Lego Constructs a Hilarious Blockbuster
Issue   |   Tue, 02/11/2014 - 22:41
wwww.forbes.com
If you expect “The Lego Movie” to be a Lego advertisement or a simple children’s film, you’re in for a real surprise.

I’ve been deliberating how to start this review for a while. I’m incredibly tempted to break all conventions of professionalism, click the caps lock key and scream at the top of my lungs about my love for this movie. You know what? Screw it. Forgive me until the end of this paragraph. THE LEGO MOVIE WAS AMAZING! I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” NONSTOP! It was one of the funniest, most heartfelt films I’ve ever seen. I hadn’t laughed so loud and cried (yes, actual tears) in a theater in … well, ever. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

Now, some of you are reading this review to confirm the absurdly high score that “The Lego Movie” has received on rotten tomatoes (currently 96%). It deserves it, go see the movie and then go about your lives knowing that the world has improved just a little bit. Others may be reading this review looking to be convinced as to why a movie clearly made either for five year olds, marketing executives or both could possibly be anything other than a sign of the continual decline of Hollywood. In fact, “The Lego Movie” has surprisingly adult humor and is incredibly self-aware of the perceptions surrounding the concept. And lastly, for those of you who flipped to this article accidentally in a rush for the latest news on the administration or athlete spotlight: see the movie. No matter who you are, you will not regret it.

This blockbuster’s story focuses on Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary construction worker. Following the plans of President Business (Will Ferrell), Emmett lives a life built off of corporate instructions and rules: he buys overpriced coffee, he is distracted from politics by stupid TV shows and loves the #1 hit “Everything is Awesome,” which extolls the virtues of losing your individuality and complying with society. Yet, under the façade of awesomeness, Lord Business wants perfect order and zero creativity and plans to unleash his ultimate weapon, the Kraggle, on Taco Tuesday. Ignored by his co-workers, Emmet can’t help but stick out and accidentally stumbles upon WyldStylz (Elizabeth Banks) who is searching for something on his construction site. Chasing after her, Emmett falls into a hole and discovers the piece de resistance, the one piece fabled to defeat Lord Business.

Fulfilling a prophecy foretold by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Emmett supposedly becomes the Special, the most important and interesting person in the world. After escaping the city and going to various other locales (based off of actual Lego sets), the three, along with Batman (Will Arnett), set out to connect the piece de resistance with the Kraggle and save the world. Along the way, they meet master builders, famous characters like Superman or William Shakespeare who don’t have to follow the instructions to build.

The humor in this film is second to none. The movie is filled with fast-paced pop-culture references, puns and allusions to underlying problems in society. None of it seems forced. Yes, there are a lot of different Lego people shoved in from different places in media history (The Millennium Falcon makes an appearance) but honestly, it’s all so absurdly funny. The only problem I actually found with the film is that there are so many good jokes at such a fast pace that, if you laugh too much, you might miss a new favorite moment.

Written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, “The Lego Movie” could easily have been a sell-out film promoting the various Lego sets and toys. Yet, in their hands, this movie has become a parable against modern consumerism and conformity. The writing gives the film incredible awareness on the perception that the viewer had on the idea of a movie based on Legos. Because of this, they were able to dispel any notion that this movie was designed simply to advertise the brand. The film’s ending, which I can’t talk about despite the fact that I desperately want to, is also one of the most brilliant plot points I’ve ever seen. The end of the script was not only perfectly thought out and placed but frankly made me and all the other people I saw it with sob.

“The Lego Movie” actually hits on real world issues relevant to all of us: the blinding distraction of unintelligible TV, corporate control of every facet of our society (ironic for the movie’s concept) and the fundamentally human need to both be special and fit in to society. Fox News even called the movie “anti-business,” so you know it must have said something poignant.
Ultimately, “The Lego Movie” is a film that will be unfortunately dismissed by many. Those who will most enjoy its anti-consumerist message will see it as a way to sell small susceptible children to buy toys. Those who would understand the moral that we should care more about the people around us and love ourselves will be pushed away by the perception that it’s mindless and too colorful to be substantive. And all of us who will not only get but also actually love the lovingly constructed humor, writing and heart in this movie will see “the Lego Movie” as juvenile. But, if given a chance to prove itself as more than a marketing push, this film is one of the funniest and most meaningful movies that has been released in a very long time.

Also, Batman is in it. So that’s a great reason to go too.

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