In honor of Friday’s release of The Lego Movie spin-off The Lego Batman Movie, I’m taking a look back at the wonderful comedy that started it all.
For me, there’s something incredibly special about a film that manages to capture the hearts of pretty much everyone who sees it. Honestly, it’s a rare accomplishment for a film to receive wide spread recognition across pretty much every demographic, and is only a thing that happens with the best of the medium (i.e. most of Pixar’s work). So in that respect, the accomplishments of The Lego Movie should not be ignored. I haven’t witnessed a single person bag on this film in its first week of release and though, yes, it’s very possible that a Lego Movie backlash could arise (it happens to the best of films), something tells me this one is going to go on to be a beloved animated film for decades to come. Because it’s truly as wonderful as everyone says it is, and will stick with me for a long time as an achievement in animated storytelling.
Here’s five reasons why.
1) The Humor
Maybe the most important achievement the film manages to earn is being really funny. Like REALLY freaking funny. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve laughed at a film this hard in a long time — not even with Anchorman: The Legend Continues. Lord and Miller know how to make pretty much anything funny, and it seems there’s a joke literally every other line in this film. And well that alone is great, it helps that the jokes are clever, hilarious, and insanely memorable. I won’t bore you with a listing of all the best jokes or anything, mostly because it’s almost impossible to mention them all. I don’t know how Lord and Miller do it, but they are easily two of the sharpest comedic writers in the industry right now, and The Lego Movie is a perfect template for them to strut their stuff.
2) The Cast
A lot of the film’s humor comes from Lord and Miller’s script, but I think the jokes land especially well due to who is saying them. The Lego Movie has kind of an incredible cast of both comedy stars and Hollywood vets just having a grand ol’ time, and both groups are given wonderful things to do in the film. The latter category is especially a joy, as Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman get to stretch their comedic muscles with some really fantastic characters (Neeson in particular as Good Cop/Bad Cop is a whole new side of the actor I never imagined hearing, but is a sound to behold).
And Chris Pratt as lead character Emmett is absolutely perfect, to the point that no other actor in Hollywood could have possibly replaced him, in my mind. And even though some of the other big actors have smaller roles (Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Jonah Hill, Charlie Day, and Channing Tatum in particular), they all make the best of what they are given. And Will Arnett as Batman? It’s just perfect really. No matter how you slice it, this is one of the most impressive casts of a film this year.
3) The Visuals
It’s one thing to succeed on a casting and writing level, but another entirely to achieve on a visual one. No matter how great the film was, without the right style, everything wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. Thankfully the visuals of The Lego Movie are spectacular and, honestly, quite jaw dropping in parts. It’s not another CGI bland fest, as the film has a look and style all of its own that makes it feel very, very distinct. Plus, the level of commitment with the construct of the Lego world and the way it functions is very impressive, and something that lesser directors would have completely ignored for the aforementioned standard CGI. But in the hands of Miller and Lord, the visual style of The Lego Movie becomes one of its strongest components.
4) The Message
It would have been easy for Miller and Lord to just make a really funny film about Legos and, for a while at least, that’s all I thought the film was going to be — and I was perfectly fine with that! I was having a blast watching The Lego Movie, even if it wasn’t saying anything particularly new or profound. But then that third act hit, and everything changed. I’m not going to spoil anything for those still on the fence about seeing the film, but let’s just say the final moments go into thematic directions I never imagined it would go into…but am so glad that it decided to anyways. Some of my favorite animated films blend humor and emotions the way that The Lego Movie does (Toy Story 3 also comes to mind here), and I’m glad Lord and Miller went the extra mile in this department. It helps that the message itself (in literally the most simple terms, creativity=awesome) is one that’s easy to get behind, and presented in a generally clever and inspired manner through the Lego brand (and on a larger note, what it means to the people who play with them). The Lego Movie was an insanely funny animated film but, in its final act, it became a fantastic movie period.
Because the above song that has become synonymous with the film isn’t just an amazingly catchy tune — it speaks to the quality of the movie itself. I could nitpick aspects of the The Lego Movie if I wanted, because yeah, maybe this isn’t a perfect film. But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t enjoying every single minute of my time watching it which, for me, is a massive accomplishment in and of itself. And try as I might, I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would dislike The Lego Movie — it’s a film that will work for everyone and, from the looks of things, already kind of has. Believe the hype people: The Lego Movie is an amazing accomplishment for pretty much everyone involved, and a film that I would not be surprised to see become a beloved classic for the next generation.
You can buy The Lego Movie pretty much anywhere, at this point. The Lego Batman Movie, however, will hit theaters this Friday.
Originally published at www.geekbinge.com on February 13, 2014.