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The LEGO Movie (movie review)

Like all art, opinions on The LEGO Movie are entirely subjective. The thing is, almost everyone seems to think it’s a great movie while there are few detractors. Rhett Bartlett (Dial M for Movies) called it "one of the great film disappointments of this decade." That’s going too far for me – my opinion falls closer to the middle of the spectrum.

There’s a lot to rave about in The LEGO Movie. The performances (led by Chris Pratt, who was the perfect choice to voice Emmet) are all wonderful. Morgan Freeman does what he always does when he’s tapped to play a wise old man, but that’s not a dis – it’s just that he’s done this a million times, so there are no surprises. At first, it seems like Liam Neeson is going to be pigeon-holed too, but his Good Cop character was something I’d never seen him do before, so that was fun. Charlie Day was another bit of excellent casting as Spaceman Benny and Will Arnett does a great job of walking the Batman line between impression and parody.

SET PHASERS TO SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!

The movie’s overall visual design is pleasing, but the real production plus comes from the dialogue and the story twist. It may be telegraphed, but the story twist is the kind of risk you don’t see in features. On the other hand, the sudden jump from the LEGO world to the real world could be construed as a cheap commercial ploy. The writers actually found a way to show a father and son playing with the product in an animated feature but in a way that still served the story. I thought it was a great idea, but I could easily see how some might call this clever but manipulative, and they’re not wrong, because this movie only exists to promote the LEGO brand. It’s a tough one. It worked for me, but I could see how it made some critics roll their eyes.

Maybe I liked the twist so much because it occurred right at the moment where the movie was in danger of losing me. The constant action chase scenes were creating a certain level of movie watcher’s fatigue in my mind, weighing me down to the point where I felt I was stuck to the couch. The jump to the real world (for me) served as a great change of pace in every way imaginable. It also brought an emotional weight to the ending that would have been lacking otherwise.

The one thing I did find a bit confusing was that theme regarding how everyone can express themselves and be unique individuals. The thing is, if no one (specifically Emmet, who was a construction worker) followed the instructions, there’d be no city to save in the first place. It’s great to indulge your passions and follow your dreams, but someone’s gotta make sure there’s clean water to drink and food to eat, ya know? I guess I’m saying that the movie didn’t place much (any?) value on people who work hard and follow the rules and instead, saved all the praise for those Master Builders. And, I’m fully in support of the idea that the Master Builders of any society are the ones who write instructions, I’m just saying, the world is complex place and some of us need some instruction sometimes. People who always color inside the lines (or in this case, build the stuff LEGO tells them to in the way the instructions recommend) have value. (For example, I never have/will come up with… you know, any useful invention to help society. Ever. Unless inserting movie dialogue into everyday conversations in a timely fashion suddenly becomes useful.)

Anyway, I thought The LEGO Movie was very good, but it’s not great. I’m giving it an 8 out of 10 and wouldn’t say "Everything is Awesome" about the flick, but it’s close.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on September 23, 2014, in comic book reviews, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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