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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Movie Review:The LEGO Movie

Premise:An ordinary LEGO man gets caught up in a prophecy about a hero and an evil plot to destroy the world.

Cast:Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowsi, Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle, Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius, Will Ferrell as President Business, Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop, Will Arnett as Batman, Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty, Charlie Day as Spaceman Benny

Directors:Phil Lord and Chris McKay

MPAA Rating:PG for mild action and rude humor

Genres:Adventure/fantasy, comedy, animation

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Fun setting. Self-awareness.

Cons:Jerk characters. The last act.

Everything is awesome, the song says. Everything's perfect in this world. Well, everything except that the president wants to destroy the world and has everybody complacent. Or that a certain construction worker by the name of Emmet might just be the hero prophesied to stop him, if they can teach him to build without using instructions.

The setting is one of my favorite parts of the film, and I don't mean just the LEGO environment. There's also the subtly oppressive and controlling governing body behind the cheery surface.

The movie would have been a little better had the Master Builders not been such close-minded jerks. They act high and mighty and are just plain mean to Emmet. And these consist of a lot of the supposedly wise and skilled characters. They're also include a lot of the licensed characters like Batman, so you may watch a few of your favorite figures get annoying.

I have some problems with the final act, due to the twists and the too-easily resolved conflicts (and also for featuring less of Bad Cop).
First, the twist showing that humans are controlling the LEGOs wasn't actually that big a surprise and would have been better left implied. Plus, it adds a disturbing layer to the film because Emmet was moving on his own, meaning it's not just a fantasy world the humans are playing in; it's actual life they're manipulating without realizing it.

Second is that while the dad was a little uptight, they make him out to be worse than he is. Forbidding your kids to touch something of yours isn't that terrible a thing to do.

Third, Business was redeemed too easily. Had they gotten into his backstory a little more or actually given him something good to do before Emmet told him he could change, it might have gone over better.

Finally, the fact that Vitruvius lied bugs me. He had good intentions (giving the LEGO people hope), but he would have spent years being dishonest with everyone.
End spoilers

Overall, while it has some bad spots, it's a fun movie.

Sex:Emmet gets a big crush on Wyldstyle and imagines her saying she's pretty and likes him, only to find out she has a boyfriend (with whom she trades silly endearments). A couple holds hands as their big romantic moment (animating LEGO people kissing might have troublesome).
Clips are shown of a show called Where Are My Pants?, which consist of a guy with asking his wife that question constantly. But since he's a LEGO, there's no actual nudity. Emmet takes a shower (with steam around what would be a human's crotch) and nearly goes to work without putting on clothes.
A couple of figures have painted on cleavage or abs. Batman sarcastically tells a guard they're here to see his butt and complains about a crew all being male. A pirate laments the loss of his "strapping, virile pirate body" near some women and later warns never to place your rear end on a pirate's face. A guy calls Wyldstyle's body heavenly. Robots photocopy their butts.

Violence:Stuff blows up, and there are a few fire fights. Master Builders beat people up. Characters fall off cliffs and into deep holes. There are a few chase scenes and car crashes. A realm is destroyed, and it's implied many don't make it out. Many people are frozen when sprayed with glue.
From the start, President Business's little empire has some unsavory things going on behind the scenes. He states that anyone caught disobeying his rules will be put to sleep. His men have a melting chamber for wayward people. And the second-in-command, Bad Cop, has a short temper that often results in stuff being thrown and people getting hurt.
A figure's face is rubbed out with nail polish remover. A character nearly dies, escaping with just his head and organs. Master Builders are held hostage and tortured. A character is beheaded. A ship is eaten by a worm. Superman asks if anyone has Kryptonite he can borrow.

Drugs/Alcohol:One scene takes place in a saloon, with bottles and glasses in the background. A man asks if his friends want to join him at a sport's bar later.

Language/Insults:Mostly words like "butt", "gosh", "baloney", "nobody", "dang", "heck", "darn", etc.

Gross stuff:A pirate comments it's hard to wipe your butt with a hook for a hand. Vitruvius asks why his pants are cold and wet (it's because he's standing in water, but Wyldstyle assumes otherwise).

Spiritual:Vitruvius prophesies that a hero will rise up and stop Lord Business, who initially scoffs at this. Later on though, he's trying hard to keep it from happening. Ghosts and wizards appear. References are made to The Man Upstairs, a godlike figure to the LEGO people. It's elaborated further late in the movie.

So what was your opinion?

© 2015 by M.R.R.

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