An Awesomely Constructed Blockbuster…
A builder learns he is the chosen one who can save the world if he finds the Piece of Resistance.
The Lego® Movie, Official main trailer, Warner Bros Pictures and photographs © Warner Bros. Picture and Roadshow Entertainment
Picture the scene – as you are reading this blog – and imagine me in front of a blazing coal fire while it snows heavily outside. It’s Finland, I’ve cookies baking in the oven and small(ish) children at my feet.
I’m sitting in a big cosy armchair and about to unleash my next review rant on my blog. You have read the title and you are expecting a movie for adults. Possibly starring Hollywood heavyweights such as Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, probably a drama, a Best Picture Oscar and possibly a cameo in it that after major discussion with your fellow film viewers you recognise as a young Kevin Spacey (thanks, darlin’ husband).
However, this isn’t a review for Heartburn (1986). I’m reviewing a kid’s movie that I saw on DVD, it is the imaginatively titled The Lego Movie (2014) because that’s what it is, pure and simple. All kids movies are dubbed into Finnish over here. This is great if you are a Finnish speaking kid and both the adults in your life understand Finnish.
But bad if you, as the adult have little or no understanding of the Finnish language and want to bond with your stepdudes after a really good cinema trip. While your English but fluent Finnish speaking partner goes to watch it with the kids, you have the choice of going to an undubbed version or getting him to explain the plot frame by frame. On the bright side, you can talk about the cameos and the in-jokes because he understands.
Back to the Lego Movie, what can I say apart from its awesome? The use of awesome here alone sending most adults into a schizophrenic type state hearing the Oscar-winning song on a loop in their head. Children are exempt from this auditory hallucination. Accepting it as normal, probably.
The word awesome even transcends cultural differences, and my then 6-year-old fully British niece and my then similarly aged half Brit-Finn stepdude – who was then speaking a lot less English – looked at each other in mutual understanding. This when the word awesome was spoken randomly when I was on Skype with one of the kids and the other kid was hovering about.
In contrast, most adults scream at its mere mention and then cover their ears and run out of the room. Especially if they have flashbacks involving this particular cinema trip as it led to buying the whole film merchandise range…the DVD, the computer console game, the book and their child’s or children’s choice of accompanying Lego set or sets and the bloody cash cow of a Happy Meal.
I remember at one point the stepdudes were also desperate to find Benny in the Lego Minifigure range. Not as simple as buying him individually, the Lego creators make it more fun – the conniving cash hungry bastards – if you buy a random Lego movie character sealed in an opaque bag and you can’t tell what it is… until the first tears of relief or more likely a tantrum. Probably from you.
My similarly aged British peers from the mid 1970s will compare this “joy” to the not so Lucky Dip goodie bag from this time. This also involved getting a mystery gift alongside some misshapen sweets your local confectioner couldn’t sell and/or tasted awful like flying saucers.
In the bag, you always got a spinning top which is fine if you wanted to use it pretending to be Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cobb in Inception (2010). But the film hadn’t been written yet, DiCaprio was barely out of nappies and chances are you wouldn’t have got to see the film anyway being 7 years old.
Back to the Hunt for Benny – which for now all the town parents had turned into a debacle resembling Dahl’s Charlie Bucket et al searching for a golden ticket for Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – alongside other children of all ages, shapes and sizes with the same quest only to find it’s the Crazy Cat Lady yet again…
This is great if you are a girl and like cats, as you will have a shed load of cats and lots of friends for a crazy cat lady to hang out with thus defeating her sole existence… but not if you are a 6 or 8-year-old boy who likes retro and space.
Onto the plot. Are you sitting comfortably then I’ll begin, the Lego animated tale tells of the wizard Vitruvius’s prophecy that the “Special” will protect the Lego world from the evil Lord Business, by stopping the use of his weapon named the Kragle?
Vitruvius is played by Morgan Freeman, and I am sure that on casting that particular wizard there were no other serious contenders for this particular role. Emmett was over enthusiastically played by Chris Pratt.
Pratt who is now probably happy his kids can see him in a movie for a change. His character is a construction worker who follows his daily life following the rules via instructions. One day after work he meets Wyldestyle (Elizabeth Banks) who is looking for something on his building site in a pile of rubble.
Emmett then falls through to another world and inadvertently finds what she’s been searching for, the “piece of resistance” and on joining him the significance of this is explained by Wyldstyle who tells Emmett of the prophecy.. and that he must save the world from being frozen by Lord Business (a dastardly Will Ferrell).
Wyldstyle along with the Master builders want to stop him from doing this. Master Builders are defined as people who make creative, individual objects with Lego, and don’t rely on instructions. Along the way, Emmett and his allies – now including Batman (
Christian Bale Will Arnett) – travel through many Lego worlds.
These Lego dudes meeting a variety of characters but in pursuit is their nemesis, Bad Cop/Good Cop (played with panache by Liam Neeson) who wants to arrest Emmett and take him and his supporters to be frozen by Lord Business and therefore prevent creativity, meanwhile Emmett and his allies want to stop the use of the Kragle…
The film as well as being an adventure movie also has some romance and adult humour. The different worlds lead to different Lego playset plugging adventures for both wee boys and girls.
Romance is at a minimum as more cynical kids watching would pull up their hoodie’ hoods in disgust. Batman as a love interest comes over as a bit of a cad but with a heart. The superhero Lego Minifigures provide lots of comedic moments particularly in the bickering scenes between Superman and the Green Lantern.
As some in-joke casting, they are played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill respectively – they also both starred in 21 Jump Street (2012) – and their roles lead to some laugh out loud comedy moments. The other more recognisable cameos are worth looking out for.
If you are watching a dubbed version of this film their identities can be found on the Internet. So it’s worth getting the English-speaking alongside your locally dubbed DVD version. I’m not going to spoil them for you but give a clue that they are the dudes you’re looking for…
It is a film that will appeal to all ages and genders. It has a nice sparkly rainbow-coloured Cloud Cuckoo Land – where Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie) is ruler in a purrfect role – which would be similar to a Baz Luhrmann movie-inspired Lego set for your daughters.
Others include some random superheroes, skeletons, knights and Wild West themes for your kids. Some random Lego for you from the
1970s 1980s (correction made by point making younger darlin’ husband, 4 years is quite a difference in Lego years).
Sadly, however, I found it ironic that the film advocates that the use of your imagination with Lego makes you awesome and special. Then Many Lego Movie branded playsets and Lego characters were released after the film with their instructions.
This instead of the more adult friendly and pleasant alternative of buying random Lego pieces by the kilogramme which surely encourage their kid’s creativity more than following those instructions. (Or find an adult who can). This the premise which the film hopes to promote.
The kilo of Lego would not only would it prevent major arguments at home if a newly completed Star Wars Death Star (thanks Darlin’ for helping me out with the name from my crap description of the circular thing in the Star Wars movies) is unintentionally (or intentionally) destroyed.
More importantly, random Lego could unleash a kid’s rather that than a movie maker’s imagination and lead to some amazing, dare I say awesome results.. but be prepared to wear headphones and listen to anything to drown out the theme tune in your head and that you will dream in Lego for weeks after this. As you are recuperating, there is news of an upcoming sequel, which is being built somewhere brick by brick….by brick.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 /10 (but your kids wouldn’t cry, but was unexpectedly wee bit soppy so I gulped)
Handsqueeze Rating:: 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10
One Of My All-Time Favourite Cartoons Blogathon, 2016. No 25
This review was added to the My All Time Favourite Cartoons Blogathon as run by Movie, Movie, Blog, Blog. Other reviews with this cast include Love & Mercy (Elizabeth Banks), A Million Ways to Die in the West and Love Actually (Liam Neeson). Chris Pratt also stars in Passengers and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Jonah Hill stars in War Dogs and Will Arnett in The Lego Batman Movie.