The Lego Movie — Review and Personal Reflection

This was a great film – perhaps not as good as it’s hyped up to be, but good nonetheless.

The story is primarily about Emmett, a Lego construction worker living in a world ruled by the villainous Lord Business (who is voiced by Will Farrell, a fact which has a surprising amount of importance for the film). Emmett is completely ordinary; in fact, so ordinary that no one can remember him or distinguish him. Lord Business plans to end the world by gluing the entire world together with the Kragle (Krazy Glue), aided by his henchman, Bad Cop.

Inexplicably, Emmett comes upon the Piece of Resistance, the only thing that can foil the Kragle. He then must journey into the heart of Lord Business’s tower, with the aid of the Master Builders (Lego figures capable of great creative construction feats) Wyldstyle, Batman, Vitruvius, Unikitty, and that 80’s Space Guy.

First the bad: Wyldstyle and Emmett have a romantic arc that I’m really sure was there only cause every other story of this kind has that arc (though it only culminates in them holding hands). I really didn’t care for this arc, and it was quite cliché. On another point, there were a number of weird beneficial coincidences that occurred from time to time (such as the Millennium Falcon suddenly appearing). Sometimes these were justified, sometimes they were essential to the plot moving forward, other times they were so little I wondered why they were in there at all. It was as though they were concocted by a child…

…but that’s okay, for reasons I can’t say (spoilers!). On the good side of things, the gags were hilarious. Although the whole story followed the typical “you are the chosen one who must defeat evil” plot (complete with prophecy, delivered rather tongue-in-cheek by Vitruvius in the first moments of the film), the film subverts it in a number of ways. One of the more comical subversions: after Wyldstyle saves Emmett from Bad Cop and begins the typical history lesson exposition speech, Emmett totally fazes out of the conversation, hearing “blah blah blah, I’m so hot, blah blah blah….” Most importantly, at Emmett’s lowest point, the film completely shifts gears, changing how one perceives everything about the story.

This is a film for all ages. It’s action-packed and silly for the kids, but also deep and subversive for the adults.

But if there’s anything to make this a great film, it’s the film’s themes: anyone can be great, everyone can be creative, the world/Lego isn’t for keeping in strict, glued-together confines, but rather to be explored and played with.

 

This film made me want to play with Legos. It also made me consider my own play style: there was one scene in the film where several Master Builders are building together, and Batman says something like, “if you have any black pieces, I need them,” which reminded me of times when I would build Legos with my siblings; also, the entire idea of gluing together Lego pieces made me think.

I don’t like playing Legos with people much. I’m kinda a control freak when it comes to playing and building with Legos. But I’m not the kind to glue pieces – though I often do wish to immortalize my creations, often through photography – creating new things is something I enjoy a lot (as I suppose anyone who’s read this blog can tell). But I don’t interact well. I suppose I could if I and some partner planned what to build and what to do with it before we even started, and I didn’t have to worry about unexpected divergences from my plans, or any…silliness. By silliness I mean the sort of unbounded imagination pouring out of a small child’s mind, unrestrained and untrained in the art of the narrative, and the small child creates Mary Sue characters that beat up everyone and everything they “see.”

It makes me wonder what I’m going to do if I have small children of my own. I’ll have to deal with this…silliness, most likely, but my potential children will certainly play with Legos. I want them to discover, like Emmett, that everyone is creative, everyone can be special.

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One thought on “The Lego Movie — Review and Personal Reflection

  1. Rob says:

    Good review! Makes me want to go see the movie again!
    ==

    One of the most difficult aspects of raising children is that ultimately you give them the power to destroy everything you have created, whether it be the Lego masterpiece on the basement table or the reputation you’ve worked so long to establish. Every parent needs a healthy does of humility.

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