The Lego Movie (Rated PG, 100 minutes)
One can only assume that this film was as fun to make, as it is to watch; the vibrant Lego World jumps from the adolescent imagination onto the big screen. To all skeptics who are sick of dim-witted ‘brand movies,’ this is one done right. To be fair, The Lego Movie always had more going for it; Legos always thrived off of an individual’s infinite creativity. On the other hand, a brand film like Battleship sunk because it is a static idea. But The Lego Movie also thrives on the creative team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. This is the duo’s third film and each film has been critically and financially successful: mostly for their self-referential humor.
While watching The Lego Movie, there is a necessity to buy into this fast-pace world; while it is only a 100-minute movie, it has a faster pace than most films with shorter runtimes. Yes, it has a clear-cut narrative, but it feels like a child with attention deficit disorder made this. This can be seen with the jokes throughout the movie, which can be so rapid that several will be missed. While this sounds like a negative comment, this ‘quick-fire’ mechanic does not hinder the film because majority of the jokes are hysterical. For instance, if one joke misses, then a funnier joke quickly follows.
With that said, The Lego Movie succeeds on the ability to have humor for both adults and children. This is why the ‘quick-fire’ technique works; certain jokes ‘pass over the children’s heads,’ but it did not matter because the next joke caters to their humor. On top of this, it is quite shocking how much depth this movie has. Between the satirization of everything from pop music to material goods, The Lego Movie has some harsh criticisms that are hidden by the charm and look of Lego-land.
Also, hundreds of movie references are scattered throughout the picture; I paid close attention and could not spot them all. Again, some of these references children would never get, but that does matter when the film has cameos from Superman, Green Lantern, the Ninja Turtles, and many more. As previously stated, this film succeeds by its accessibility.
On top of this, the voice acting is superb; every character has a distinct personality that is brought to life by the voices and animation. Chris Pratt voices Emmet with the boyish charm that makes Andy on Parks and Recreation so lovable. On top of that, the cast is rounded out with Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, and many other celebrity cameos. And the animation, while simple, is amazing to look at; yes, this film is mostly done with computers, but the cheap charm of Legos is not lost. However, it is this cheap look of Legos that took me out of several scenes, for instance, the Lego ocean looks like bad stop motion animation. But I see what the filmmakers were going for and this is a small gripe for an overall beautiful film.
Speaking of the filmmakers, both Phil Lord and Christopher Miller did a wonderful job with the fast pace and structure of the film. They told a wonderful story with intelligence and charm; however, the action scenes are unimaginative. The audience gets treated with slow motion scenes that impressed the children, but left me wanting more. Yes, the action scenes are downright beautiful to look at, but perhaps the frantic energy of the whole film hurt the action scenes: which seem tame in comparison. But again, these are only minor gripes in an overall entertaining film.
This is the first great film of 2014 and luckily the general public knew this as well; with the amount of money the film made, there has to be a sequel on the horizon. Both the expansive world and twist allow for diverse stories to be told in the potential sequels. As a previously skeptical person, I am surprised to say that I cannot wait to see where they go with this universe.