RogerBW's Blog

The Lego Movie 18 June 2014

2014, dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks: IMDb / allmovie

In a world where… one man must… and it's all made of Lego.

This is a self-uncriticising film. Is it a generic hero's journey that we've seen many times before? Is the protagonist an uninspiring schlub? Sure! It's all meant to be that way!

Bits of it are excellent, particularly the initial sequence in the main narrative, getting up and going to work while not noticing the sinister overtones, culminating in the excellent song "Everything is Awesome". The action is sometimes a bit confused, and the huge number of Lego licences that have to be name-checked means that there are plenty of cameos and quick references taking up space and time that could have been given to the primary characters.

When one looks for the actual messages in the script, beyond "Everything is Awesome", they're worryingly inclined to subvert the subversion of the first few minutes: the way to win is not to invent your own stuff, it's to work with everybody else and follow the instructions. No matter how smart and skilled and brave you are, you can be upstaged by the bland guy who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and picked up the Destiny Token. And, for those of us who grew up with classic Lego, there's a distressing emphasis on having just the right special-purpose part rather than on putting things together out of the basic blocks. (All right, making the space Lego guy the comic relief doesn't help here either.)

And then, for the last half-hour or so, there's a change out to a sappy cliché that isn't part of the Lego-world story. It's weak and well-trodden material, and going outside the world just reinforces the idea that none of the primary narrative really matters; everything Lego exists at someone else's whim. Somehow Toy Story managed to avoid this trap. But hey, let's party!

Still, the action sequences are good, and Wyldstyle (whom the film should really have been about; instead she's just another Trinity, who did all the hard work but got ignored by the author) is always fine; the sight gags will appeal to people who like sight gags, and won't spoil it for everyone else; and if you don't think too hard about it, it's an enjoyable experience. (I never really like films that I can't enjoy if I think about them too much. But this is a minority opinion.)

You can buy Lego Movie Lego sets with all the special custom pieces you'll need to recreate scenes from the film. Of course you can. Everything is Awesome.

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  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:46pm on 18 June 2014

    I had shed loads of lego as a child. I had so much it had to keep it in four wooden boxes under my bed. The best bit was making up stuff yourself. I made a thing where you put a ball bearing into a hole in the top and it came out of any one of a number of chutes at the bottom. I think the most I ever got the split up to was 8 way, my baseboard was too small to make it any bigger.

    One christmas I gave all the lego to my niece and nephew. They had just as much fun with it, and lack of plans didn't stop my nephew from building an aeroplane. Lack of wheels stopped him making it any bigger, but then he invented skids instead (and I swear I didn't tell him about the ME163).

    The emphasis on special parts is sad. Lego is what you make of it.

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