By Cameron Heffernan
It’s been a while since we dove into the annals of “Movies That Rule”. The Lego Movie, provides an easy reason to add another to our arbitrary movie rating system/hall of fame?
With a Summer Blockbuster you expect explosions, romance, peril, and resolve. You also expect top notch (or sub-par but serviceable) acting and, well… The movie to be released during the summer and it to feature real, or at least CGI-d-to-look real things.
The Lego Movie, has all that and more. A lot more. And It was only released in February.
You wouldn’t think that something as throw away as Lego would be good movie material (or a stable of successful video games, too). Let alone, movie material that evolves character and plot points better than say, any action blockbuster that’s been released in the last however-many-years. Things like Transformers, Fast 5 & 6, The Avengers, and so on and so forth, haven’t made you feel for characters the way this movie does at it’s climax, and they’re LEGOS!
Lego Movie is, on it’s surface, the same as any other really well animated cartoon you see. It’s shiny, it has running jokes for kids to enjoy and myriad slapstick jokes that are odd to laugh at, cause slapstick requires someone else to experience real pain. A Lego’s pain is something you can not empathize with, but it’s still funny nonetheless.
What LEGO Movie does that puts a dash of humanity to it, is well bring you into the human world.
You progress through the film with the idea that, like the video games, you’re looking at a universe that operates with character cannon (i.e. Batman, Superman, The Lord of The Rings, etc.) just everything is Lego. It’s the same Batman (Will Arnett) you love – with the dead parents and the crippling addiction to crippling people – but he’s an adorable Lego set. You’re introduced to Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), a construction worker in the Lego world. Construction consists of building things, blowing them up and then rebuilding them in the morning – like a never ending hell-loop of Lego construction. Emmet meets WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks), after his never ending hell-loop, while she’s searching ruins for an ancient artifact. All is set into motion, when Emmet is the one who finds the artifact and becomes the “special”, or for Matrix fans, “The One” (Or Jet Li fans, if you know what I mean).
Like any action movie, they have to overcome obstacles and band together with teamwork to achieve their greater purpose in their films existence. Morgan Freeman is the voice of the all-knowing and “virtuous” wizard, Vitruvius, Will Ferrell is everywhere and the bad guy and all their celeb friends banded together to make one hell of a LEGO film. It’s funny for anyone and everyone, and if you dislike it you’re an asshole. And that’s coming from someone (myself) who’s an asshole, and who doesn’t like anything.
Now, before we get into the meat of this, I must say, SPOILER ALERT !!!! to what I’m about to discuss ahead.
Now, that that’s out of the way, on to the meat:
In the end, you learn, that all that you’ve been watching is the imagination of a young child. This young boy is playing with his father’s perfectly crafted and super elaborate Lego sets. The young boy, who has been behind the storyline of the Evil “Lord Business” (Will Ferrell) who never lets anyone build what they want out of all the Lego in Lego City. Is in fact, about how the kids father “Lord Business” or “The Man Upstairs”, won’t let the actual kid explore his abilities with crafting Lego. From what the kid crafts throughout the movie, including the pirate, Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), it would appear that he’s some sort of Lego savant. Like a Raymond Babbitt of foot mangling mini-construction toys.
It’s endearing in the end, as you watch the child go from afraid of what his father might think about his creations. To the fact that his father finally sees what he’s crafted and learns to move on from the obsessive placed signs that read “do not touch” and “keep away”. There’s a point as Ferrell is arguing with his kid, he says, “these aren’t toys,” to which his kid responds. “But, they kind of are? I mean, this ones box reads ages 8-14”. As someone who refrains from nostalgia, it’s a nice reminder that it’s a necessity to feel human. Ferrell’s disdain to anyone touching his Lego’s, his own son even, is a sign of him wanting to keep the nostalgia of his achievements past. To change it would interfere with his remembering of a past event that makes him feel good. The Lego’s and their perfection act as his time capsule.
We’re all lost on the way to our collectibles, and convention exclusives, our time capsules if you will. They’re just toys, nothing more, nothing less. And the idea of keeping them in “mint condition” and “how much they’re worth” in the end is preposterous, and sounds a death knell to your childhood sense of wonder. Most things that have worth, you can never find a buyer for. And when you do, they’ll never pay the price you’re looking for. Someone told you that Boba Fett was worth $500, well get ready to be low-balled by anyone and everyone, and then sell it for a fraction of that $500. There’s no imagination in those endeavors. Last time I checked though, toys, fantasy, Legos, all of it. Was about imagination.
Lego Movie with it’s pseudo-twist ending, although a child’s movie about exploding Legos and shiny things , is also a lesson in not forgetting your imagination and allowing creativity to flourish. Even if it’s at the expense of something that’s been the norm for your entire life.
And if all that isn’t worth it, then Charlie Day as a space man that just wants to build a space ship is well worth the $12. Anything with Charlie Day is though.