Sometimes, I don’t understand myself.
When I first found out about The Lego Movie, I thought, “Well, Hollywood has officially run out of ideas. A movie where everything is made out of Legos? That sounds kind of dumb.”
I clearly remember thinking this, and being confused when the movie came out, got rave reviews, (96% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) and was a huge hit.
Well, last week I decided to get over myself and watched the movie. I loved it. It was fantastic. Contrary to my stupid assumption that The Lego Movie was proof of Hollywood’s lack of good ideas, The Lego Movie is actually an incredibly creative and fun movie, with gorgeous animation, top-notch voice acting, and a lot of heart. It’s also hilariously funny and is just a joy to watch.
The movie is about Emmet, an ordinary Lego guy who just wants to fit in. He promptly becomes involved in a spectacular adventure involving Batman, Morgan Freeman, a cop with split personalities (both of which are voiced by Liam Neeson), a Lego love interest (my mom cracked up when I used the phrase “Lego love interest”) and an ultimate superweapon known only as…the Kragle.
If none of that makes sense, that’s okay. I’m not going to spend much time talking about the details of the plot, although it did occur to me that the plot is basically that of The Matrix, except that everything is made of Legos.
This is just a really, really fun, creative movie. Sometimes movies can enlighten you and make you consider deep philosophical questions about life and the human condition, and sometimes you need that. But there are other times that you just need to watch Lego Batman say “I’m here to see…YOUR BUTT.”
And I love what they did with Batman in this movie. I love Batman and I will defend Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies all damn day for being the serious treatment of Batman that the character deserves, but The Lego Movie’s Batman is just freaking hilarious, and pokes fun at the character in a way that is never cruel or mean-spirited, but just really funny and clever.
The voice work in the movie is fantastic too. Emmet is voiced by Chris Pratt, an immensely likable actor who will soon be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, and he gives Emmet an inherent likability that makes him so easy to root for. Batman is voiced hilariously by Will Arnett, whose gravelly Batman voice manages to make him both a good depiction of Batman and also completely adorable. Unsurprisingly, he’s my favorite character in the movie.
There’s also Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius, the Morpheus-esque leader of the Lego resistance who wears a Lego tie-dye shirt and what I can only assume are Lego bellbottoms. Elizabeth Banks voices Wyldstyle, the aforementioned Lego love interest (who is totally not a DJ), Will Ferrell is the evil Lord Business, and of course, the great Liam Neeson is both Good Cop and Bad Cop. My favorite Bad Cop line is when he’s waving his little Lego hands around and says “Do you see these quotation marks I am making with my claw hands?” There’s also Gandalf, Dumbledore, Wonder Woman, Shaquille O’Neal…the list goes on and on, and part of what makes the movie so much fun is spotting all these characters in the background.
The movie was directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, a directing duo who can pretty much do no wrong these days. The visuals in this movie are frequently nothing short of breathtaking, and I was particularly transfixed by the Lego ocean in one scene, which looks exactly like rolling waves of Lego bricks. I have no idea how the animators pulled this movie off, but everything in it looks spectacular. Lord and Miller also directed 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street, and in The Lego Movie they manage to work in a pretty hilarious joke about how annoyed Lego Superman is by Lego Green Lantern, which is even funnier once you realize that Superman is voiced by Channing Tatum and Green Lantern is voiced by Jonah Hill.
The phrase “fun for the whole family” gets tossed around a lot, but The Lego Movie really is the perfect example of a movie that will appeal to pretty much everybody, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
When I wrote about Transformers a few weeks ago, I said that a fire-breathing robot T-Rex is a perfect representation of what you would find in the brain of a 12-year-old boy. The Lego Movie is similar, but in a way that is so much more meaningful than anything Michael Bay has ever been able to accomplish. This is a movie that has a really good message, and I know that it seems like every piece of children’s entertainment has to have sort of message for the kids these days, but this movie manages it so much more gracefully than most. The final scenes of the movie are genuinely poignant, and I found myself actually being moved by a movie about children’s construction toys. That alone qualifies The Lego Movie as one of the most memorable cinematic experiences I’ve had all year.
I write about a lot of dark and violent movies on this site (which isn’t going to change much because I’m going to write about The Raid 2 soon), but it’s important to remember to have a little levity every now and then. I’m not in a great place in my life right now, and I’m always grateful when a movie like The Lego Movie comes along to remind me that hey, everything will be okay and life will get better.
Everything is Awesome!
And now that song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.