Published on February 19th, 2014 | by Chris Scott2
The LEGO Movie Review
Summary: It is all cheesy, all the time, but the film has heart and meaning too.
As a kid, I loved Star Wars. One Christmas my parents got me a Bespin Cloud Car. I wanted to reenact the scene where the Millennium Falcon enters Bespin’s atmosphere and is escorted to a landing bay. Unfortunately, this called for two Cloud cars, and not having a second one, I improvised and made a ship out of the styrofoam shell that housed some ice cream cones. It wasn’t perfect, but it was close enough that I let my imagination do the rest.
As I got older, that imaginative spirit that allowed me to improvise a cloud car out of some simple trash drifted off. The toys went on to shelves, posed in just the right way, capturing a dramatic moment of some sort. They were no longer toys but statues, and I did it with all manner of things including a yearly LEGO set. In a grand effort to maintain a hold on my childhood memories, I had perverted the true meaning of what these items were made for. Not only had I stifled my own creativity by trying to hold on to the past, I prevented my kids from expressing their creativity by not allowing them to play with MY stuff or chastising them when they broke MY toys.
As I sat through The LEGO Movie with my son, I realized I had become the villain. I was President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell), and the movie was waging a war on my sensibilities. And you know what? I loved it.
The LEGO Movie is a joyous adventure that showcases imagination while manipulating nostalgia like only one other movie franchise has ever been able to do. Comparing a film to Toy Story may be considered sacrilege for many film fans, but The LEGO Movie hits those same highs and deserves to be talked about alongside it. Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt) and his band of blocky heroes go on an adventure for the ages, visiting all the universes one associates with the LEGO brand, all the while battling against the evil President Business and his plans to freeze everyone in place.
On the surface it seems cheesy, and that is because it is. It features a cutesy song about following along, it has corny one liners from Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), it has Liam Neeson playing a good cop and a bad cop by turning his head, and it even has possibly the dumbest creation ever, a double decker couch. And all the while, it masterfully navigates the high wire act of maintaining a proper balance of adult and kid friendly humor while at the same time not over-relying on pop culture references or getting too engrossed in the morals of the story. It is all cheesy, all the time, but the film has heart and meaning too.
Yes, The LEGO Movie has a couple points it attempts to drive home, but unlike some films it never feels preachy. By focusing on being fun and entertaining, the film’s story plays out organically and allows viewers to come to revelations on their own. And its choice to do it this way made those revelations way more effective to me personally. I imagine, as with all art, that different people will view the film through different lenses and some things will resonate more or less with them, but for me, at the end of the film I thought everything was awesome and contemplated letting my kids play with my stuff. Freeing my toys to be what they were made to be.
Mind you, it was a fleeting thought. But I had it, and The LEGO Movie is to blame for such crazy thoughts. That speaks to an affecting experience regardless of if I like how it made me feel (warm and fuzzy). Now where is my Krazy Glue?