The story of a nobody who saved everybody.
The LEGO Movie is a 2014 animated comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, produced by Warner Animation Group, Lin Pictures, LEGO Group, Vertigo Entertainment, and Village Roadshow Pictures, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film stars Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks. The film was nominated for Best Original Song, but did not win. This is the first movie in the LEGO universe. It is directly followed by The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, but two spin-off films (The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie) were released.
"Come with me if you want to not die." -Wyldstyle
Emmet Brickowski is a normal, happy construction worker. He is used to the style and routine of life that everyone is Bricksburg keeps up with. When Emmet meets a beautiful woman named Wyldstyle, he joins the Alliance, a group of master builders that try to fight the evil Lord Business. Lead by the wizard Vitruvius, Emmet and the master builders try to prevent Lord Business from destroying the citizens of Bricksburg with the ultimate weapon: the Kragle.
The most obvious and best thing about this film is the animation. The film is entirely made out of LEGOs. All of the sets. All of the characters. The explosions, the water, the buildings. Everything is animated with such detail. I don't exactly know if they just animated everything to look like LEGOs, or if they used real LEGO sets and did some kind of thing that made the characters and vehicles move. Whatever they did, it is absolutely insane. The way that the characters move and fight and walk all stays within what a LEGO is actually able to do. Their body parts don't bend. They stay stiff the entire time. The attention to detail is just amazing and shows how much work the animators put into this film. The explosions, water, and gunshots are the coolest part, though. It looks like a mimicked explosion, but clearly in LEGO. It is crazy.
The movie is also surprisingly funny. Emmet is an idiot for pretty much the entire film, but he's a funny idiot. The double-decker couch is hilarious. The comedy is very well written and comes at just the right time. Batman is also very funny. However, I think that Lord Business is the funniest character in the movie. Yes, he's a villain, but he's voiced by Will Ferrell, and his lines are absolutely hysterical. The scene where Lord Business meets with Bad Cop for the first time is so funny. The way that Business pronounces the human items makes you cry-laugh.
The world-building is great both literally and figuratively. I already talked about the animation, but the rest of the world-building is amazing. In the first scene with Emmet, we learn the rules and routine of this place without any real exposition. They showed us what happens instead of telling us what happens, which is great storytelling. They continue to do that throughout the film, and when there is exposition, we do it in the middle of a thrilling chase sequence. You are never bored during this movie, which is great.
Emmet Brickowski is also a good character. Usually, in movies, our main protagonist is a superhero that is morally above everyone else or has something special. Sometimes they are incredibly brave or super strong. They almost always stand for something or have great leadership skills. Emmet doesn't have any of that. He is a normal person. They make sure to constantly remind us of that throughout the runtime, but that is so interesting. He does exactly what any average person would do if they were shoved into this situation, albeit with a little less intelligence than expected. He is relatable because he isn't a hero. He is just the Average Joe. He follows a certain set of rules, he is scared and nervous when he learns that he is being pursued by the most powerful man in the world, and he doesn't have great leadership skills. It showcases that not every hero has superpowers or money. Sometimes, a hero is just a regular person.
The voice cast is great. I know almost everyone in this cast, and they fit their characters perfectly. Chris Pratt is always kind of an idiot. Emmet suits him perfectly and fits the likes of Andy Dwyer and Star-Lord. Elizabeth Banks is the badass female lead and plays her like the powerful character that she is. Wildstyle and Emmet have great chemistry together, which is another thing that makes the film so likable. Morgan Freeman is always a wiser, older mentor, whether it's God in Evan Almighty, or, on the other end of the spectrum, William Somerset in Se7en. Will Ferrell is hilarious as previously mentioned. Liam Neeson is the hard-boiled cop who is chasing down Emmet, representative of his roles in his crazy action movies that he always does. We have some great voice cameos as well, whether it's Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, Channing Tatum as Superman, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Billy Dee Williams as Lando, and more. The cast elevates this movie to another level, adding on to the greatness.
The ending of this film is pretty great. The stuff with "The Man Upstairs" is really cool. Everything has a nice payoff and fits into place. You suddenly understand that Lord Business is The Man Upstairs, which makes the film take on a whole different meaning. The film isn't really about Lord Business using the Kragle. It's about a son trying to convince his father to let him play with LEGOs. Watching this as a 14 year old instead of an 8 year oldies change your perspective a little bit. I think that the cuts between the LEGO world and the real world is a really clever way to finish off the film, and we get a pretty funny gag at the end to cap it off.
Lastly, I think that this film has a really rich theme that resonated with me when I watched it this time around. The theme is that everyone is special, no matter what you've done or where you come from. It really does a good job of giving that to the audience in little doses until we get the final confrontation between Emmet and Lord Business. This movie shows that regular people can do whatever they want if they just believe. Belief is a strong element of this film's theme. This may be a movie about walking bricks that want to stop a bigger walking brick from using glue, but all of those walking bricks make sure to let you know that everyone can be special.
The biggest overall problem with the film is the story. Obviously, this is a kids movie, so the story isn't really that important, because it is meant to be simple enough for 6-year olds. But it is a little bit too simple and too cliche. For a movie that has deep themes and deep ideas about society, the story is very surface level. There isn't any depth to anything. It's about a prophecy and the Chosen One who has to stop the evil villain from destroying the world. The next time I watch it, I'm going to watch it thinking about this as a son trying to get his dad to let him play with LEGOs instead of following Emmet as the Chosen One and Lord Business as the mustache-twirling villain. I was a little disappointed with that, because this movie would've reached the top tier if they had put a little more work into the story.
I don't think Vitruvius' death works at all. I get the story moment for it, but we've seen the characters survive much worse. Emmet's entire body came apart when he was falling down the hole to get the piece of resistance. I know that I am watching a movie about LEGOs, but each world in a movie has to have rules. If you establish a set of rules inside of that world, you can't break them. It feels like Virtuvius' death breaks those rules, unfortunately.
Lastly, I do think that they went a bit too far with Emmet's character. I know I said that I liked that he was an Average Joe, but they overuse it a bit. He kind of accepts it and doesn't do anything about it for the middle part of the movie, and pretty much everyone hates him for it. That makes all of the characters very unlikable for the middle third of the film, and that definitely lowers the entertainment value.
The LEGO Movie is not perfect. The story is shallow and the characters aren't likable for a little bit, but the voice cast, animation, and rich themes inside of the movie make it a fun, easy watch.
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 4+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
"The LEGO Movie"
Fun Factor: 8/10
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Released on February 7, 2014
Rated PG for animated violence and action, disturbing themes and images
1 hour and 40 minutes
Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowski
Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle
Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius
Will Ferrell as Lord Business
Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty
Will Arnett as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop
Nick Offerman as Metalbeard
Charlie Day as Benny
Channing Tatum as Clark Kent/Superman
Jonah Hill as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern
Cobie Smulders as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Jadon Sand as Finn
Will Forte as Abraham Lincoln
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
Shaquille O'Neal as Himself