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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The LEGO Movie

INSPIRED
The LEGO Movie - Inspired

The magic of movies, at least for me, is where a film can take me back to a time in my life where I was happiest and made me feel joy.  It's important that a filmmaker(s) be able to connect with an audience at not only an intellectual level, but also a human level.  Going to the movies is as much an experience as it can be a sanctuary for young and old.  Usually, as we get old, we get more cynical and jaded and there are times that are few and far between where we can remember what it's like to be a kid and simply have fun.  That's how I felt with "The LEGO Movie" an extremely inspired film-going experience that had me laughing, smiling, and nearly crying when it was all said and done.

"LEGO" from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the guys that brought us the hilarious "21 Jump Street" in 2011, channel their inner child and have created a "kids" film that will keep the little ones entertained throughout with explosions, but are still able to create an intelligent film that will have LEGO collectors, or even casual builders, in stitches throughout it's entirety.  The film follows Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, as a stock LEGO-man piece; he loves to follow rules, watch "Where Are My Pants?" (which needs to be a real show by the way) and builds things like couch bunk beds.  Emmet's world is thrown out of whack when he discovers that he's a part of a prophecy to save the world from the evil Lord Business, voiced by Will Ferrell.  To say the least, hijinks ensue, and things blow up a lot.

What really makes "LEGO" special is the attention to detail.  You can tell that Lord and Miller really went out of their way to make the ultimate meta LEGO film.  From the obscure LEGO figurines, to the way things explode into fiery LEGO pieces, and especially how things are built.  We can all remember how awesome it was the first time we built our first spaceship, or even that weird creation that was the cross between a taxi cab, and a bathtub, its all in "LEGO."

Aside from the incredible attention to detail, the voice cast is incredibly impressive.  You can tell that Lord and Miller have an great Roll-O-Dex of people they can contact.  From Nick Offerman to Allison Brie, with a few surprise voices thrown in for good measure, the cast simply seems.....again......inspired.

As I mentioned before, what really gets you as a LEGO fan, or just a fan of storytelling, albeit the overall plot is rather cliche, which I'm sure was the point to begin with, is how the third act of the film is something you really don't see coming.  Again....inspired wouldn't even do it justice.  Just when you think you are simply dealing with a film that just stars yellow building blocks, you'll get the feeling you might have gotten in "Toy Story 3."  Something deep down inside you will tell you "hey, it's okay.....let it out."  I'm not saying that I did, cry that is, but the message is beautiful, and it would be a real shame to ruin it in this review.  It's an unexpected scene that really makes "LEGO" such a great film for not only kids, but the kid inside each and every one of us.

Yes, I'll be one of the first people to say that I scoffed at the notion of a LEGO movie.  Personally, between video games, theme parks, and the actual toys, I was reaching a LEGO saturation point.  Boy was I wrong.  Not only is "LEGO" one of the more thoughtful kids films to come out in a while, but it's also a film that gives you a little hope.  Some hope that people still care about making quality films and still have some original ideas left out there.  Of course this is ironic that both Lord and Miller also helmed "Jump Street," which I also had reservations about before it came out, but it's the way that they paid homage to the original, while still creating a funny and "original" concept.  They do the same for "LEGO" which is by far my most enjoyable film-going experience since "Pacific Rim" in 2013.  Well done guys, and keep UniKitty happy.....you wouldn't want to see her when she's angry.

Fun Fact:  LEGO began manufacturing interlocking bricks in 1949 in Denmark.

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