Movie Review: The LEGO Movie

I’m still uncertain that The LEGO Movie was designed for children.

lego_movieThe Wife recently purchased, as a fundraiser item for our school’s PTA, this coupon book called SaveAround; I had never heard of it.

One of the items in the Albany edition is an opportunity to go to one of the Regal Cinema locations, for free, on one’s birthday. Hmm, I had a birthday coming up, AND I had taken the day off from work, per usual.

Took the bus up to Colonie Center, and indeed got a free pass to see The Lego Movie. I was the first to arrive, and for a time thought that it might be a private showing. Eventually, three parents and a total of five children arrived.

Emmet, the main character, was initially such an unthinking cog in the wheel of society that I found his character mildly depressing. Yet he seemed quite believable as that guy who thinks that fitting in at all costs is actually a good thing. In general, I could not help but think about the bigger societal issues this movie addressed – corporatism, copyright infringement, the banal music industry, vapid television programming, to name a few – while watching this film.

I’m still uncertain that this was a movie designed for children. A lot of the jokes seemed geared towards adults who had grown up with some of the characters. I particularly enjoyed the relationship among Emmet, Wyldstyle, and Batman.

This is an impressive effort. I think it’s easy to take for granted the skill needed to put the thing together. With over 180 characters in the movie, LEGO VP of Design Matthew Ashton noted in a recent interview: “We had a huge chart on the wall of our design studio to keep a record of who had been approved and who was still work in progress.”

That interview, BTW, is in the 28th issue of the Brick Journal, in which one finds everything LEGO: “Many of the figures were designed the same way LEGO does when creating actual toys, being hand-sculpted and 3D-scanned, with accessories created in digital 3D programs, so the movie would look like real LEGO mini-figures had come to life.”

FOX Business news has attacked the movie as being anti-business. If by “business”, it means exploitative, mind-numbing, subsistence-wage paying drudgery, they may have a point, and I suggest that the irony of interchangeable Legos making that connection is part of the humor.

If I didn’t love this quite as much as most of the reviewers, I think it’s that raised expectations thing. But no doubt, this is a very good film.