Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Review: The LEGO Movie (2014)
'The LEGO Movie': A Gem For The Family That Allows The Viewer To Use Their Creative And Thinking Blocks
When I was a younger kid, I actually wasn't overly fond of LEGOs, yet when I heard about this film, I was pretty interested because I was unsure of how it would be pulled off. Not only was I amazed by how the filmmakers did it and not only did I find myself laughing hysterically, but I was so fascinated by how it in a subtle manner manages to pack together different themes and plot points and build them into a complex model.
The LEGO Movie follows the story of a Lego construction worker named Emmett (Chris Pratt) who is said to be a prophesied "Special" that can save the Lego universe from an evil tyrant known as Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who looks to glue everybody to the city eternally.
I'll start off by discussing the film's story. Now, before I watched the film, I didn't really have a clear idea of what exactly it was about. But, I am surely glad that I didn't know a whole lot about it before because I was very surprised by what I watched. I was especially pleased by the thematic material it had to offer. It manages to delve into themes involving imagination, dictatorship to some degree, and *spoiler alert* father-son relationships. The imagination aspect was interesting because there are characters called "Master Builders" that build whatever they can imagine and put their creativity to great use while they are facing Lord Business, who is all about "following the instructions". Another thing I liked was the different pop culture references to franchises like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. Plus, I liked how the story delves into the different cliches that films about prophecies and such are faced with. For example, in the beginning, a wizard named Vitruvius, played by Morgan Freeman, says that a prophecy will come true and is serious because it rhymes. I thought that was very funny and that Morgan Freeman did a great voice performance. That brings me to my next point.
I thought the voice performances were very nice. Chris Pratt did an amazing job as Emmett and really had me feeling for his character, hoping that he would become the "Special" that he is expected to be. While everybody else was fantastic, including Will Ferrell as Lord Business, Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius, Elizabeth Banks as Emmett's love interest Wyldstyle, and Will Arnett as Batman, I'd love to acknowledge a few standouts. One is Liam Neeson, who plays Lord Business' henchman Bad Cop/Good Cop, who is a play off of the good cop/bad cop-type deal that you see on cop shows or films and it was refreshing to see Neeson play a serious, brooding character in a hilarious film. Another standout I would say is Charlie Day as Benny, a Master Builder who is a "1980-something space guy" with a penchant for building spaceships. I loved seeing his character's cheery optimism even as they are in the face of danger.
Overall, The LEGO Movie is a very rich and hilarious family film with an underlying, multi-faceted storyline that showcases parody while dealing with powerful themes of imagination and dictatorship. It is films like this that really make me want to be a writer and share my own imagination like how children create different Lego models to share their own. The film is very much about the kid in all of us and is simply, as a song from the film says, "Awesome".