The Lego Movie-attachment0

The Lego Movie

Movie Information

The Story: An uninteresting Lego figure — living in a Lego world — is chosen to fulfill a prophecy that will free his people. The Lowdown: A fun, often cute (and eventually sappy) movie that’s enjoyable but disposable.
Score:

Genre: Animated Adventure
Director: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street)
Starring: (Voices) Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson
Rated: PG

Despite the overwhelming critical support and the huge wad of money it made over the weekend, I can’t shake the feeling that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s The Lego Movie does little more than scale the heights of being perfectly satisfactory. It’s one of those animated, kiddie-adventure movies that is really made for adults. (By “adults,” I mean twenty-somethings with a deep, heavy sense of childhood nostalgia.) And while I can’t fault anyone for liking the movie — it’s cute, but it’s a lot sappier than it needs to be — it’s the kind of film that is so reliant on pop culture references that it becomes incredibly specialized.

To be honest, I enjoy pop culture references when it’s the pop culture I enjoy. But still, a bunch of Star Wars jokes in the year 2014 is close to a comedic nadir. In this sense, the movie’s entire comedic sensibility too often feels played out and even a little lazy. Thankfully, Lord and Miller throw enough against the wall for things to occasionally work, and its kind-hearted nature makes up for a lot. On top of this—despite a pretty derivative plot—there’s a sense of general ambition and actually caring about making something fun, even if it all doesn’t click.

As far as plot goes, The Lego Movie is basically The Matrix with Legos. Chris Pratt (TV’s Parks and Recreation) is the voice of Emmet, a pretty uninspiring, dull and friendless Lego figure who works in construction in a nondescript city made of Lego blocks. That is until he fulfills a prophecy and finds a strange plastic piece that will end the reign of President Business (Will Ferrell), the domineering leader of this Lego world who wants to quell disorder and creativity. What follows is general action/adventure stuff (which, given the animated style, can often be too busy and difficult to follow), with Emmet trying to save the world, and Lego’s long history of corporate tie-ins supplying the pop culture cache. Eventually, this dovetails into the metaphysical realm and a heap of sentimentality and daddy issues that isn’t quite as as emotionally affecting as it’d like to be. I feel this is where a lot of people’s love of this movie is drawn from, since—in this instance—The Lego Movie is making a run at schmaltzy ambition. For me, it’s asking for an emotional response it doesn’t deserve (a good bit of this probably has to do with relying on Will Ferrell to create poignancy, an approach that never works).

Thankfully, the sum total is pleasant and enjoyable, but wholly disposable. I’m not sure anyone’s expecting some grand piece of filmmaking, something that enters the grand canon of great cinema from something called The Lego Movie. While the critical reception may be a bit overblown, the movie fulfills its modest aims as entertainment, which, sometimes, is all you can ask for. Rated PG for mild action and rude humor.Playing at United Artists Beaucatcher.

SHARE

30 thoughts on “The Lego Movie

  1. Lydia

    “..relying on Will Ferrell to create poignancy, an approach that never works.” Except in “Stranger Than Fiction”, I’d say.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Torn with grief to disagree. I think he’s fine in the film. However, the emotional center of the film comes from the supporting characters.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Well, they aren’t bloopers. They’re scripted “accidents.” It started when Pixar sent out replacement last reels to extend the screen life of Monsters, Inc. by slapping on these fake bloopers.

  4. bsummers

    Whatever the stupid effect on later animated films, I loved the “bloopers” on Monsters, Inc..

    And besides, everyone knows that the “stupidest goddamn contrivance on earth” is the opposable thumb. But there’s no going back…

  5. Ken Hanke

    You’d have a very different opinion of those “bloopers” if you’d been waiting to clean the theater at the time. Anyway, I object to it in principle.

  6. Jeremy Dylan

    Eventually, this dovetails into the metaphysical realm and a heap of sentimentality and daddy issues that isn

  7. boatrocker

    For the Internet’s record, I’m going to see the LEGO movie in the movie theater because it is an essential part of my childhood. That and Disney doesn’t own it (yet). $9 well spent. You go Swedes!

    I choked on many a small parts of the LEGOS only because I knew my parents and teachers knew the Heimlich Maneuver.

    When LEGO introduced small curved parts that didn’t look like squares or rectangles, well, it was like a plastic validation of my imagination.

    Any additional character development will be considered icing on the cake.

  8. Ken Hanke

    For the Internet’s record, I’m going to see the LEGO movie in the movie theater because it is an essential part of my childhood.

    This, I think, is why I can work up no interest in seeing this. I never had Legos in my life.

  9. Edwin Arnaudin

    The more I think about it, the more I think I have heard “horses for courses” in song lyrics…

    The “Mr. Ed” theme song?

  10. Ken Hanke

    Oh, my, no. The ’70s — at least the first half (which are really still the ’60s) — should be celebrated and wallowed in. Plus, you are talking to someone who owns every Bonzo album in existence. And I’m proud of the fact, too.

  11. boatrocker

    Hmm just saying, LEGOs represent independent thought and innovate and creative ways of playing for kids (the big theme from the movie?) vs. TV and the Internet as a babysitter.

    Why are there no posts about the subtle anti pop culture references in said movie (the stuff parents chuckle at but not the kids)?

    Hanke’s reviews normally strike me as sound but either he grew up poor in WV or else does not appreciate the excellence of making stuff with plastic blocks.

  12. Ken Hanke

    Hanke’s reviews normally strike me as sound but either he grew up poor in WV or else does not appreciate the excellence of making stuff with plastic blocks.

    A.) I didn’t review it. B.) I grew up middle-class in Florida, but I never had Legos so there’s no inherent appeal there for me.

  13. DrSerizawa

    It was a trick question, there was only one TN album. BTW, I own most of the Bonzos. A friend turned me onto a number of non-mainstream artists back then. I still have a lot of albums like Fripp and Eno, 801 Live and, well, a lot of Brian Eno, Quiet Sun, Bebop Deluxe, Steve Hillage, etc etc. I even still have my old Sansui turntable I bought in Japan in 1970.

  14. bsummers

    As this appears to be an open thread on movies et al, I’d like to voice my enthusiasm for Christopher Guest’s HBO series Family Tree. Who knew that he could extend the Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, Best of Show, A Mighty Wind, etc. ethos onto a psuedo-BBC series about a man researching his family roots? As the Brits say, “Brilliant”.

  15. Ken Hanke

    It was a trick question, there was only one TN album

    Probably just as well since all the songs on it sound very nearly alike.

    I still have a lot of albums like Fripp and Eno, 801 Live and, well, a lot of Brian Eno, Quiet Sun, Bebop Deluxe, Steve Hillage, etc etc.

    See? You went places I didn’t. I only recently discovered Eno’s HERE COME THE WARM JETS.

    By the bye, I think I’ve replaced just about everything with CDs now, though I think there’s a turntable back in The Room Where Nobody Goes.

  16. Ken Hanke

    I’d like to voice my enthusiasm for Christopher Guest’s HBO series Family Tree.

    Fine. I’ve never heard of it myself.

Leave a Reply