The LEGO Movie (2014)

Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

The LEGO Movie is a prime example of why movie theater owners are right to complain about trailers. I felt like I saw the movie and was ready to love it before I even walked in the door. Imagine my disappointment when it ended up being different than the advertising campaign.

This is where I say, I never owned a LEGO set so I don’t have a particular affinity for the game, although I do understand the appeal of it. I’m not saying this is a bad movie; the wry, LEGO, humor that I’ve come to love from all my time playing the video games his here in full force. The problem is, I felt like I was watching a 2 hour long video game trailer and not an a real movie.

The super shiny animation style started to give me a slight headache. The sheen on the yellow and lighting affects were so bright that at times it felt like I was staring at the sun. Never thought I’d say this, but I would have welcomed bad 3D to dull it a bit.

Written by committee, the story is so convoluted that it is both wonderful and unnerving at the same time. It is as if a 10-year old boy was in his bedroom playing with LEGOs (or GI Joe Pieces) told this story as a stream of conscious exercise. The 3rd act “twist” only cemented this feeling and completely killed any sense of fun or whimsy in the movie. Yes, it was done to give the film some weird kind of “heart” that parents could relate to, but I found it cold, calculating and cheesy.

What is this film trying to teach kids? The main bad guy is subtly named Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and his whole reason for being evil is that he hates all the chaos that individuality and creativity brings.

This is why master builders like Batman (Will Arnett), the incredibly awesome Wildestyle (Elizabeth Banks), the cute and cuddly Unikitty (Alison Brie) and a host of other cameo appearances from Superman to Gandalf, are “evil” in the eyes of Lord Business. He wants order, darn-it and will destroy all the various Lego Worlds to get it.

I was fine with this moral message until the wretched third act where hero Emmet’s (Chris Pratt) solution to the problem was to force all the master builders to suppress their individuality and work as a team by following his plan “to the letter.” How is this a good moral lesson for kids? I won’t even get into the ridiculous, movie destroying “cameo” at the end.

The voice acting was actually decent. I liked that the producers, for the most part, didn’t pick well-known voices. This made Morgan Freeman’s sage character Vitruvius all the more annoying. Every time he spoke it took me out of the film.

I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy this movie on a basic level, because it was hysterically funny in small doses, but it doesn’t work as an actual movie and completely falls apart in the end.

Reprinted by permission of the author.

Originally appeared in Eclipse Magazine.

http://eclipsemagazine.com/Movies/44240/attachment/legomovieposter/

Michelle Alexandria has been writing reviews for EclipseMagazine.com since 1997. Her reviews have been seen or quoted from on many of the top entertainment and film websites on the Web. She's most famous for her infamous trio of reviews for "Lord of the Rings" and saying the series lacked a little thing called "believability." She was the one critic in the crowd who hated "Titanic" and laughed out loud in the theater when Jack died. She walked out of "Magnolia" and "A.I." To this very day she avoids getting her picture taken for fear of LOTR fanboys recognizing her. They still pop up and say "This is the woman who hated LOTR, what does she know?" One of these days, she's going to collect every piece of hate mail for an entire year and put it into book form. In another life she has been a freelance Consumer Tech reporter for The Washington Post and UPI. Her first book, "Tell Us Who You Are - The EclipseMagazine.com Interviews," will be published this fall and available in fine bookstores — just about everywhere.