friends and he lets her getwith Emmet (this isn’t a spoiler if you have common sense).
Yes, a silly lego movie gets this right when many many MANY serious moves can’t. This is a small thing to praise, but still!
Anyway, next we have Good/Bad cop, voiced by Liam Neeson. He’s a bad cop who can change into a more positive personality. He is …my favorite character. Everything he does is funny with how he changes at will. On top of that, he gives an emotional moment1
I’m not gonna spoil it, but there’s a scene with Lord Business that was kind of interesting, and it kind of hit me there. It has a decent resolution and he still ends up being funny all the way through. I have to give credit to Liam, as he is so funny when he is being tough, but he shows great range as the good cop. I didn’t even know it was still him until I looked it up!
Then we got Vitruvius, voiced by the great Morgan Freeman. He’s the old wizard who talks about the prophecy. He fulfills that role but he makes up for it by being really funny. He can understanding, dick-ish AND badass at times. He’s one of the funniest characters.
Morgan Freeman’s voice work adds to this as he sounds even funnier with that distinguished voice. There’s a gag in this little “Behind the Bricks” feature (which has the whole Animated Actors thing) where he says Morgan Freeman can read the phone book and make it sound good.
He then does just that. It is is amazing.
Anyway, he also helps with the themes near the end, but again, no spoilers. Anyway, the rest of the characters are mostly there for a joke. This includes the hilariously cute Uni-Kitty, voiced by Allison Brie. She is mostly just there to be hilariously diabetes inducing but she’s still funny and even gives us some badass (and sad) moments.
Again, the rest are jokes but they still rock. For example, there’s a great running joke with Superman (Channing Tatum) and Green Lantern (Jonah Hill). We also have Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders) and Metal Beard (Nick Offerman). The latter is badass and has an interesting backstory.
I also must give mention to 198something space guy, voiced by Charlie Day. He has a great running joke too.
When it comes to the characters, only two major ones get development but not only are those 2 wonderfully done, but the rest are so hilarious that it makes up for that. Not the most complex characters, but still work in their own way.
I figured The Lego Movie would be a funny flick, but no one expected it to be THIS good! The story takes an old concept and breathes new life into with complex themes and great humor, the animation is creative, and the characters are often very enjoyable.
The whole movie is a celebration of creativity. It tells us to do whatever we want with our imagination and it does it in a way that isn’t too preachy or forced. It’s weaved nicely into the story and it never takes me out of the movie.
I’m not jizzing on this movie like everyone else, but it really gets better the more I think about it. It’s just a FUN experience with some surprisingly interesting themes. Seriously, the twist is just amazing. I recently watched Free Birds, which had a “twist” that made NO SENSE. So it was great to find one that makes perfect sense.
It doesn’t have the artistry of Frozen or anything like that but just the amazing stuff it plays of is great. It really makes you feel like a kid again. Kids will love it and adults will get a real kick out of it.
It just has amazing creativity and I’m glad it’s doing well. I not think Phil Lord and Chris Miller can do anything and make it good. They make funny films out of a picture book, an 80’s show, and now Lego. Not to mention their show Clone High.
By the way, that show had Abe Linocln, and he was voiced by Will Forte. Abe is one of the many cameos in this and who voices him? Will Forte. Just saying…
Anyway. I’m not sure what else to say. This is one fun movie where everything just clicks. Or, as the song says….EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!
Wow, I gave a Lego movie an A-. Never thought that would happen. All I have to say is, Mr Peabody and Sherman has a lot to live up to now that this movie is out. But we’ll see what happens.
Okay, are they gone? I hope so cuz now it’s time for some SPOILERS! Yep, this is the part I mentioned earlier.
Seriously, this is a HUGE SPOILER WARNING! If you haven’t seen the movie, please don’t read on! The review is over, you can go home now!
And to make sure you know this is the spoiler section..
Okay, are you guys who saw the movie still here? I swear, this is a big twist so if really are curious, just go see the movie even if you don’t care. Okay, you ready?
Okay, remember how I said this feels like something a kid would make up? Well, near the end, after a long series of events too complicated to go over, Emmet sacrifices himself and falls down this big portal thing.
A bit later, we find out Emmet is actually alive. He wakes up in…the real world. You see, it turns out this whole story IS something a kid made up! Yes, we find out a kid named Finn made all this crazy stuff from his Dad’s Lego set.
Yes, really. Not only that, but his dad (hilariously played by Will Ferrel) seriously owns this set and is pissed Finn messed up with the perfect placement. I won’t say EVERYTHING that happens after thing, cuz even in the spoiler section, somethings are best left unsaid.
But this ends up being a great twist. We see that Finn does not like how controlling his Dad is when it comes to this stuff, and we get hints that President Business’ whole deal is based on his Dad.
Their relationship is an interesting parallel and again, it reinforces that theme I’ve been talking about. It all ends in a sweet moment with the Dad, as well Emmet. They take the basic “this is like something a kid makes up” and really dives into it.
The whole moral iof “be creative” is anvilcious but through this twist, it’s well handled. I won’t go into everything but trust me, it’s really sweet, well written…and awesome. I think “creative” is the best word to sum up this movie, thanks to stuff like this.
So there’s your spoiler. This really was a great twist that would make M Night. Speaking of, I gotta get to work on that After Earth review.
See ya, for real this time!