Logline: Emmett, an ordinary Lego construction worker, finds himself to be the prophesied “Special” who can save the Lego world from being glued together forever by the evil Lord Business, by setting off on a quest with some amazing new friends .
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Allison Brie, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson.
I actually really don’t get this film, but it did have me laughing out loud several times.
The main problem is, as much as I loved Lego when I was a kid, I don’t really get why you’d animate it. It’s such a physical, tangible toy and the characters are all borrowed from other sources. It doesn’t have an inherent story, which character toys have, like Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mean, as a premise, it’s funny, and I like the way that much of the world of the film works in the way that a child’s mind might work. And yet, much of the film parodies the way that an adult’s mind works too, like current trends for overpriced coffee, mainstream music and wanting to fit in, which sometimes doesn’t gel so well.
The film centres around Emmett, who is so excessively ordinary but who tries hard to be popular by fitting in. He is caught up in events that lead him to being taken on a journey by Wildstyle, who is always trying to reinvent herself, and mentored by Vitruvius, an older bearded, prophesying figure. The chases and explosions, as well as the places they visit on the quest to stop the bad buy, Lord Business, are hilarious and great to watch. But the basic premise and themes of the film leave a lot to be desired.
The film seems to be about creativity and play, as the Lego world will become static by being glued together permanently if the hero can’t save the day. Some characters in the film are Masterbuilders, and can create in their world, rather than just occupying it, putting together pieces from different Lego sets to create entirely new things. Emmett is essentially mistaken for one of them, and his lack of imagination is funny. And yet, the message of the film at this point seems to be that the average person wants to be special and creative, but really isn’t. And that that is ok. Which I thought was odd.
And then it’s all stymied by randomly going live action for a bit towards the end… Which is awful. Just awful. And then the film appears to suddenly be about not becoming someone who sticks things together rigidly and follows the rules, but allows for play, nonsense and creativity.
How did they get such in interesting ensemble cast to make this film? I mean, for example, there’s a great character voiced by Liam Neeson, who is a police man figure with a Bad Cop face and a Good Cop face. His dialogue is great and it works so well as a character, which might interest an actor, but the film as a whole doesn’t work, and it’s a movie about Lego. How did they sell this script to the actors?
Wildstyle, the main female protagonist in the film, was another aspect that interested me. She has a lot of personality, but she’s never really allowed to shine. She has abilities and a wonderful amount of bravery and creativity, and yet, when she’s explaining things, her voice is lost to us in the fog of her being objectified by Emmett. At one point she admits that she always hoped that she was the one who was the “Special”. Honestly, that would have made a far better film.
See this film for a laugh, with friends at home over a pizza and some beers, if you’re looking for something lightly amusing to watch, and you plan on talking over most of it. Maybe don’t even watch it to the end and save yourself that awful live action faux pas. It is a really funny, clever film in places, but the story is a mess.