Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Film Review: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's The Lego Movie

Sure, it may be, as some are prone to gripe, just a kid's movie.  Sure, it may be just a PG-rated Robot Chicken, and therefore sadly lacking in the guts department.  Sure, it may just be this generation's pale distant cousin of my generation's Who Framed Roger Rabbit - well, kinda.  Sure, it may be all these things, and therefore nothing this critic, no matter how immature and still living in his own childhood he may be, would be all that interested in, other than perhaps just to see what all the hubbub's about, bub.  So, with soda and popcorn in hand, and surrounded by what I would approximate as half a million children (which included a two-row sectioned off birthday party area), I hunkered down to see just what all the hubbub was about, bub.  Surprisingly, the hubbub was more accurate than I would have expected.  Even more surprisingly, with the exception of one little girl's scream at the supposed peril of the film's hero at one point, these aforementioned half a million children sat in relative silence during the film's hour and forty-two minute runtime.  So there.

As for the story of The Lego Movie, it is typical archetype stuff.  A simple everyman, Emmet Brickowoski (voiced by Chris Pratt), living his mundane simple life, stumbles upon a magical prophecy of which he must fulfill in order to save the world from the evil doings of Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell).  Along the way, the often oblivious Emmet is joined on his quest by a manic panic-haired heroine ridiculously named Wyldestyle (Elizabeth Banks), the wizened blind wizard Vitruvius (the seemingly omnipresent voice of Mr. Morgan Freeman), a candy-coated creepy-ass unicorn hybrid of a Lego and My Little Pony (Community's Allison Brie), a cobbled-together pirate monstrosity (Nick Offerman), an over eager 1980's spaceman Lego guy (Charlie Day), and of course, Batman (Will Arnett putting that famed raspy voice to great use), included most likely because he gets butts in seats, baby.  Also featuring the voice of Liam Neeson as the bi-polar Bad Cop/Good Cop henchman of Lord Business, and a slew of other Lego characters (Superman, Wonder Woman, Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare, an incessantly nagging Green Lantern voiced by Jonah Hill, as well as some fun little cameo appearances, one of them staying especially classy), The Lego Movie is actually a lot of fun.  Perhaps not to the level of some other toy-related animated films (cough, cough...the Toy Story franchise), but still a fun little movie.  So there...again.

With that said, I would have loved to have seen, instead of a PG-rated Robot Chicken, an actual Robot Chicken version of this film.  I know, I know, the damn thing's aimed at a much younger set than I, but still the possibilities of a pop culture wonderland in the form of Legos is a pretty spectacular idea.  But alas, instead of many of the pop references that coulda woulda shoulda filled this film (there are some cute references, but nothing compared to something like the Pixar gang or the Shrek films, or shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, or dare I say Robot Chicken) we are left with a fun, but still not as fun as it could be film.  Sure, this may be a small gripe in the whole scheme of things, for it is an enjoyable film (and has a nice non-conformity message), and judging from the lack of bothersome, disgruntled children in the screening I attended, its intended audience is more than pleased as punch, so who am I to argue.  Let's just keep it at my original assessment of it being a fun little film, and go on about our respective lives.  After all, in a case such as this, my problems don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy critical world.  I was once taken to task by the six year old son of a friend of mine, for not giving good enough reviews of animated films, so perhaps I should best leave well enough alone, and finish this review with the title of the movie's purposefully annoying hit song - everything is awesome.  So there.

This review can also be read at my main blog, All Things Kevyn.


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