The Lego Movie (2014): An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together. Here's the trailer in case you somehow missed it.
So this movie is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I think ADD would be a great way to describe it. At least for the first two acts, the movie is frantically paced, with a million things happening on screen all at once. However, the movie does slow down in its pacing quite a bit in the third act. Is this a bad thing? No. Absolutely not. It is welcomed actually, as it brings on a few surprisingly emotional moments towards the end of the movie. However the third act is also where this movie lost me. I won't spoil, but I will say a new element is introduced here that I didn't buy at all to bring on these emotional moments. And that will be the difference between me calling this February movie one of the best movies we'll see in 2014 (which many people are already saying) and me just saying that it was....well....really good. It really all depends on whether you buy the big moment of the third act or not. So, let's dive into it shall we?
First off, holy crap the voice acting. I was a little worried about this part, as I figured guys like Morgan Freeman, (making fun of every God character he's ever played) Liam Neeson, and Will Ferrel (Lord Business) were just going to use this movie for a paycheck. They didn't. Actually, Liam Neeson specifically puts in a truly remarkable performance with his character, Bad Cop. I figured he of all people would be phoning it in but DAMN! It was possibly the best voice-performance of the movie. And the rest of the cast? Awesome as well. Chris Pratt (Moneyball, Her, Wanted) was fantastic as the lead. (Emmet) He's got a great future ahead of him: he has great comedic timing, he's charming, and he's lovable. Elizabeth Banks, (Wyldstyle) Charlie Day, (Benny) Allison Brie, (Unikitty) Nick Offerman, (Metal Beard) and Will Arnett (Batman) all round out the main cast of the movie. Everyone besides Elizabeth Banks was fantastic. Banks was just...ok. Is that a bad thing? No. I just think she needs more than her voice to create a good character. But that's ok! Then there are the cameos. Since it's Lego and they have made Legos for everything you can possibly imagine, there are a lot A LOT of hilarious cameos. I won't tell you who the cameos are, rather I'll share who voices them. Will Forte, Dave Franco, Cobie Smulders, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Shaq, and others all make appearances here. Some even for just a line or two. Like I'm pretty sure Will Forte has one line. And Smulders. This crew spared no expense with bringing in great actors to do these voices. And we haven't even talked about the animation.
Holy crap the animation is some of the best I've ever seen. Some of the opening shots of the city Emmet lives in are absolutely breathtaking. Not only did the crew go all out in making the Lego characters and environments look as realistic as possible, they made virtually the entire movie look like stop-motion animation. As in all of the Legos do not just look like real Legos, they act like real Legos too. THEY ACT LIKE REAL LEGOS. They stick to this formula so loyally that I was 100% convinced that at least part of this movie really was shot with stop-motion animation. Not one second of it was. Not one. And it's 100% loyal to Legos, too. Even when the villains are firing their guns at our heroes, all the bullets look like plastic. When buildings collapse or water gets spilled for whatever reason, it's all composed entirely of Legos. The attention to detail here is amazing. I will say the one time the animation looked a little fake was when our heroes were on the open ocean. They tried creating moving waves out of Legos, and as bold of an idea it was to create choppy seas as opposed to calm ones, they just didn't quite get there. But this is nitpicking at its finest. Seriously, this is right there with Frozen for the best animation I've ever seen. Please make a sequel guys.
This movie....it's as much for our age as it is for kids. Actually, that's another thing I'm hearing: the kids are not enjoying this movie as much as the older folks are. It makes sense. The nostalgic moments, or the references to other movies (which were incredibly smart, like animating a train wreck EXACTLY like the big train wreck in 2013's The Lone Ranger is shot) or the final homily the film provides in the third act are all addressed to our generation or to the parents of the kids watching this movie. At the end of this movie it will be the parents crying. And the kids are going to be sitting there like....what? Similar to how the Toy Story franchise keeps it's parents engaged, there will be plenty of that here too. However, I hear that the parents aren't just liking this a little bit more than the kids, they are liking it a LOT more than the kids. In terms of this being a kids movie, it is so rapidly paced in the set-up period that I'm hearing the kids are just not enjoying this movie nearly as much as we are. That and what happens in the third act are the two primary gripes against this film. And again, I'm in the minority in terms of not buying into the third act. I wish I could explain why, but I really can't without spoiling anything. Actually, you know what? Spoiler section at the end. I have to explain this.
Anyway, much like Frozen, this is getting my absolute must-see recommendation for anyone who likes movies. While the third act didn't sit right with me, and it will lower my score a lot, if you do buy it, this will very likely be one of the best movies of 2014. If you had a childhood with Legos, or like movies, or have the spirit of a child somewhere inside you, or have actual kids of your own, GO SEE THIS. In 2D. Oh ya almost forgot! I saw it in 3D, and the 3D did not add much. Definitely not enough to warrant the extra money. So, don't waste your money there. You will get just as good a viewing experience in 2D as you would in 3D. BUT GO SEE THIS. NOW. STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND GO WATCH THE LEGO MOVIE. Now to try to get Everything is Awesome out of my head....probably going to be unsuccessful at that.
The Critique: a kids movie aimed at our generation/parents, The Lego Movie is full of laughs, excitement, action, spectacular animation, and emotional tension. It's going to be very tough to take this down for at least being the best children's movie of 2014.
The Recommendation: unless if you are a soulless, heartless monster, go see this movie. Now.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great. If I had bought the third act it would've been flirting with a 10. Just saying.
Oscar Talk: That's right, FEBRUARY 2014 OSCAR TALK. This will most certainly be nominated for best animated movie of 2014. It may even sneak into Best Picture too, given how large the field is. Everything is Awesome may also make an appearance into Best Original Song, but probably not. It is a great song though. Now, GO SEE THIS.
SPOILER ALERT. BEWARE SPOILERS ARE FORTHCOMING. DID I MENTION SPOILERS? NO. OK. SPOILER ALERT.
Ok so I'm assuming if you read this you've seen the movie. In the third act, a literal human element is introduced with Will Ferrel and a kid. While what happens here with Will Ferrel realizing that his kid is incredibly talented and everything may leave many parents in tears, I just saw it as a forced homily to show why good parenting is important. There were many hints of this along the way if you were paying attention to the movie, and I'm sure there was definitely a way that they could've kept the movie entirely within the Lego universe while simultaneously introducing this element, but they had to make it real. Honestly, and I know I'm going to get some criticism for comparing these two movies, this reminded me a lot of a forced Adam Sandler homily on why family is important. Which is in every single movie he's a part of. While The Lego Movie is nothing like a Sandler movie, it's third act still made me think of that. And introducing the human element totally blew up the story too. Obviously you are supposed to suspend disbelief when watching a kid's movie, but when they did this and showed the entire world we had been seeing throughout the movie made out of real-life Legos, it totally took me out of the story as I couldn't help but think of the logistics behind what we were seeing. I'm sorry guys, but while many people may love this part, I just didn't buy it. I would love to see the real-life recreation they made though. I'm sure it's on display somewhere. After all 15 million actual Legos took part in that. It better be on display somewhere....
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