Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Case for Legging Go

How does a song as annoyingly cheerful and vapid as “Everything is Awesome” become cool?  By being associated with the Lego Movie.

Because, from its central premise of a world made up of Lego people doing Lego things, to it’s references to many DC properties (like Batman, Superman, Harry Potter) and to popular Lego ranges that aren’t that related to DC at all (like Star Wars, of course), the film itself is awesome.

Emmett (voiced by Chris Pratt, who appears to be almost everywhere at the moment, wearing high waisted pants in Her or getting a Guardian of the Galaxy role by sending shirtless pictures of himself) is the hero of the film though, as a piece of plastic in a kitset world, he is, in his own way, unremarkable.  He does his best to fit in, using all the instructions that President Business (Will Ferrell) has dictated all people should live by, enjoying the music, the coffee and TV shows that everyone does, and fit in he does.  

But Emmett really wants to be special, and when he comes across WyldStyle (voiced by a seductive Elizabeth Banks), he stumbles across a plot to destroy freedom throughout the Lego realm, and quickly becomes embroiled in a plan to save it.

Much like Emmett, the story itself is pretty unremarkable on its own.  But layer in a huge dolloping of insane humour, with jokes firing off left, right and centre, aiming for adults and kids and everything in between, and all those references… well, it’s a huge amount to take in, absorb and enjoy.

I think I read somewhere that the film is written by the people who brought the world Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and that film was completely bonkers in a great way (I haven’t seen the sequel, but the first one had Mr T.  Oh my gosh).  And they have brought a sense of complete irreverence and stupidity to this realm, and my goodness, it is good.

Pratt brings his good hearted dope voice from Parks and Recreation and makes Emmett dim but… well, good natured.  Bouncing that character off a blokey Batman, a Superman who is having issues with Green Lantern, a good cop/bad cop/same cop (Liam Neeson!), and a very “Neo is here to save us all” plot… and the Lego references too!  From the map Japanese Lego, to the 80s Space Lego (with the helmet that always ended up broken in the same spot!), to the Duplo and other Lego lines for youngsters… They are all there, all interact amazingly, and are all utterly hilarious.

The only thing that I found a little jarring was near the ending.  I won’t get into what happened here, but suffice to say this was the first time during the film that I could hear the children’s laughter over that of the adults in the audience.  However, I come the final scene (or thereabouts), I think I let loose my largest guffaw of the thoroughly entertaining evening.

It was interesting though being seated next to a “big kid” (whom I knew not) in almost every sense of the word.  While he was evidently there with his girlfriend, the guy, who was about as tall as me though in his late teens or early 20s (I would presume), wriggled and writhed and tried to suppress chuckles and whispered away to his partner with all the subtlety of a 10 year old.  While for some of these antics I was not that impressed, I had to smile to myself when I realised that this is the kind of reaction the target audience would probably have.  And yes, it made me feel all the older.

Verdict: Everything is awesome with the Lego Movie.  Smart, funny, and while a little saccharine at the end, it entertains and amuses and is pretty incredible throughout.  4 bricks out of 5.

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