Ladies and gentlemen...we have it. The greatest 1 hour and 40 minute toy commercial of all time.
|A crazy unique looking cast that works remarkably well together|
First of all this film is written and directed by the duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Don't recognize those names? Well, maybe it's about time you do. They started with the criminally underrated animated comedy Clone High before directing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (a movie I thought was gonna suck until I saw it,) and more recently the 21 Jump Street remake (a movie which, again, people thought was gonna suck, but then were pleasantly surprised with it.) Are you noticing a trend? Clearly, people need to take note of Lord and Miller and start giving these two the benefit of the doubt on whatever project they're working on. (Or studios need to know how to advertise their shit better.) As soon as I saw these two were attached, I knew we were in for a tight comedy with clever writing and a joyfully juvenile spirit. In short: I was pumped when I saw that they were directing this movie, even more pumped when I saw the first trailer, and yet the movie still somehow met my lofty expectations. That's pretty rare nowadays!
|Fun Fact: Will Forte voices Abe Lincoln in both The Lego Movie and Clone High!|
So what's the plot? Well, the best way I can describe The Lego Movie is Toy Story meets The Matrix on a sugar high. Enter a world completely made out of Lego where our hero, a construction worker named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt,) is optimistically taking part in the corporate system he seems to fit right in with, when suddenly he is thrust into an undercover resistance against the ruler of this Lego land, President Business (Will Ferrel.) President Business (moonlighting as the evil "Lord Business") has separated each themed Lego world into their own sets (wild west, space, etc) and is obsessed with order. Meanwhile, Emmet is recruited by the Master Builders, an underground rebel group fronted by the kick-ass Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and the wise wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman.) The Master Builders believe in creativity over all, and have the ability to construct wild, new and outstanding things out of the Lego pieces that their world is made out of. As it turns out, Emmet got himself stuck with a mysterious relic, dubbing him "the special" who is meant to fulfil some sort of prophecy (there's always a prophecy) that will stop President Business for good. The problem: Emmet doesn't have a creative thought in his head, and is in no way the messiah-type figure the Master Builders are looking for.
|Our hero, Emmet: The Untalented Optimist|
Without giving too much away (and yes there are things to give away in The Lego Movie, so please try to avoid spoilers,) this movie isn't just about characters living in a Lego world, it's about Lego itself. About Lego, the child's play thing, in today's mainstream culture, and about how different people approach the toy. You have those who follow the instruction manuals and builds the structures that are in each Lego set, then you have those who just take whatever Lego pieces you have available and build whatever comes to mind. It's here in where The Lego Movie goes from good to great, and while some will definitely see where this is all going ahead of time, I'm convinced the younger movie goers will mark this as one of the best executions of a film's message of this generation. But again, I don't want to say too much about this, so let's just go ahead and talk about Batman.
|"I'm the Lego piece that Lego Land deserves..."|
|Limited movement. Unlimited fun.|
But there are other challenges with animating this movie. Because of the rules they've set up with this world, these characters still move and act as Lego figures. That means stiff movements, light weighed characters, and no character can even bend their knee! It does make some aspects of the animation limited, but I often say that limitations force people to be creative, and luckily the animation team on this feature rose to the challenge to give us something truly different. The lack of joints in a character's model is never an issue with the way the characters dart and move, and also in how the world around them is build and is optimized for the Lego characters to act around. And thanks to some rather obvious animation cheats, the Lego characters can perform hard to imagine tasks (like a Lego man changing a shirt) all while winking and nodding at the audience. It's all self-aware visual humour, which is always a bit of a gamble, but it works remarkably well here.
|This was that sugar high I was talkin' about...|
"Everything is awesome" indeed. (I did mention that song is super catchy, right? Cause...y'know...it is.)