A hilarious and fun-filled ride, the LEGO movie combines a child’s imagination with adult subtext. Amazing computer generated images (CGI’s) replicate a world of stop motion, bringing the miniature figures and their world to life.
Viewers follow the story of Emmet, an invisible face in the crowd of fictional Bricksburg. He accidently finds himself in the middle of a prophecy that changes the direction of his life when dual protagonist, Wyld Style, invades his world and drags him across half the multiverse.
This multiverse is the LEGO world as if it were a manifestation of the world, not a toy franchise. The utilization of the LEGO premise required imaginative ways of simulating what does not exist as a LEGO set, such as water, smoke and explosions. As a comic book movie is supposed to be faithful to its source material, this movie is faithful to its origins. The guns shoot red laser LEGO pieces. The ocean is created by a combination of blue and white tinted plastic LEGO buttons.
Filled with comedic homages to the different franchises, the LEGO movie intelligently parodies main conventions of the hero’s journey and artifact-centered plots. The movie introduces the villain (Lord Business) and mentor (Vitruvius) rivalry, beginning the story in a setting familiar with most action/adventure movies.
The rivalry comes off slightly trite. The movie understands this though and goes out of its way to show how contrived the loss of Vitruvius’s sight and his sudden prophesy are by having the line, “it is all true because it rhymes.”
Unlike most parodies, where this would be a throwaway line to get the audience giggling, this line actually foreshadows a crucial plot twist coinciding with a huge thematic reveal while setting the tone of this movie. Truly, nothing is wasted.
The viewer experiences a typical day in the life of Emmet and in a 1984-esk dystopia where everyone likes the same song, the same TV show and does everything relatively the same way. While the image is not as haunting as many dystopian worlds, it gets the point across that there is an underlying source of conflict.
Many times before his opportunity for change, Emmet snaps in and out of his catatonic optimistic attitude. This method plugs in what would have been an inexcusable plot hole, explaining why the other miniature figures have personalities but Emmet does not.
The other figures in Bricksburg channel their individualized personal rebellion through their slight differences in personality. When it becomes obvious that Emmet cannot do this, it helps to suspend the viewer’s belief when the police cannot find Emmet as “his face is so generic it matches everyone face in the computer.”
Music is complementary to the scenes and the differing worlds are all united under the techno overtones to the tracks. “Everything is awesome!” is the only song with lyrics and it is woven through the story with bits and clips of the catchy tune and chorus. The song is never intrusive and the fully realized version plays over the credits, adding to the movie’s ambiance.
The voice acting and the acting is played straight and the actors seem to have a reverent nostalgia toward the material. The comedy and plot twists have weight due to the acting, not being as plastic as the LEGOs themselves. The moral of the story does not feel tacked on but rather like the character defining moment in an arch.
At its core, this movie is a commentary on how the LEGO franchise has been distorted throughout its existence. The prevalence of instructions and the existence of Lord Business as its super villain, exemplify how the ordinary consumer of LEGO does not think for his or herself. They just make what is shown on the box, not caring about the infinite possibilities of the individual pieces within the box.
This movie nurtures the ideal of creativity and how it establishes a bridge between generations, portraying the toy’s and movie’s inclusive demographic. This movie is not a 100 minute commercial.
The LEGO movie is awesome, even if it makes me feel like I played with LEGO’s wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the jokes, gags and references to all the different LEGO universes, and I am convinced this will be the only movie that has Dumbledore and Gandalf in the same room and Batman on board the Millennium Falcon.
By Kimberly Joy Ward