I don’t watch a whole lot of movies. Pretty much every facet of my life has to have some sort of productive purpose, which means that modern movies purely for entertainment I tend to stray away from. Now, obviously saying “Movies produced these days have no productive value” is a bad generalization that isn’t fair to a lot of awesome things that have hit the big screen recently. (Some spoilers ahead, if that means anything for a movie that isn’t quite new anymore.)
I daresay The LEGO Movie fits that category. I have to say, I didn’t expect much from it. Going into it I would have rather watched any classic movie I knew I wouldn’t enjoy just to get it under my belt. But while this movie is a bit more childish than I would have liked (obviously I can’t blame them, though), it still takes itself seriously and is quite entertaining to older viewers.
I think there are two things this movie accomplishes really well. First, the humor in it applies to everyone. Watching LEGO pieces interact with the LEGO world around them is pretty amusing regardless of who you are, and the animations for it are done spectacularly well. (Watching pigs explode into sausages and LEGO pieces move how they physically should i.e. water is awesome.) This movie does a really nice job (literally) putting a visual on a child’s imagination.
This brings me to the next great factor of this movie, which is the blend between imagination and reality. The fact that this entire movie is pretty much a visualized imagination of how this average Joe saves the world is flawlessly captured. This isn’t a normal movie “LEGO-ized” like all of the LEGO video games. It’s literally about a kid making up his own story as he plays with LEGOs. It’s a twist I wasn’t expecting, and for some reason it reminds me of The Indian in the Cupboard. It manages to put an imaginative realism to toys in a way that Toy Story never did for me. So the fact that real world accessories are presented as “relics” in the LEGO world makes it that much better.
My biggest problems with this movie (which are admittedly pretty insignificant) are the inclusion of references that don’t mean anything, as well as a few small plot holes. For instance, using Gandalf, Superman, and really recognizable characters should mean something. Batman has a very clear role in this movie. It’s very clear what he can do and what his goals are. But for the other “master builders”, all we have are a bunch of character references. We don’t know what LEGO Superman can do (he’s apparently worthless), and it doesn’t feel like they are even real characters. Being a “master builder” in this movie means you can see what’s around you and make something new, and I didn’t get a sense that any of those reference characters could, especially since they never tried. That entire scene felt sort of thrown out as a “include a bunch of LEGO characters because kids will love it and have famous people voice them because adults will love it” and nothing more. If you want me to believe they have any importance to the plot, have them mean something! They never put up a fight and are never really brought up again except as prisoners. They really should have gotten more or less love than this movie gave them. Now, I understand logistically why this wasn’t the case, but still.
Lastly, with Emmet actually moving in the real world, I feel like it sort of invalidated everything about the whole “imagination” gimmick and the magic portal. If all the LEGOs can move independently, how much is real and how much is imaginary? I think it’s pretty silly because Emmet moving in the real world contributed nothing. He accomplished zero. Why even include that? Internal thought is fine, because all of these LEGOs seem to have a mind of their own, but making the toy’s actions “real” sort of ruined it for me. Obviously that’s an exaggeration, because I still thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
I don’t know if I’ll be interested in the next one. I think the gimmick is spent for me. This movie is good, and I would definitely recommend it to people, but as for me, I think I’m done!