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.