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The LEGO Movie set a new standard for film (and I’m worried about the sequel)

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Emmett, Vitruvius and Wyldstyle (

Now, I’ve seen The LEGO Movie before. I’ve mentioned it in past reviews, several times in fact. I figured now would be as good a time as any to review it, considering that The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part was just released and will be the subject of my review next week.

(I wish I could work faster and have my review done, but I can’t.)

And so, in a desperate attempt to keep my regular readers entertained and get more reviews from the random people who read the links I post to reddit, and to keep myself somewhat sane here’s my review of The LEGO Movie.

The LEGO Movie focuses on a LEGO figure named Emmett Brickowski, who is perfectly content living his simple life by the rules. He’s a construction worker who spends his day building, knocking down and rebuilding buildings. He doesn’t have a lot of friends, or any for that matter.

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Emmett working

And one day he touches a mysterious object which upends his entire life. Then, he meets Wyldstyle, a Master Builder; she can make just about anything. She leads him to Vitruvius, who reveals Emmett is the Special; the only one who can stop the evil Lord Business from using the Kragle to end life as they know it. What follows is an adventure that includes emo Batman, the overly cheery UniKitty, the spaceship obsessed Benny, and the pirate Captain Metalbeard, all Master Builders, who unite to stop Lord Business.

The film is filled with meta-humor, satire, pop culture references, jokes that go far above kids heads and some excellent foreshadowing. It turns a lot of well-known tropes on their heads, like the reveal that Emmett was never the Special. There was never a Special at all.

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Batman and Benny

And a lot of films since have tried to imitate its unique sense of humor (and failed) and have tried to mimic its success by making movies out of other toy brands (UglyDolls and PlayMobil: The Movie come to mind.) But they fail to realize why The LEGO Movie works. Because it is NOT just because everyone knows LEGOs.

The movie is NOT solely a marketing ploy. The entire crux of the movie is based on the culture wars between those who follow the instructions that LEGO creates and even gluing pieces together as represented by Lord Business and the more creative, imaginative side as represented by the Master Builders.

And there’s all the little details in the film: the LEGO serial numbers, Benny’s broken helmet, the differences in the eyes, the little scratches on the figures…that really bring the movie to life.

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Some of the Master Builders

And with the famous “It’s all a game of LEGOs” (more or less) a lot of the inanity of the film makes sense; we’re seeing an eight-year old’s view of the world. I really liked that; all the events of the movie makes so much more sense with this context.

And it’s why this movie works well. That’s why the genre and trope deconstructions work so well. We see the world as Finn sees it. And that’s really cool. It brings up some interesting questions for the spin-off movies (Finn must really love Batman) and it makes me curious about the world the LEGO people inhabit.

While they experience the events as Finn imagines it, they have some sense of free will and movement. But I won’t go into that.

I’m a little afraid that the sequel will kind of forget about this, considering what I’ve seen from previews. It seems a little too on the nose, a little too lacking in the same subtlety of the first. I’m worried it’s going to forsake the narrative for promoting a certain ideology.

The original movie had a unique style and sense of humor that is incredibly hard imitate. I love it; it’s one of those movies I can watch at any time and it’ll bring a smile to my face. I love the animation, the characters, the tone and the fact that it’s obviously made with care and attention/

And while I don’t think the film really needs a sequel; everything got wrapped up pretty nicely but there is some stuff to explore. I am curious about the sequel. I have an idea as to how it will end; I expect that most of it will be Finn’s sister playing and him having outgrown LEGO or thinking it’s childish, but he eventually gives in, and they play together.

But we’ll see.

And that’s the scoop!

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Score: 9/10

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If you liked this review read: Spider-Man, Spider-Man does much more than any other Spider-Man can in Into the Spider-Verse

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Length: 100 Minutes

Year of Release: 2014

Producers: Dan Lin and Roy Lee

Directors/Screenplay Writers: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Story by: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Voice Actors: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman

 

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