Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The LEGO Movie

It actually felt pretty weird to feel excited over a movie that had the chance of being a tired, pop-culture "parody," featured-length commercial for toys. But, with promising looking trailers and some competent directors behind the wheel(Same guys who did Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street), it was safe to say that the movie was at least going to be pretty good. A movie that actually looked like that it was going to be funny, a great riff on Batman, and some charming animation of a movie that was trying to look like it was filmed by some guy who decided to play around on stop-motion with his LEGO sets while also having a list of all star actors.

But who knew that some of the most relevant, self-aware, hard biting social commentary would come in the form of a LEGO movie? It's not just that this movie is good, it's great! A one of a kind film that balances satire while also being able to keep a compelling story.

The story starts off with the epic battle between Vitruvius and President/Lord Business. And, the fact that the main bad guy's name is Business should pretty much clue you in on what kind of movie you're getting into. Vitruvius loses the battle but, during his defeat, cites a prophecy of a person who will become the most daring, important, and interesting person that will ever be. Years later, we get to the protagonist of the story, Emmet; an average, ordinary guy with nothing immediately unique about him. In fact, one of the characters described him as somebody who fits in so well with the masses that nobody even knew he existed. But, as circumstances would have it, he gets a sort of device that is suppose to be able to stop the super powerful weapon, called the Kragle, that President Business has, which sends him into off-beat adventures.

If it sounds like the story that has ripped off pretty much every other story which ripped off from the stories that ripped it off, well, that's kind of the point to this movie. It's an incredibly self-aware movie with most of its jokes pretty much pointing out on how silly all of the situations are. But it's not the only joke that this movie has going for it as it's a rapid fire comedy kind of film where a lot of the jokes aren't even immediately apparent but are still very much there. And, really, if it's anything about this movie, it's that it is hilarious. Mediums that use the Rapid Fire Comedy technique are usually there just because they had a lot of jokes but didn't know if all of them would work, so they just throw each joke out there as fast as they can in hopes that some of the jokes will stick with the audience. The good news is that this movie lands a laugh at a really consistent basis.

To really say anything more about why this movie works or why it's so unique and special would be giving it away. However, what's great is that it manages to find a way to have all the LEGO based characters from different properties to be able to interact with each other. It's not just a movie that borrowed the LEGO aesthetic, the whole part about LEGO is that it's the entire basis of the movie. It's an actual LEGO world with different realms for different characters such as the entire DC universe, the 1980s Something Space Guy, Michelangelo, Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln, a Giant Robot Pirate, Shakespeare, and Batman.

Speaking of Batman, it would be surprising to even find a better take on the character, mostly because the entire movie turns the character into a joke. The super-seriousness, broodingness, and coolness of this flying rodent character are taken to an extreme to pretty much point out the strange obsession that a lot of people seem to have taken with him. However, they still managed to make Batman a fully realized character.

The LEGO Movie is one of the most unique movies anybody is ever going to have a chance to see in a really long time. It's definitely the best animated movie to come out in a while, but it's also one of the most surprisingly insightful movies to come out at all. Seriously, do not miss this film!

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