Well do I remember my days as a carefree lad, playing with my beloved Lego sets. My brother and I would devote hours on end to carefully creating worlds for our tiny Lego figurines to inhabit. We would follow meticulous instructions in order to build the models just right, and a lost piece was something truly lamentable.
Some friends also enjoyed Legos, but they combined all of their sets into one massive pile and drew thence to construct their own crude creations. This was something I never understood, because THAT IS HOW YOU LOSE PIECES. This denominational difference often caused strife when these friends would come over to play.
By now hopefully you've seen The Lego Movie but if you haven't, this conflict provides the central conceit of the movie: what happens when a maniacal overlord is seeking to destroy your world by ensuring that every block remains precisely in place? The Lego Movie is just as much fun as it should be, subversively reveling in everything that made playing with Legos great in the first place.
To be clear, it is not the giant multi-franchise commercial it easily could have been. Here, Lego is the medium, not the product. The animation resembles the stop-motion movies grown up nerds like me might make, but the scale is impossible and enviable for the amateur. Here, Batman, Gandalf, and NBA All-Stars mingle freely (and hilariously). It is an immensely enjoyable adventure.
I said that Lego was the medium, and I would like to explain that. So often, nostalgic properties are turned into movies for only vaguely artistic reasons. Think of disasters like Battleship or successful travesties like Transformers. The only reason for their existence is to mine happy memories for money. Even the upcoming Mr Peabody & Sherman looks more like a cheap base hit than anything else. The Lego Movie felt different because it is at once respectful and cheekily self-aware. On the one hand, it manages to remain true to everybody's own Lego memories and adventures, and on the other it knows that it is a commercial endeavor, and takes delight in not taking that fact very seriously.
The movie is truly funny, and makes brilliant use of established and contemporary pop culture references. My one quibble with that is that it won't become a "classic": much of its humor is too closely grounded in the present for kids a few years from now to really get. Not that it's important, because the best kid's movies are adult-savvy as well.
So I say that The Lego Movie is enormously fun and more than worth braving the crowds of 10-year-olds to see. I would even claim that your love would probably rather watch it than Endless Love or Winter's Tale this weekend, but maybe that's just me.
The Lego Movie features Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, and all kinds of other hilarious people, and is rated PG mostly for an instance of non-graphic Lego nudity.
Writers: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Directors: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
by Chase Harrison