Film Review--The LEGO Movie

Mama Fisi
Mama Fisi's picture

I'd like to know who the first person was who used LEGO figures to make a stop-action movie, because what began as a cheap way of making a film has now become a big-screen CGI three-D extravaganza...that still looks like cheap stop-action animation.

To be fair and honest, this movie was fun, and had a number of good gags and some really inventive visuals--using LEGO pices to make everything from the characters to smoke, water, and fire.  But there was just too much movie, too many things going on, and too many disparate elements to pay attention to.  I found myself getting bored about half-way through, and that made me feel bad, because this is a very cleverly-contrived picture.  There are tons of references to other SF films, and cameos of at least a dozen name characters, many played by their original actors. 

Maybe it's because I didn't play with LEGOs when I was a kid, or maybe it's because I'm not into video games, so the frenetic pace of the action overwhelmed me and I lost interest.  I think if I'd opted to see it in 3D I would have come out of the theatre with a roaring head-ache, because it was obviously designed to have lots of pop-out-at-you images.

The character design is really incredible--the little plastic characters even have seams and chips and dings, so they look completely realistic. 

The ending is both refreshing and contrived, and I'm not sure I entirely like the live-action segment that takes place in the real world.  While it does help explain some of the motivations of the characters, particularly President Business, it also seems to have been added because the actual ending was a bit too unbelievable.

All in all, I feel that this film could have been cut back by at least a half an hour, and that the frenetic pace of action could have been slowed down to allow the viewer to savor the numerous sight-gags.  It went by in a blur, like driving through an amusement park at 75 miles per hour.

The film is rated PG, mostly because there are some images that might be frightening or disturbing to young kids.  Either that or no self-respecting grown-up would go to see a G-rated film.

I'm glad I saw it, but I can't say I'd recommend it.  It's fun but not particularly memorable.  It might be better to wait for it to come out on DVD so you can use the pause button and enjoy it more.

 

The story follows a non-descript LEGO construction worker named Emmett who is perfectly cheerful and happy to follow instructions and build a city that is torn down the next day, so it can be built all over again (talk about job security.)  One day as the job site is closing down, he spots a trespasser digging around in the yard, and upon confronting the interloper, realizes that it's a beautiful woman (or what passes for a beautiful woman in the LEGO universe.)  In attempting to catch up to her as she flees, Emmett falls into the hole she was digging, and finds himself facing some weird, mysterious artifact, which he feels compelled to touch.  He is instantly knocked unconscious, and wakes up in a police interrogation chamber, where he is being browbeaten by Bad Cop.  In one of the better sight gags of the film, Bad Cop turns his head around inside his helmet to reveal the kindly face of Good Cop.

Emmett is sceduled for execution because he has had this strange artifact attached to his back, and Lord/President Business--who is the megalomaniac who runs the city--wants the "Piece of Resistance," which is the only thing that can disable his Kragle weapon of mass destruction.  Emmett is rescued at the last second by the mysterious girl from the construction site, who builds a motorcycle faster than you can say "McGyver" and a chase ensues.

By some bizarre means, Emmett and the girl break out of the city and into The Old West, where the girl, who calls herself WyldStyle, tells Emmett that he is the Special, whose coming has been prophesied by the blind mystic Vitruvius, who happens to be hanging out in this world.  Lord Business put up walls between the different worlds so that the Lego people could no longer interact with each other, and now he intends to literally cement the perfection of his creations by gluing everybody together on Taco Tuesday.  Only the Piece of Resistance can stop him, and Vitruvius--after another frenetic chase--brings Emmett and Wyldstyle, assisted by Wyldstyle's boyfriend, Batman, to Cloud Cuckoo Land, to meet with the exiled Master Builders to enlist their aid in fighting Lord Business.  The Master Builders are at first encouraged, but then decide Emmett can't possibly be the real Special because he's so generic.

Shortly, Bad Cop's army arrives and destroys Cloud Cuckoo Land, which had been a place of happy rainbow-colored anarchy where Lego people from all different playsets could happily co-exist.  Working sort of together to build a submarine as the city falls, Emmett and a few of the others escape, to be rescued by Metalbeard the Pirate, who had himself attempted an attack on Lord Business's infinity-high office tower, only to be defeated, escaping with only his head and some internal organs.

Emmett realizes that as smart as the Master Builders are, their disdain for following instructions is what prevents them from defeating Lord Business, and so if they work together and follow a set plan, they might stand a chance of beating him.  This they almost do, but things fall apart in the last seconds, and they are captured.  Business decapitates Vitruvius, who with his dying breath admits to Emmett that he made up the prophesy. 

All seems lost as Emmett is tied to a battery to be shocked to death in "one hundred mississippis" and his friends are strapped into a Matrix-like machine called the Think Tank.  Business takes the Kragle--a tube of Krazy Glue with some of the letters rubbed off from use--and sets his building to self-destruct, escaping and leaving Bad Cop behind.  Then the ghost of Vitrivuos--dangling from a thread--appears and tells Emmett he can still make a difference.  Emmett knocks the battery stand over and rolls out of the broken infinity-floor window into the abyss outside the universe, stopping the destruct mechanism and saving his friends, who--with the help of Bad Cop--fight off Business' minions and take to the airwaves to inspire the beleaguered people of Business' empires to build stuff and resist the President and his Kragle weapon, which is trying to glue everything together permanently.

Emmett falls out of his universe and winds up in the real world, where The Man Upstairs is an adult with a passion for building incredibly detailed LEGO scenes.  The Man's son, a young boy named Finn, is playing with what his father has told him is Off Limits, mixing up the different kits.  When the father discovers this, he is angry, telling the boy that these things are nt toys; Finn argues that they were bought in a toy shop.  As the father is trying to set everything "right," he notices the intricate things Finn had built out of the different kits, and softens; when Finn tells him, haltingly, the story about President Business and how the people are trying to stop him, the father realises that he has been acting like the bad guy, and so he and Finn begin to play with the Legoland.  Finn finds Emmett and sends him back into his universe, where Emmett suddenly has the powers of a real Master Builder.

He confronts Lord Business, but instead of battling him, he tells him he is an amazing builder himself, and that he doesn't have to be the bad guy.  He can be an inspiration to his people instead; Business buys this, and caps the Kragle, then goes out to melt the glue and restore the city.

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