When a film based on LEGO was announced, it was perfectly understandable to have doubts and an aura of pessimism that something sacred was being tinkered with. This isn’t just another reboot of a prestigious film after all, it’s an adaptation of toys that bear strong sentimental value to childhoods – and even adulthoods – around the world.
The LEGO Movie could have easily been nothing more than a shameless cash grab, disregarding all of those magical memories and moments of creative bliss the legendary toys have provided over the decades. And all it takes is one insincere film to insult those precious memories. Even worse, it could have steered the course of the building blocks onto a course associated with failure, rather than quality. There are many examples of products out there suffering this depressing fate, but thankfully, The LEGO Movie isn’t one of them.
Instead, we have been privileged with a film that reinforces those childhood defining moments by embracing all of the tiniest details that honor the very essence of LEGO. Your memories weren’t tainted, but new ones were created.
Read on to find out why we feel that The LEGO Movie didn’t destroy our childhood.Next
7. Surprisingly Great Story
Arguably the hardest thing to get off the ground when adapting a movie based on something as plain and simple as building blocks is framing a story that can entertain and actually feel relevant to LEGOs. It’s definitely tricky to pull off, but Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) didn’t take the easy way out, instead opting to use the license to tell a story that can only work inside the LEGO universe.
The plot involves Emmett (Chris Pratt), your average everyday LEGO citizen craving a desire to feel special. He wants to be admired by his peers and to go on and do extraordinary things in life. It just so happens that he comes across a key to saving the universe from a tyrannical businessman aptly named Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who plans to glue the world together. The only problem is that Emmett isn’t a very special person at all.
Vitruvius – an elderly blind wizard voiced by Morgan Freeman – states that even though Emmett isn’t a Master Builder, he still could be the prophet. Meanwhile, Wyldystyle – a heart-stoppingly pretty, dark-haired LEGO woman – feels that there is no way someone as uncreative and untalented as Emmett could ever be the savior.
Together, they embark on a journey that keeps audiences hooked and interested in their efforts of foiling Lord Business’ dastardly plans. The only real issue with the story – which is an incredibly tiny detail – is that Lord Business’ motivations aren’t really made clear until near the end of the movie, but this is all mitigated in the final act which puts everything into perspective.Previous Next
6. Unique Animation Style
The animation in The LEGO Movie is another example of Phil Lord and Chris Miller choosing not to take the easy road by settling for typical modern-day animation with LEGOs. Instead, they have opted to mix modern-day animation with stop-motion animation, brilliantly resulting in a fascinating look that is inseparable from how one would imagine LEGO animation.
It isn’t just the animation that sets the film apart, however, but the design direction that every single detail of everything in the film should resemble LEGOs. Sure, all of the characters look like LEGOs, but everything from water to fire to lasers are also intentionally designed to resemble LEGO pieces too.
This unwavering decision to make certain everything has a distinctive LEGO look results in the smallest of scenes oozing with visual splendour unlike anything we’ve ever seen. When any of the characters begin to build something at hypersonic speeds, it resonates with everything LEGO is and is endlessly amusing. Who doesn’t want a double decker couch to become an actual thing after seeing this movie?
The LEGO Movie is also very colorful and always enjoyable to ogle. Some of the action sequences involving high speed flight chases simply light up the screen.Previous Next
5. Fantastic Usage Of Licensed Characters
It was always going to be challenging to create a LEGO film without any licensed characters. They are one of the largest selling points of the toys and allow for even more personality to shine through, so it’s only natural to pepper them into the story. This isn’t to say that the primary plot takes a backseat, but that all the other characters around Emmett and his partners play a great part in keeping the film fresh and entertaining.
More importantly, everyone involved took the licenses with respect and did all the characters justice, instead of forcing them in with no good reason. Batman is most certainly a highlight, coping with his orphan issues by writing and singing Death Metal songs to his love Wyldestyle. The real show stealer, however, is Liam Neeson playing a good cop-bad cop LEGO character in grand over-the-top fashion, similar to his recent roles in films like Taken.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller know and understand who these characters and actors are, and how to insert them into the story for maximum laughs. The LEGO Movie is one of the very few films that is actually strengthened from enlisting a gargantuan cast of celebrity actors.Previous Next
4. Countless Homages
It isn’t just the main characters and side characters that get all the great scenes either. If a licensed character is in this film, they have a darn good reason to be, as they have a scene hand-crafted specifically for them to get a rise out of the audience.
Take Shaquille O’Neal for example; he has a relatively small part in the movie, but also one of the funniest parts. Amidst one of the battles throughout the film, he builds a cannon to fire at his enemies. Before firing he delivers the classic “Y’all ready for this” line, and when his cannon is destroyed he exclaims “They were ready for that!” Shaq’s not had a stellar career on-screen, but this has to rank with his finest moments.
The LEGO Movie is filled with scenes like that, but also often goes for more obscure references that will resonate much more with adult audiences. Without giving away too many of the gems, there is a scene where Liam Neeson is driving on a train, and puts a spin on the classic “Get off my plane” quote from Air Force One. There are countless of these references too, and you will undoubtedly need to watch the movie multiple times to catch them all. Fortunately, the movie is so awesome that it’s an undertaking you’ll gladly accept.Previous Next
3. Varied Locales
Another fantastic aspect about The LEGO Movie is that it never stays in one aesthetic environment, continuously hopping between realms in an act to give audiences something new to look at. It’s a logical decision too, considering that there are so many different kinds of LEGO sets to build, covering so many different licenses and time periods.
The majority of the story is spent in a highly populated city, but quickly expands to more interesting and refreshing themes of the Wild West, the open seas, a cutesy land of positivity, and many more. It also creates an opportunity for many different colour palettes to be used throughout the film, ensuring that no two realms feel like.
The only gripe to have is that since the movie flies by so fast that it occasionally feels that each realm isn’t explored to its fullest extent. Luckily though, this is something that can easily be rectified with a sequel, which is thankfully on the way.Previous Next
2. The Last 15 Minutes
Without going too far into spoilers, The LEGO Movie goes somewhere during its third act that quite frankly, no one could have expected it to go. There is a decision made here that could have easily crushed the film immediately, slaughtering all the goodwill it had created up until this point. Astonishingly, it was a brilliant idea that separates The LEGO Movie from a good movie with great fun, into an unforgettable masterpiece that will assuredly go down in history as one of the greatest animated films ever.
Towards the end of the film – for reasons I won’t spoil – it is revealed that the events of the film are the imagination of a child who considers himself to be Emmett, and his father Lord Business. This is also where the motivation for Business begins to make sense, and connect into a much broader and more emotional story. The father doesn’t fancy his child wanting to play around with his meticulously set up LEGO environments. He wants them as they are, or in the case of Lord Business’ nefarious motivations, glued to the ground.
The son has a creative mind and wants to do interesting things with the toys. One could even argue that he wants to play with LEGOs as they were intended to be played with, which is something his father doesn’t understand. Without giving away the entire ending, just understand that viewers of all ages can learn a thing or two from such a weighty, meaningful climax. When people say that The LEGO Movie isn’t just another animated film worth some cheap entertainment, guaranteeing a much deeper message involved, this is the symbolic ending they are referring to.
Major kudos also has to go to Will Ferrell and young Jadon Sand for beautifully illustrating this point.Previous Next
As you can see, everything about The LEGO Movie is awesome. This a film that could have gone very, very wrong, but luckily we had some very talented animators, writers and directors involved that refused to phone it in and make an animated feature by the numbers.
The LEGO Movie is a movie about creativity and how it resides inside each and every one of us. It is hilarious, smart, and full of fantastic characters, but ultimately has something to say about the way we – both children and adults – interact with not just LEGOs, but all the toys in the world around us.
It’s also a movie that to fully appreciate, you’ll definitely need to watch more than once. That isn’t solely referring to the story elements either, but just the sheer amount of jokes, homages, and little action bits that you will almost certainly miss out on the first time. As previously mentioned, this movie doesn’t waste a single second and is littered with something mesmerising at all times.
And for all those reasons and more, The LEGO Movie did not ruin our childhood, thankfully.