When it comes to movies, I’m a really, really critical kind of viewer. The moment the credits start rolling, I start to analyze every tiny bit of a flick, stating out loud whether it worked or didn’t. I comment every casting choice, every piece of scenery and every special effect, no matter how tiny or trivial. When a movie sucks, I’m the first to voice my opinion and give you a dozen reasons why I’m right. I don’t care we’ve changed the topic fifteen minutes ago, you need to know why this was a waste of moving pictures and I will be heard!
When The Lego Movie started rolling, I was prepared to write some piece about how Hollywood turned my fond childhood memories into a mediocre animation movie. Sure, the internet had told me that the movie was pure awesomeness, but what do some peasants on message boards know? How could their opinion be more valid than my own, being the important and brilliant part-time blogger that I am?
Well, turns out that, for once, I could believe the blaring of the sheep. Even better, the praise sung for The Lego Movie is not in proportion to the brilliance of the movie, and here you will find out why!
BE WARNED: HERE BE SPOILERS!
Let me tell you a story about how a little boy plays with Lego. When I was but a little Chin, I had lots of colorful Lego bricks of all shapes and sizes. Not a single birthday or Christmas Eve went by without my brother and me getting new sets as presents. Spaceships, castles, city houses: we had them all. Assembling the sets according to the instructions was one thing we enjoyed very much. Alone or together with our father, we constructed the marvelous creations displayed on the box, just so we could play out the wild adventures we had in our heads. However, what was even more fun than just building “according to the rules”, was building whatever the heck we wanted. Airplanes controlled by mounted knights? Made perfect sense to us! A medieval castle under siege by astronauts? Just another Saturday afternoon to us. Through our Lego pieces, we expressed our creative drive and narrative urges, crafting a story brick by brick. It was free of any sense of order, but filled with the chaotic fantasy of children’s minds.
Why do I tell you all of this? Because The Lego Movie, quite brilliantly, succeeded in bringing this childish storytelling to the big screen. Instead of going for a “clean” story meant to plug some new products, the creators seemed to want to tell a tale that could have come directly from a child playing with a myriad of different themed Lego sets. When our protagonists are in the middle of the Wild West being chased by the bad guy’s henchmen, Batman comes out of nowhere to their rescue. In any other movie, a random twist like that would have felt utterly misplaced, but in a movie about Lego, it felt just right. It’s things like these that make the movie feel like the Lego-induced fantasy of a child, making this film a tribute to everything the brand stands for.
Not does the movie just embody the boundless fantasy of children, it also goes out of its way to show how kids use their toys to cope with real-life problems and how a toy can bridge generations. In a twist during the third act, we discover that the entire movie’s story has just been something played by a kid in his dad’s Lego-filled basement. When the father discovers his son has been messing up the neatly sorted Lego sets, he reacts by telling his child to clean up the mess and put everything back in its place. However, the father discovers what building talent is hidden within the chaotic play-time of his son, and also hears that his OCD-like drive of order and separation has made him the bad guy in his son’s fantasy. Realizing that his son has the same love for Lego, but expresses it in the ways he has forgotten, the father decides to sit down with his child and just bask in the creativity Lego celebrates, without any regard for order.
What would have been a cheap and cheesy element in any other movie is pulled off almost perfect here. It’s a reminder to every generation of what Lego is about, while also giving the narrative a nice additional layer. Add that to the already fantastic choice of voice actors (and the few real-life actors) and you have yourself a movie as unbreakably strong as those two damn Lego pieces you just can’t separate.
Really, I would love to have something to bitch about when it comes to The Lego Movie. It’s hard for me to believe that they’ve succeeded in creating a movie about one of my favorite childhood pastimes without screwing it up. Everything is awesome, and I can simply not find anything about this movie for me to hate.
I still don’t care we’ve changed the topic, because you people need to know how perfect this movie is! Ten out of ten brick Chins!