Disclaimer: I’m no professional film critic so don’t expect fancy lingo and in depth discussions about thematic elements, cinematography and whatever it is they talk about. Do expect a review like what you would hear from an average 18-year-old moviegoer who watches a more-than-healthy number of films each month.
This ‘review’ is spoiler-free.
Before we begin I would just like to digress a little about Lego in general. Somehow this conjures up memories of me, as a kid, convulsing in horror and pain as a result of stepping on a Lego brick by accident. This is an experience I believe people born before the new millennium can relate to – oh come on you must have done it at least once!
I may be wrong about this – but I think it is truly saddening to see that Lego isn’t as well loved by children nowadays compared to the past. Back in my day (I sound so old) it was an essential in every child’s toy chest (again I may be wrong about this). Now it is all about gadgets and gizmos, each one of them competing for the children’s attention. This is probably how ADHD happens (I am so wrong about this).
Now for the main event.
If you have not heard of it…
Have you been living under a rock or something? (A Lego brick perhaps?)
The Lego Movie is aptly titled; it is as straightforward as can be: a movie about Lego. Everything in the film is constructed out of Lego bricks (using CGI of course), from the people to flame pieces and water droplets.
I don’t want to give away too much, but the film is about an ordinary guy Emmet realizing his potential as the Special, prophesied as the one who will one day save the world. The world in need of saving is one that is led by Lord Business who is basically evil in disguise, and who owns an enterprise responsible for covertly brainwashing its citizens into obeying Instruction Manuals so that status quo is preserved. The citizens love the same chain restaurants, the same sitcom (the not-so-funny ‘Where Are My Pants’) and the same song (‘Everything Is Awesome’, which will loop endlessly in your head after the movie).
In order to stop Lord Business from destroying the world using the Kragle, Emmet must lead and unite a diverse bunch of Master Builders (basically super heroes, inclusive but not limited to Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and some other made up characters). Will he survive the challenge thrown at him, or will he not?
Off the top of my head
It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s very colourful. It’s so crazy.
But it works.
The surprisingly thoughtful Lego Movie is essentially about the struggle against conformity. It emphasises the importance of believing in yourself, and with that anything is possible. Serious stuff aside, the movie is packed with hilarious one-liners, wordplays and gags enough to make a whole theatre shriek with laughter. Bring on the pop culture references and you have the complete package.
There is a quite a number of big name celebrities involved in the film. I never would have guessed Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Dave Franco each had lines. Others include Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman. (I know this all thanks to Wikipedia.) Having all these celebrities play a part is most definitely a plus, but the film could have stood on its own and done just as well even without them, just because it is truly ingenious.
The film can be said to a deconstructed modern blockbuster. Then again, it is interesting to note that it probably would not be as critically acclaimed if it wasn’t based on Lego, and if it was just another live action film. The film thrives not just on its cast and its comedic value, but on nostalgic value as well. I would go as far as to say it was made with the 80s, 90s kids in mind; those who grew up with Lego are the main target audience. Those witty pop culture references can only make sense to adults. And it damn well brought back memories from childhood.
The big plot twist
(no spoilers here, don’t worry)
There is a pretty big plot twist that no one will see coming near the end, one that does wonders for the film by giving it more depth and poignancy. I will reluctantly admit that I gasped, quite loudly. It makes you appreciate the intricacy of the film and the brilliance of its creators. More importantly, it makes you think, which is what a good film should do.
Definitely not adult-proof
(for those who are bad at interpreting double-negatives, this means that it is adult-friendly!)
The Lego Movie is no regular kids’ movie that can be dismissed with just a wave of the hand. It is a cleverly constructed film disguised as a kids’ movie, and when you zoom out and look at the big picture, you will find that it is nothing but. (Some serious foreshadowing there.)
Every good story has a great message, and for this one it is all about creativity and the things you can accomplish just by dreaming up an original idea. Anything is possible for anyone. And just like Lego bricks, if you fail you can always take it apart and start again.
At the end of it you will probably realize that you have just watched a 100-minute long Lego commercial. And you will not feel bad about it at all, because it is a damn good commercial. This is how commercials should be like. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lego sales skyrocket in the near future.
To whomever: big props for coming up with the idea, and for bringing childhood back to the children.
There will be a sequel
This could really go just two ways: it can either make it or break it. Sophomore slumps are common, but we’re hoping for the best.
“See you later, alligator.”
“After a while, crocodile.”
Grade: 9 LEGO® bricks out of 10
Rewatchability: Definitely yes
(note: quotes are slurred)
- Batman on doing things off the cuff: “We’re going to wing it. That’s a bat pun.”
- “Taco Tuesdays are now Freedom Fridays! Except it’s still on a Tuesday!”
- Look out for cameos by Abraham Lincoln, Dumbledore and Gandalf.
- Other guest stars who should earn honourable mentions: Kragle and the Piece of Resistance. Pole-ish Remover of the Ny-il.
- It is comforting to see that in another realm, Michelangelo the artist and Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle got to know each other.
- Wise old wizard on being a hipster: “I liked Emmet before he was cool!”
- ‘Everything Is Awesome’ is still stuck in my head. Get it? Stuck? As in Lego pieces stuck together? Sigh, never mind. I was winging it anyways.
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