For the last couple of years, basically since the birth of our youngest, we haven’t really been watching many movies. It isn’t even that we watch a lots of kids movies because both our kids tend to prefer watching a couple episodes of Dinosaur Train, Curious George, Clifford, or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood than putting in a movie. There was a slight exception to this when Ryan found and subsequently memorized the trailer to The Lego Movie on Amazon Prime.
Since he went and did this we wound up buying it for his birthday and sitting down and watching it together. That was a little over a month ago, but I figured I would give my belated thoughts on The Lego Movie.
The main characters reminded me more than a little of The Matrix. You have the “the Special” aka “the One” (Emmett) who is supposedly the answer to a prophecy given by the mentor figure (Vitruvius) and the butt kicking female co-lead/love interest (Wyldsyle). So you basically have Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity in a LEGO world with some other supporting characters one of which is Batman.
In terms of antagonists though, this doesn’t quite parallel as nicely. The enemy is Lord Business who is seeking to use a mighty weapon called “The Kragle” to eliminate the chaos of the LEGO world and create order and stability. Along with right hand man, Bad Cop they seek to put an end to the resistance of Master Builders who are capable of building great things out of the Lego pieces around them.
So let’s start with the good stuff about The Lego Movie. I thought that many of the themes in the movie were pretty well done. Overall, I would say the main theme was the dual reality of individuality and the ability to work together as a team. There are not too many movies that I have seen that emphasize both of these aspects. The movies shows that both pure conformity to what is going on around you will only lead to destruction and that rampant individuality will lead to the same result.
The vast majority of the people in the Lego world are conforming to the lifestyle presented by the corporations run by Lord Business, who is ultimately plotting against them. However, the Master Builders who have been attempting to resist Lord Business have failed to stop him. Over time you learn that they don’t really work together very well. They are all so uniquely talented that they have poor teamwork and any idea that has the notion of conformity is dismissed. While near the end it does trend towards the idea of everyone can build something, it seemed to be more presented as the ability to think outside of the box, or in this case the Lego instructions and to enjoy and let others enjoy the art of creating whether beginner or Master Builder.
Beyond themes that I thought were largely well done, the movie is pretty funny. Now honestly, I felt that many of the best parts were done in the trailer and that’s a bit of a shame, but there were still some fairly funny moments that weren’t included. There will be laughs for both kids and adults, although very little of the double entendre type that may make some parents a bit uneasy.
These are the good aspects of the film. There were some things I felt that were a bit disappointing. The story honestly feels a bit lacking. It starts off well enough, although it moves pretty fast with not a lot of setup. So looking back it is hard to tell if it is really the story or the frantic speed of the movie that hooks you. Now this isn’t a terrible thing, because regardless the story is fun and fast paced, with a fair amount of action. It’s just don’t go looking for too much character development or motivations for anyone besides a simple destroy/save the world kind of mentality.
While this is included in the story, I’d say the most disappointing aspect was near the end. The movie decides to throw in this twist about three quarters through the movie. Let’s just say our four year old didn’t really appreciate the twist and I have to admit that it seemed a bit out of place.
So what’s my final verdict on The Lego Movie? I’d say that it is a fun colorful, and action-packed movie that also presents some decent themes, but is packed in a rather thin story. It’s a fun ride, but a bit of an uneven one. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it quite lived up to my expectations, which were admittedly high. I wasn’t the only one, as my son put it, “I like the trailer better.”