The Lego Movie
I love lego. When I was a kid, opening up a new pirate ship or castle set was one of the biggest thrills of Christmas morning. I had buckets of lego pieces, half-built sets scattered around my room. I still have a collection of every annual Lego catalogue throughout the 90s. I once recreated the plot of Honey I Shrunk the Kids with lego. My online avatar is the lego version of myself. We even had a lego-themed cake at our wedding (with a custom bride and groom set given to us for free from Lego).
However, even with my well-documented love of Lego, I was skeptical about a Lego movie. It had to be more than just having fun with animated bricks. In order to be successful, the movie would have to encapsulate what makes lego as a toy so special. Lego stands out from all other toys and has proven itself as perhaps the greatest children’s toy in over half a decade for a reason; it thrives on the creativity of the kids who use it. Lego allows for imagination to take hold and personality to thrive by giving kids the tools to build and make whatever they want. And even though Lego ironically exists as a major force of commercialism in many ways, fundamentally it rebels against commericalist ideals. And therefore, a movie based on a toy with so much depth needs to have this same spirit. Luckily, it did. And it was awesome.
The story of Emmet, a regular construction worker, inadvertently becoming the hero who would stop Lord Business from “ending” the world contains this theme of individuality vs. conformity (cleverly symbolized by strictly following the instructions) in its very fabric. It the message used to beat you over the head? Yes, but in this case that’s okay, it works. And it only goes further as the movie goes on and extends into areas you wont expect.
But don’t worry, its not just a message movie. Its fun! Its a whole lotta fun, in fact. Visually, its a wonder and exactly what anyone who has ever linked two blocks together would hope for. There are so many clever details in the animation, from the way characters move to water splashes being tiny bricks. They have really embraced the world of Lego in every detail of every frame. There are some silly “kids movie” details, like that weird cat character, but for the most part this is a world that could only exist in a Lego-themed universe.
And its funny too! Lego has always had a quirky, unique sense of humour showing up on the illustrations in the catalogues and boxes, and more prominently in the recent line of video games. And it shows up here in spades. There are a lot of witty, clever jokes which have a charming sense of innocence to them while still being genuinely hilarious. There’s a great mix of quippy dialogue and visual gags which ensure that you will have a great time the whole way through, including a hilarious capper at the end.
It may seem like I am biased towards this movie, and perhaps I am. But I was genuinely surprised at how great of a job they did with this film. Every peg was in place, every piece fit. Lego did not disappoint; it seems they never do.