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The LEGO Movie – Joint Review


Release Date: 7th February 2014
Director: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Writer: Dan Hageman - Kevin Hageman - Phil Lord & Chris Miller [Story] Phil Lord - Chris Miller [Screenplay] Based on the LEGO toy created by Ole Kirk Christiansen
Cast: Chris Pratt - Elizabeth Banks - Will Arnett - Morgan Freeman - Will Ferrell - Charlie Day

Posted March 1, 2014 by

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The LEGO Movie – Joint Review

Becca’s Perspective:

Everything is awesome. No, really! Despite it being the sugar-fuelled half-term release, The Lego Movie is genuinely awe-inspiring, an incredible feat of stop-motion and CGI combined. Dripping with humour, pop culture and plain old nostalgia; it’s no wonder that it has remained number one at the box-office for three weeks running now. Dual-directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street fame, and featuring an impressive range of voice talents including Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett and Morgan Freeman, whilst being your classic fish-out-of-water plot, reaches new heights through the sheer novelty of the Lego medium. Scene change? No problem, let’s construct a portal. Vehicle needed? Use the blocks from that lamp post, etc., etc. Some of the most joyous moments of the film come simply from marvelling at the utter freedom the characters have to simply construct their adventure as they go, resulting in twists and turns from start to finish!

The opening titles plunge us into the instantly infectious beat of not only the film’s catchy theme song, the afore mentioned ‘Everything is Awesome’, but also the hustle and bustle of life in the Lego City. We soon zero in on our protagonist – one Emmet Brickowoski, just your ordinary hard-hatted construction worker. It soon becomes clear that Emmet’s obsession with following instruction manuals, manuals for work, making friends, even his morning routines, has left him completely indistinguishable from the thousands of other figures living around him. So when beautiful rebel, WyldStyle singles him out as the Master Builder of legend, destined to overthrow the tyrannical President Business, Emmet is thrown into an adventure spanning the many lands of Lego – look out for Middle Zealand! – meeting some familiar [yellow] faces along the way!

I cannot emphasise enough how ridiculously entertaining this film is. In a crammed-full cinema screen on a Wednesday afternoon, it was fantastic to hear the laughter of kids and adults alike (perhaps, the adults even more so!) in stitches throughout the movie. With references to Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and even Batman himself brooding away in Lego form; the tongue-in-cheek nods to pop culture came from around every Lego-blocked corner, drawing many a chuckle from the audience. My personal favourite was Batman’s gravelly “he’s the hero you deserve” when talking about Emmet. Brilliant.

Visually, The Lego Movie is a treat for the eyes. With such astonishing amounts of activity and movement onscreen at all times, we can be sure to expect legions of Easter eggs and goofs to grace our computer screens soon enough! Whilst the looming skyscrapers, motorbikes and building sites constructed out of Lego were impressive, I also found myself marvelling over the animation of small individual blocks – the twist and turn of a single plastic flame, animated so expertly that it truly resembled dancing fire, or the movement of hundreds of single white Lego studs which together formed frothy waves crashing against the wreck of a Lego submarine…it was fascinating to watch how the miniscule movements of these tiny blocks contribute so much to the atmosphere of the Lego environment, and the film as a whole. Not only is The Lego Movie hilarious and endearing, it truly is a piece of moving art. A labour of love for those brightly coloured plastic blocks both loved and loathed by all; loved as we let our imaginations run wild, and loathed as we stepped on them bare-foot. Embrace the childhood nostalgia, the old Master Builder in you and watch the infectiously joyous The Lego Movie!

Becca Spackman:

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Freelance Contributor


Josh’s Perspective:

It is likely that at some point you have put together a LEGO set, or at least sat in a doctor’s office as a child and fiddled with “Duplo” blocks.  The innovate building toy has been around for over 60 years in various incarnations, and over time has become ingrained in our culture- so much so that the licensed lines are commonplace.  With licensing came comics, innovative and fun video games, and alas, short and full-length films.  A feature-length film is really a culmination of years of success coming to a head.  While not an entirely empty excuse to rake in more cash, “The LEGO Movie” falls short.  At best it brings forth a few guffaws, and at worst it’s pun overkill, forced emotion, and boredom.

Please, allow me to ‘build’ my case ‘brick by brick’ (see, I can do pun humor too!).  Until the first “LEGO Star Wars” video game arrived in 2004, I was blasé about the brand.  The gameplay was immensely enjoyable, and the cut scenes interspersed between levels were light and humorous.  Additional “LEGO” games were made, each seemingly more unique than the previous one.  This led to the creation of short films, beginning in the “Star Wars” universe, and they’ve been excellent- made with the right balance of pun humor and quirky fun for adults and children.  Like any good farcical comedy, the creators turned the subject on its’ head, poking fun at the material whilst revering it.  The entire LEGO media experience has been rewarding for myself and my child until now.  Everything was awesome (see the film to understand that statement).

Keeping that in mind, you’d think it would be a drop in the bag that I’d enjoy this immensely, but that’s not the case.  I can’t help but compare “The LEGO Movie” to everything else the company has put out thus far, and in comparison, it doesn’t hold up.  The story is pretty straightforward- Emmet (Pratt) is a ‘regular guy’ who literally falls into an interesting situation.  Adventurous Wyldstyle/Lucy (Banks) sees him as the ‘special’- the one meant to overthrow malicious “Lord Business” (Ferrell) and keep him from permanently gluing everything together.  Of course, that’s just the WORST for LEGO figures, as they love to build.  There’s also a blind shaman/wizard (Freeman) guiding Emmet, and somehow he teams with Batman (Arnett) and a host of other random minifigures (including Han Solo and crew?) to stop the ’lord’ from doing his ‘business’.  See what I did there again?

None of this is silly through the eyes of a child, however.  The viewing I saw was chock full of cheering little ones.  The frenetic nature of the film may be a big draw to those kids, but it just wore me out, to the point of restlessness.  Maybe it had something to do with the ‘stop-motion’ style of animation.  Maybe it was just the hyperactivity of the plot, or the way that certain characters spoke.  Maybe I’m getting old enough that these kinds of things finally hit me, and I’ve turned the corner.  It would be easier if I could say the film was dull, that I didn’t laugh at all, or that it was an empty enterprise.

None of that is true, and one can tell the care the creators put into the film.  Consider this- most animated films of later years have done their best to make the film enjoyable for kids and adults alike, and thus its made for everyone.  That’s a benefit to everyone- the audience doesn’t have to fake it and snore through 90 minutes, and the kids actually remember it afterwards.

The LEGO Movie” may have been aiming to please everyone, but what made LEGO media work before is missing here.  Tack on a confusing, sappy real-life scene at the end between father and son and it shifted into overkill for this reviewer.  It performed so well that we can expect a sequel.  My suggestion?  Hire those responsible for the earlier fare, and recapture the original spirit that didn’t need such clamor to work.

Josh Adams:

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Freelance Contributor


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