Posted by G. Raymond Leavold
08. Apr, 2014
If you were born before 1995, chances are you played with Lego as a kid. If you were born after 1995, chances are you also played with Lego as a kid. The point is, kids play with Lego. If you didn’t, yours was a childhood bereft of an amazing creative outlet.
And now, The Lego Movie comes along. But unlike many nostalgic things that have been ruined by adaptation and modernisation, The Lego Movie somehow does the opposite and reinforces what we loved about Lego all those years back.
So how does one go about making a Lego movie? (especially when it was always left up to the imaginations of children to conceptualise and mish-mash different coloured blocks)
Cleverly The Lego Movie opens after an other-worldly battle between a wizard named Vitruvius and super villain Lord Business—in which the prophecy of a chosen one will save the world from some ominous monster known as ‘The Kragle’. Immediately the audience is thrown into a metropolis of Lego buildings and Lego people, where it is business as usual.
We are introduced to Emmet, a painfully regular guy. But when he unknowingly stumbles upon the ‘Piece of Resistance’, the only thing that can stop The Kragle, he is deemed The Chosen One and taken in by a rebel group that seeks to bring the world out of oppressive autonomy to let creativity flourish.
This group of freedom fighters consists of Vitruvius the wizard, Wyldstyle; a cool chick and talented engineer, Metal Beard; a strange Frankenstein’s monster of a pirate, 80s Space Guy (who will really throw you into a fit of nostalgia with his broken plastic helmet and faded chest insignia) and, of course, Batman.
Though this is a kid’s film, the world within it is complex and not as genuine as it seems. The people are easily controlled, made to think that they are content. It is a place where everyone is expected to follow instructions, and punished if they do not.
It is refreshing that a kid’s film is not only emotionally honest, but more honest about its portrayal of villainy and oppression, which is never much more than maintaining a firm grasp of the status quo. And children, more than anyone can relate to the sense of injustice in being forced into contentment.
There is more than just nostalgia holding this film up for an adult audience. Sure, there are some nice touches that someone growing up with Lego will connect with, but this film’s energy is pretty infectious. The action scenes are thrilling, the writing is sharp and contain some great gags strewn throughout, and the voice actors; Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, among many others, are loads of fun in their various roles.
A film like this could be easily seen as a cash grab, like most films that reboot or repackage old franchises. But Hollywood has never disguised that it is a business first and foremost, and no small effort has gone into making this.
The Lego Movie embodies the spirit of creativity so well that it is apparent that the people behind the film shared a fondness and deep understanding of the place that Lego holds in the hearts of the young and the young at heart. It’s hard not to feel a connection to the film and to those far back rainy days sitting by the window with a tub of Lego, your only boundary being the distant walls of your imagination.
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