Back in the 90s, I was a lucky kid who grew up with a big bucket of Legos. For Christmas or birthdays I would sometimes get a little construction set and meticulously labor over the instructions until I had constructed exactly what was on the picture. I took some pride in that. But nothing was better than taking the bucket, dumping it all over the floor and just building whatever came to my mind. It was a mess, complete chaos for anyone who dared step near my construction zone and a few small bricks were sacrificed to the vacuum cleaner. But it was so fun and awesome. That’s what The Lego Movie celebrates, creativity, fun and awesomeness.
In a Lego city, Emmett is an ordinary construction worker. He lives every day by his instructions and thinks everything is awesome. When he stumbles upon The Piece of Resistance, he discovers that he is the chosen one that a prophecy spoke of, and that his world is not as it seems. Ordinary Emmett and a fun crew of Master Builders have to stop Lord Business from using the Kragle to freeze their entire world before Taco Tuesday.
What I love most about The Lego Movie is not the use of Legos to create an animated film, but the fun and silly tone and spirit the film creates. The jokes come fast, often, and will make kids and adults laugh together. The characters talk and interact like how a kid playing with toys would have them do so. Chris Pratt’s Emmett is the fun unlikely hero that any kid would wish to be. Morgan Freeman’s Vitruvius is just as snarky as he is mysterious. Will Arnett’s Batman turns the character on its head who writes his own music (“real” music) about being Batman. Alison Brie’s Princess Uni-Kitty is a cute and creative sort of Incredible Hulk character. And Will Ferrell’s President (and Lord) Business is the perfect bad guy created out of a kid’s view on authority.
One of my favorite scenes is a total spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the movie, just skip this paragraph. Believe me, it’s better this way. Newbies gone? Okay. Anyway, that moment where the son tells his Will Ferrell dad what exactly Emmett would say to Lord Business just gives me all the feels. There, it is most clear how the son’s play world interacts with his home life. Isn’t it wonderful how kids always slip some of their real life into whatever imaginative world they’re creating? Even better is how the father finally realizes how his hobby affects his son and he is willing to change for him…and his younger daughter. The Duplo blocks beaming in like aliens cracked me up every time!
The fact that The Lego Movie was shut out of the Oscar race for best animated picture shocked and angered me. Sure, I bet the Academy could argue that everything being made of Legos could hinder the range of animation, but I don’t think so. Legos are extremely versatile and add to the visual feel of the film. Perhaps they found it juvenile. *Insert fart noise here* Duh, it’s kids’ stuff! But the way The Lego Movie portrays childhood and a kid’s imagination in action is so great, and not just a rip off of what Toy Story has already done. At least it landed a nomination for its song, Everything is Awesome. As silly as that song is, I really do love it, and find myself singing it often.
There is an old bucket of Legos up in my attic, waiting for my son and I plan to get him some toddler safe blocks for his birthday. I can’t wait for him to be old enough to build, create, play and let his imagination run wild with them for hours. I’ll gladly join him, help him fish out any certain brick he might need and endure the pain of stepping on a rogue brick now and then. Of course, I will be adding The Lego Movie to our personal blu-ray collection for him.
“The only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that you can be. I know that sounds like a cat poster but it’s true.”