THE LEGO MOVIE
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JUNE 18, 2014
Everything was not awesome, at least for me, upon seeing “The Lego Movie”. Akin to being the only person at a party that is not having fun, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s latest animated feature simply never clicked for me while landing for what felt like absolutely everyone else. All around me, adults and children were laughing at the jokes, humming the theme song, and praising the moral of the story. But, for me, something was lacking. To be completely fair, when the first trailer was released, I was less than enthused. I believed that a stop animated Lego film was simply a way to sell more merchandise. Now having seen the film and having an appreciation for Lord and Miller’s body of work thus far, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the film was somewhat of a success (although let us be honest, it will spawn its series of Lego). On top of not being excited about the film, I made the mistake of seeing it in 3D for my first viewing. With the faults of the three-dimensional medium, I felt out of the experience the entire time, making it hard to enjoy the comical situations on-screen.
The premise of “The Lego Movie” is the core narrative from “The Matrix” in which an ordinary man (or in this case a Lego construction man named Emmet) is made out to be a Master Builder and the Chosen One. Not quite living up to the prophecy, Emmet (Chris Pratt) bumbles around while Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett) carry out their mission to bring the Chosen One to the Morphius character of the film, Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) before the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) can destroy everything. Props must be given to the filmmakers for the pure technical feats that they endured in bringing these childhood toys to life and in trying to feature every Lego piece possible. The messaging behind the film, which mixes in some live-action elements, felt unique, but also at times, a bit random. Many of the jokes that did not land for me included the Bad Cop/Good Cop character (Liam Neeson) throwing tantrums when he does not get what he wants and the should-be-funny explosion of excitement by Charlie Day’s astronaut Benny when asked to build a spaceship.
Perhaps needing a second viewing, I chalk up most of my disdain for the film to outlying factors, including the never-ending 3D glasses conundrum. With a strong voice cast and a valiant attempt at humor, I have a feeling that a younger version of myself would have loved this film without a shadow of a doubt. But having grown up slightly since those days, I am probably living proof of the messaging the filmmakers were trying to get across about adulthood. With another attempt at enjoying this film, I hope to feel more invested in the characters and their antics without feeling dragged along for the ride. Or perhaps I will feel the same way I do now and realize that “The Lego Movie” ends up just as stiff as the little toys that the story is based on.
February 7, 2014
Dan Hageman (story)
Kevin Hageman (story)
Warner Bros. Pictures
(for mild action and rude humor)
Billy Dee Williams