Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Lego Movie Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/the-lego-movie-review-72f7dbe877e7

I wasn't expecting to see The Lego Movie because the trailers for it made it look like another generic kid's movie. In a word, they were terrible. However, some of my friends who had seen it came back gushing about it being the best movie they had seen in years. My impression of the movie was somewhere in between: it is definitely worth seeing, but in no way is it a must-see.

The beginning of the movie was pretty bland, and I found myself wondering how long until we were going to get to those emotional moments I had been told about (hint: those obviously come in the second half of the movie). I did appreciate the way that it made fun of the way people seem to mindlessly follow pop culture, listening to whatever songs are on the radio and watching the same TV shows as everyone else. It was like a hipster's worst nightmare.

The plot set itself up as a classic good-vs-evil story, but it ended up becoming an argument over how people should play with their Legos. The movie sets up the concept of following the instructions as the way the bad guys do it, while the "master builders" who take the pieces and come up with their own creations as the good guys. This left me pretty conflicted because I have taken great care to keep my Lego sets preserved over the years. Granted, I didn't just leave them on my shelf for my whole childhood, but after every battle I made sure to put everything back together the way they were supposed to be. Speaking of which, almost all of the Legos that I have are Star Wars sets, and I was pretty disappointed when they only received a small cameo in the movie.

Most of the movie was computer animated, but they went to great lengths to imitate the style and aesthetics of brickfilms. They even went so far as to make it seem like it was stop-motion and used miniature versions of sets to simulate distant shots, both of which were great touches. Because physics was a complete non-issue the action sequences were very over-the-top and a little hard to follow because everything moved so fast.

The thing that I got the most out of the movie was its great sense of humor. I laughed my way through most of the movie, and even the serious parts had just that little touch of silliness to keep my attention from wandering. The voice acting was also phenomenal, but with a cast like that I would expect nothing less.

Ultimately you will get the most out of The Lego Movie if you have a history with Legos. It was a good movie, but I'm not planning on seeing it again soon.