Wednesday, 24 December 2014

film review: The LEGO Movie

Everything is Awesome

Emmett is a completely contented minifig, working on a massive construction project with his buddies, singing the company song, having a great life. But this all changes when he sees a strange woman searching the construction site. He follows her, falls down a hole, and gets attached to the Piece of Resistance. It seems he is the prophesied Special One, destined to save the world from the evil Lord Business. Mayhem ensues.

This is great fun, much more than just a movie-length toy advert (although it is that, too). It is full of verbal and visual wit, with clever little references all over the place, and even better if you know your Lego. It inevitably gets a bit saccharine at the end, with the “message” of not being inflexible. But since that message is rather confused (it is the Master Builders who can build “off piste” who are supposedly the heroes, yet Emmett and crew win the day by following the instructions to build a particular device the same as all the others), it can be safely ignored.

It has been noted that there are rather few female characters (there’s the co-protagonist Wyldstyle/Lucy, Wonder Woman, a female construction worker, and some background characters), reflecting LEGO’s disappointing number of female minifigs overall, and it fails the Bechdel test. Wyldstyle is actually a reasonably strong figure, and it could be argued that it is she who “gets the guy” rather than the other way round. What I actually found most teeth-grinding was the ending, where the boy is “threatened” with having to play with his little sister, clearly a dreadful fate.

Despite these grumbles, overall this is a fun piece and wonderfully visualised of mind-candy, and I laughed out loud many times at the various visual jokes.

Good luck getting that song out of your head, though.

Everything is Awesome, Everything is cool when you’re part of a team

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