Movie Review: The Lego Movie

So I finally swallowed my pride and saw the Lego Movie today. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me if I’ve seen it or posted links to it on my facebook or otherwise pestered me about it. All this because I enjoy building things. Here’s a tip folks – just because I like something doesn’t mean I’m obsessed with it and need all the paraphernalia. Yes, I like Legos and I have a bunch of them. That doesn’t mean I need Lego stickers and Lego lunch boxes and Lego stuffed animals. Its means I like building things out of Legos. Building things is also a hobby for me and not a lifestyle.

With all that said, I would say that I am either neutral about the Lego Movie or I don’t actually know how I feel about the Lego Movie. From a creative point of view, the movie was stunning and I felt unbelievably jealous of the talent of those involved in building the scenes for the movie. The movie was packed right from the beginning with so many things that I wish I could design and build.

You see, I don’t consider myself to be a master builder. I don’t consider myself to be very good at building creative things. I think it’s fun to put stuff together and to use my Legos to tell stories, but I don’t think I have the talent or the skill to be considered anything other than mediocre when it comes to my building skills. Mostly, I follow the directions and build the sets in the boxes. I guess I’m okay at building boxes and potentially buildings, but I really do absolutely suck at building vehicles, space ships, monsters, things involving gears, and other things of that nature. So when the movie opened up with Emmet’s apartment, I positively drooled at the detail and the interior design. I was jealous of the cars (because I really, really, really do suck at building cars. I can’t even tell you how badly I suck at building cars).

I actually liked Emmet’s instructions for his day-to-day life. Some of those were pretty good instructions as far as working to see your world in a more positive light. And that stupid theme song was actually alarmingly happy and addictive. “Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!” There was definitely a large chunk of me that liked the idea of the orderliness and positiveness of the Lego people’s lives. But that didn’t last past the part where you find out what the Kagle really is. I have to admit to a huge sense of horror and shock when the Kagle was revealed.

I really enjoyed Lego Batman and Lego Green Lantern’s interactions. I’m not really very well spun up on the DC universe, so I don’t know which Green Lantern the Lego Green Lantern was supposed to be, but it was definitely amusing to watch. Though, now that I think about it, I didn’t see any of the Marvel Super Heroes in the movie. That was a little odd to me. There were a lot of minifigures that I recognized and I certainly have a selection of the old 1980s space characters. In some ways, I miss the simplicity of the early Lego minifigures because they were non-gender specific. Nothing about my Legos when I was a kid prevented the knights guarding the castles from being female. Now, most of the castle guards have beards and such. It’s a bit frustrating.

But back to the movie.

I think that the storyline and the moral of the story meant well – to encourage people of all ages to build and to build whatever they want. I have a lot healthier of a respect for the Lego sets that support the movie and I might look at buying a couple of them, especially the giant pirate ship. That looks like it has quite a few fairly entertaining parts that I’m sure I could use elsewhere.

The movie had a bunch of super cheesy moments where the redundant aspect of the humor was just on the borderline of too much. Like when Emmet falls down the hole or where he is stuck staring at Wyldside. There were a few other times like that. I think the Unikitty was also on my list of parts of the movie where I couldn’t decide if I was annoyed or if I was amused.

I didn’t see the end coming at all and I might have actually leaked a few tears. I suspect that has more to do with the other part of the storyline where Emmet really isn’t anyone special until Wyldstyle believes in him, which then helps him believe in himself. It really struck me about how much one person can accomplish when someone else believes in them. And I guess that was a bit harder because I had someone in my life very recently who believed in me and I didn’t appreciate them or really understand how much that impacted my life until things fell apart. So now I strive every day to believe in myself and to be thankful and appreciative of the people in my life.

I wrote this on my white board a while ago and haven’t posted it yet: Life is a bucketful of Legos – until you start building something, everything’s a mess. And maybe I would caveat that with: If you build something terrible, don’t be afraid to take it apart and build something new. Maybe with enough practice, you can finally build something wonderful.

That’s where my life is right now. I built something painful and horrible and now I’m working to rebuild. That’s the fun thing about me – I just keep trying when I think something is worth my time and effort. But I guess the lesson I’m supposed to also learn is when to quit when you just suck and can’t get things right.

I felt really badly for Emmet during the first part of the movie because he was doing everything right and was following all the correct instructions and no one even knew who he was and he had nothing that made him special. He did everything he was supposed to and his life was empty. The Lego Movie did a good job with turning him from a zero to a hero, though.

Overall, I think I’m going to remain undecided about how I feel about the movie. I feel like I should like it and support it because of the themes of encouraging building and telling everyone that they’re special. But there wasn’t really anything in the movie that would make me want to buy it. I don’t know. This is probably the first movie where I am still undecided about what I think.


About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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2 Responses to Movie Review: The Lego Movie

  1. Panzerkraken says:

    You know, I entirely appreciate how a movie can leave you undecided. I felt the same way about Ender’s Game. The novel has been special to me for years (on its own merits; even when I only had Xenocide and Speaker for the Dead to follow it with, not the huge list of books in the series now), and so has Harrison Ford; but I just didn’t trust the concept of bringing them together in a movie. And so I didn’t watch it when it came out. And I didn’t watch it until at all until just the other day on my return flight from that last trip. And, while it was a stunning movie and captured a lot of the sense of childlike disassociation from violence, it completely skipped the Peter/Valentine sub-plot and glossed over (necessarily) a lot of the details of the book. And so, I wasn’t satisfied with it.

  2. ZJSimon says:

    I’ll remember to get you some tinker toys for xmas this year ;p

    Seriously, though, an ambivalent review is better than a glowing one. I’m eager to see it.

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