Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Lego Movie

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Okay, Rev., you either review this movie or build some Lego stuff...I'll go against my better instincts and review.







The Lego Movie – 5 out of 5


Let’s cut right to it:  Lego is AWESOME!!!  They were a major part of my childhood and still remain a permanent facet in my life as an adult.  I still have all my old sets and like bringing them out of storage every now and then to take a gander at the creations I once built and, admittedly, will take them apart to see what I can make now.  Hell, even as an adult with bills and responsibility like keeping kids off my lawn, I still occasionally purchase sets to display proudly in my home—sets like my Star Wars Star Destroyer.  I can’t even hit the mall or retail stores without making sure to visit the Lego store or going to the toy aisle and staring with wide-eyed wonder at all the sets they have now and how far they’ve come since I was a kid.  The licensed sets particularly catch my fancy because so many of them are from properties I’m already obsessed with; for example, Star Wars, SpongeBob, The Lord of the Rings and now the Simpsons’ household that was just introduced.  Lego is, arguably, one of the greatest toys ever created because whether you use the instructions or just use your imagination, you make something awesome!  It’s this reason and more that I was a little more than excited when this film was announced.  Then the movie just had to go and hit my expectations and go even further beyond them…gee, thanks for being super awesome, movie!

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Hell yeah, Michelangelo is in it!!!
Also, the crash test dummy Lego guy looks like he has nipples.


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Anyone else hear "Dream Weaver" when they look
at Wyldstyle?

In the world of Lego, Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just an average guy working a construction job and trying to follow the instructions and get people to like him.  However, little does he know, the president of all things Lego; Lord Business (Will Ferrell), is tired of things not going his way and gets a hold of the ultimate weapon; The Kragle, and will soon lay waste to the world.  However, the great Master Builder Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) spoke of a prophecy where the Chosen One (called the Special), the greatest builder of all, will rise up and stop the Kragle.  Emmet, after discovering the Piece of Resistance, is on his way to be the Special but is hunted by Lord Business’ forces; forces being led by the evil Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).  However, a secret collection of Master Builders get together to protect Emmet and see him hit his destiny.  Emmet, together with the free spirit bad girl Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), the iconic Batman (Will Arnett), that half cat/half unicorn Unikitty (Alison Brie), the spaceman Benny (Charlie Day), the wildest pirate in all of existence Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) and Vitruvius, set out to stop Lord Business and bring freedom to the world of Lego!

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Lord Business keeps his coffee mug close...for business purposes.


I know that just reading that synopsis makes The Lego Movie sound insane but let me assure you this…It sucks.  HA HA, just kidding, it’s flippin’ awesome!  I honestly believe that this film is as close to perfection as an animated film can get.  There was literally nothing about the film that I didn’t enjoy.  I mean it…NOTHING!  Everything about the movie is super top notch and it all comes together to make something that, in my opinion, will live on for a long time.  And if it doesn’t, I’m crushing skulls.

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Crushing skulls with that smile on my face.


From beginning to end, this movie is filled with such talent, wonder, joy, and humor that it is practically impossible for me to put one element over the other because everything from the writing, the jokes, the animation and the voice acting (just to name a few) all work together in perfect harmony…but since I have to start somewhere, I start with the voice acting…

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In Lego World, the coffee cups stare back at you with mild amusement.


A terrible cast in your animated film can instantly toss a viewer out of a movie…unless you’re a kid, maybe.  The Lego Movie handled this department incredibly because there wasn’t a single disappointing actor that wasn’t giving their all to their individual roles.  Elizabeth Banks embodied the slightly arrogant, occasionally jealous and completely focused and free-spirited (at the same time somehow) character that was Wyldstyle.  Morgan Freeman embodied the mentor character of Vitruvius.  Liam Neeson brought the growling henchmen to life as Bad Cop (and pulled triple duty as Bad Cop’s father and Bad Cop’s alter-ego Good Cop) and Chris Pratt was, 100%, the innocent Emmet who is shying away from taking on his destiny but eventually coming into his own and become the man he is suppose to be. 

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I am a big fan of Chris Pratt and I'm glad he's getting the roles he's getting.
Fun Fact:  There was no computer effects with Emmet, Pratt was literally
inside the computer playing him.  He's just that talented.


Honestly, I can’t say one actor was better than another in this film because everyone is amazing.  Will Arnett not only sounds like how Batman is stereotypically portrayed but he was able to deliver the dark voice with the humor needed for the film.  Charlie Day is as good as he always is playing the 80s spaceman.  Alison Brie is bubbly as the cat/unicorn abomination unto God; Unikitty, and Will Ferrell is hilarious and charismatic as the villain Lord Business.  And I didn’t even get to all the extra side-characters that come in and out of Emmet’s story and the actors who portrayed them.  Actors like Channing Tatum, Anthony Daniels, Dave Franco, Will Forte, Jonah Hill, Keegan-Michael Key, Shaq, Jorma Taccome…even when the character has a single line they are brought to life like they are the center stage and brought to life in a way that made the Lego world a colorful one, a fun one and, most of all, a believable one.  Well…believable in the sense that if a Lego world existed, the actors portrayed the characters in a way that it is exactly how you would think the people of such a world would act like...if that makes sense.
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I probably own at least a dozen spacemen that look just like Benny...but they
don't sound like Charlie Day.  They sound like Fran Drescher.


When you think about it, how hard must it have been to bring life to characters that are basically pieces of limited movement plastic?  That’s where the voice acting and the animation end up playing so well together…

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Arnett...a better Batman than Clooney.


Using a combination of 3D and stop-motion animation, The Lego Movie ends up being unlike anything that has come before in the world of animation.  The integration of these two elements is completely seamless and makes the entire film look like non-stop stop-motion.  It’s quite breathtaking to see the scale this film comes with and the attention to detail is awe-inspiring and oozes even more creativity in a film that is already overflowing with rich creativity...rich, savory creativity.  The nature effects being “Lego-ized” is simply incredible.  I dare you to stop your jaw from dropping when you see the Lego explosions, the Lego water, the Lego fire and the Lego smoke.  The way the animators unfolded these simple but important parts to the narrative really made the film unique and ended up creating humor and something amazing during something as simple as our heroes bobbing helplessly in the middle of a gigantic Lego ocean.

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The Lego Movie
has caused me to find nothing but disappointment in the world
around me due to the fact nothing in nature is constructed of Lego.


And then there’s the humor…

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Also the Taco Tuesdays...there's the humor and the Taco Tuesdays.


To say that The Lego Movie is funny is to put it so simple that you might as well be comparing Lego blocks to…whatever Lego rip-off you can buy at the dollar store.  The fact that this film is hysterical should really be no surprise because the writer/director team that gave us Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and its sequel) and the surprisingly hilarious 21 Jump Street; Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, were the ones responsible for it..  These men, combined with the writers Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman (call it a hunch, but I think they’re related), ended up making a film that covered all types of comedy without resorting to an hour and a half of brick jokes or missing pieces gags.  Whether it be the sharp parody they take the direction of Batman or the absurdist bits thrown in here and there or the non sequiturs that will pop up among the dialogue that is coated in jokes and one-liners, this movie runs the entire spectrum of humor that has been invented over the years…hell, they might have even created new types of humor unseen by Earthling eyes or heard by Earthling ears. 

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Speaking of ears...how do Lego men hear?


The Lego Movie is a non-stop ride of hilarity that only slows down to make minor detours towards the heartwarming side with the characters’ travels.  Sometimes when comedies do this, it can feel tacked on and can take away from the sounds of laughter that was, just minutes ago, firing out of your word-hole like a machine gun but, thanks to incredible writing, this film is able to be extremely hilarious and be warm and sweet at the same time.  Blending these emotions so perfectly made the film an honest-to-goodness joyful experience and a film that can truly be enjoyed by the entire family.

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Morgan Freeman plays a hippie Lego man.  Nothing about that last sentence
was not awesome.


I will go as far as to say that The Lego Movie is perfect.  The animation is mind-bogglingly great and looks tremendous, the voice acting involves actors that feel like they were grown and harvested in a laboratory that got a grant to make them for the sole purpose of doing voices for The Lego Movie, the film is fantastically hilarious and isn’t too adult for children and isn’t too dumb for adults, and the story is unique, creative and filled with child-like imagination.  The film is the ultimate metaphor for the toys the film is about.  The only thing they forgot was to add in the pain one endures when you step on a brick barefoot in the dark of the night.

4 comments:

  1. My wife absolutely lost it when she realized the staff carried by Morgan Freeman's wise old avatar was a chewed up lollipop. I think she may have left a puddle on the theater seat.

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    1. I didn't even realize that until the second time I saw it. The level of creativity this film had is just unbelievable!

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  2. I fully agree, 10/10. I was nice to see someone use stop-motion animation again. It's not a contemporary technique anymore but it still works and this is the perfect example of that. And that's just one thing I found great. Like I said 10/10, I couldn't find a damn thing wrong with it.

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    Replies
    1. Everything truly IS awesome in this film! :)

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