It's a familiar story -- evil is about to take total control and saving the world falls upon the shoulders of an ordinary guy who is sure he doesn't have the ability or the desire to take the job. But, as luck inevitably has it, love intervenes, and the ordinary guy finds he will do extraordinary things for love and that in love, ordinariness is a powerful good.
It is a familiar medium -- computer animation of the kind you see on hundreds of kids' television shows. And a point not to overlooked, all the characters and all the sets are made from Legos, the toy building blocks that have been around since the beginning of time, so it might be reasonable to expect a ninety minute commercial for the product.
A story about an ordinary guy with ordinary abilities, in a familiar medium using sets and characters designed from kid's toys that have been around since dirt was invented.
That was my mindset going into this movie, but since there wasn't really anything else out there that I wanted to see, and since the Piker Press editor was on my case to get off my butt and earn my keep, Sand and I went to see The Lego Movie.
There is in fact nothing particularly novel about this movie from a movie-making point of view. The animation is good, but nothing above the industry standard, and the story is certainly predictable. And it is a ninety minute commercial.
But as with the story itself, the writers and directors of this movie have managed to take all of its ordinariness and create something of magnificence. The energy and humor of this movie is breathtakingly refreshing. I wasn't pleasantly surprised by how good it was, considering, you know, that it's a movie about Legos -- I was utterly blown away by its ability to capture that unique ability we all had as kids to create absolutely real, totally absurd alternate realities in which rules and storylines changed capriciously to fit whatever thought popped into our heads without (somehow) changing the overall story arc. And if that doesn't make sense, that's okay. It doesn't have to. It was just fun.
The Lego Movie is just pure fun, a riotously uninhibited story that accomplishes more than you thought possible from a "kids' movie."
It doesn't matter how old you are, empty your piggybank and head off to the theater to see this one. It is a gem.
I didn't have Legos when I was a child. I was more of a Lincoln Logs kind of kid, more inclined towards wood than plastic, and definitely more inclined to playing with toy horses than building things. I held the Legos of my grade school friends in disdain. I was a toy snob.
That's why, when I heard about The Lego Movie, my eyes squinted in adult disdain, and I thought, What nincompoop thought THAT was a good idea? So I declined to go see the film when it opened.
Reading reviews of the movie, however, I was stunned that The Lego Movie was getting nearly universally high praise. How could something as rigid as plastic blocks become a blockbuster?
As I was getting ready to go see the first showing of Winter's Tale, I read reviews. Many reviews, that could not find words enough to tell of how bad Winter's Tale was. And there was my dilemma: go see a show that everyone loathed, or go see a show that everyone loved? With which one would I rather munch popcorn?
The Lego Movie is phenomenal. It was like wading into an unknown sea of animated constructions and being swept away by a storm of silly gags and vivid color, with elbow-nudges to the adults to call attention to just how funny it is to have our grown-up iconic figures tossed into the ocean with us. Kids all around us were laughing. Adults all around us were laughing. We laughed on the way home. Four days later, I'm still chuckling over it.
Bernie and I took our eldest grand-daughter with us to see The Lego Movie. As a mature sixth-grader, she might have had a bit of disdain for a movie about toys herself. When the credits began to roll at the end, she leaned toward me and said, "We have GOT to get this on DVD."
She's right, but don't wait that long to see it. You need to chase some winter's blues away? This is the film that will do it.