Saturday, February 08, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Lego Movie (2014)

We had a relaxed schedule today, so after seeing THE MONUMENTS MEN (2014) we spontaneously decided to buy tickets to see THE LEGO MOVIE (2014).

It's fairly rare that I see a non-Disney animated film -- exceptions include ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (2011) and RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (2012) -- but I was intrigued by the film's strong reviews. The Los Angeles Times, for example, called it "deliriously colorful... a massive collision of subversive humor, hyper-kinetic energy, mind-jangling design, spinning colors and about 15 million Legos..." And Slate called it "a clever, vivid, funny, oddly profound movie -- about plastic insane sensory experience."

THE LEGO MOVIE was the second film this week, along with JOHNNY GUITAR (1954), which left me exclaiming "What the heck was that?!" at the end. And yet, like JOHNNY GUITAR, the film had amazing visual style and memorable sequences, and I was glad we'd decided to give it a try.

In a number of ways I found the film more creative -- and more wholesome -- than Disney's own WRECK-IT RALPH (2012), which was disappointingly crass in spots. THE LEGO MOVIE is quite amusing at times, but sticks to smart, well-thought-out humor which is clever enough to appeal to adults.

THE LEGO MOVIE tells the story of Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), a happy little construction worker who's the essence of conformity, always living by the directions on Lego boxes. He doesn't really have any close friends in his town of Bricksburg, but despite his humdrum existence he embraces the pop anthem of the day, "Everything is Awesome!" (This jingle is surprisingly hard to get out of one's head hours later.)

Emmet is happy to live by the strict societal rules enforced by President Business (Will Ferrell). There are distinct Orwellian overtones in Bricksburg, where cameras follow the workers' every move, directions come from TV screens, and, yes, "Everything is Awesome!" at all times.

It turns out there's a resistance movement led by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). Emmet is mistaken for the "Special," who will save Bricksburg, and his life is turned upside down and inside out, especially when he's attracted to a biker girl (Elizabeth Banks).

The movie takes an unexpected turn in the final quarter which stands the movie on its head and adds new layers of meaning, taking the movie to a "Wow, this is really interesting" level. Those who created the film did a very good job.

Among my favorite things in the film were Liam Neeson voicing a "good cop/bad cop" who changes personality with the spin of his head, and Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels voicing the Lando Calrissian and C-3P0 Legos. I loved the way the film includes the Lego versions of superheroes, such as Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), and the Green Lantern (Jonah Hill). I also got an especial kick out of sweet Unikitty (Alison Brie, better known as Trudy Campbell on MAD MEN), who has a darker side.

Though it incorporates plastic versions of some favorite movie characters and has echoes of numerous films of the past, including STAR WARS (1977) and TOY STORY (1995), THE LEGO MOVIE is fresh and original at a time when so many movies are simply recycling ideas which have been filmed time and again.

This 100-minute film was directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG. I don't even remember anything that should cause it to be more than a G rating; it's said to be for "mild action and rude humor."

There's a trailer at IMDb.

Update: This film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Update: Here's a review of the sequel, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART. I've also reviewed THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017) and THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (2017).


Blogger Irene said...

I've had several friends on Facebook who have also given this movie a good review. Frankly I had no desire to see a movie based on Legos thinking it sounded stupid but I just may have to change my mind on this!

11:21 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Let me know what you think if you see it, Irene! When I first heard about it I assumed it was a movie for preschoolers or something (grin)...I definitely was not expecting something at this creative level.

Best wishes,

11:52 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

I went to see this yesterday afternoon and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and the thoughts I've had about it since.

For the first part of the movie I was a little like "well, I certainly hope this gets better like everyone says" and then of course it did. By the middle third I was really into it. I feel if I knew a bit more about Legos and all they have to offer I probably would have enjoyed it even more!

Then came the final third of the movie - wow! At two points during the end of the middle third of the picture I kind of caught on to what might be coming. That final part was really well done.

I felt it was a really smart movie with so many quips and inside jokes that made it enjoyable. I think I need to see the DVD when it comes out just so I can stop it and look at certain scenes and Lego characters.

After the movie I wanted to buy Legos and build something!!! :)

8:12 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Irene! I'm so glad you got to check it out and really appreciated your detailed feedback. So glad it struck you the same way. I will admit to having bought "Everything is Awesome!" from iTunes yesterday, LOL.

A friend with a son who's a Lego maniac really enjoyed some of the details I didn't notice, like part numbers on the individual pieces. :)

Thanks for stopping back by to let me know!

Best wishes,

9:59 AM  

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