Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All you have to do is believe. Then, you will see everything.

In 2005, my wife (back when she was my girlfriend) paid for us both to go Disneyworld for a week. We had a good time doing all the normal Disney stuff: the rides, eating, a moderately lame show, more eating, fireworks, still more eating, a parade, some more rides, and then, before bed, more eating. It was all very typical, but still very enjoyable.

On our last day, we went shopping at some place (Adultland? Adventureworld? Adultadventureworld?) that had a store I had never, ever been to before. An entirely unique experience that I put as much imagination and effort into as anything we did at Disney in the preceding six days. They had a Lego Store. And you get to fill the container with any pieces you want.

My point, if there is one, is year after year of happily devouring Disney flicks (and to an extent, Dreamworks), seeing The Lego Movie felt like some kind of epiphany. I went in expecting greatness, and was only let down by the fact that I couldn't immediately watch it again. Trust me, this might be the most fun you'll ever have at an animated movie. It's that good.

While the story is certainly charming, it's not like something we haven't seen before. Well, sort of anyway. Imagine putting Toy Story, Kung-Fu Panda and The Matrix in a blender, and you'll have The Lego Movie. Even though it reminded me of other stuff, it did nothing to lessen my enthusiasm in the least.

For me, and probably most other guys, the pure joy was seeing all these Lego versions of things we loved as kids come together in truly awesome fashion. Batman, Superman, Shaq!, Dumbledore, Wonderwoman, Lando Calrissian, Michelangelo and even Abraham Lincoln to name a few (assuming there's a kid out there who loves Honest Abe), are onscreen together in an orgy of imagination and comedy. Half the time, I simply wanted to pause any given frame and just stare. Gents, you gotta see this one. Ladies, imagine Jem and Rainbow Bright riding Starlight around Polly Pocket's house and you might be in the ballpark. Probably not though, as, you know, all girls toys are super lame.

But even with all the eye-candy, there does, in fact, need to be a story. The Lego Movie tells the tale of Emmet, a very average dude who loves pretty much everything. Even soul-crushing routine. One day, he is plucked from obscurity, labeled the chosen one, and asked to join a group of renegades going against the status quo. In Lego terms, these are people who don't believe in following the directions. This group, the master builders, use the tiny bricks to create whatever their imagination tells them. It's very clear that Emmet is the wrong guy, but that doesn't stop him from trying anyway. It's a very cute story, with a surprisingly imaginative (and rather funny) ending. I'm honestly looking forward to it's turn in the blu ray player as the Can we watch it again, Dad? movie of the month/year.

I'll be the first to admit I was a kid who only built what was on the box. I know, what a dork, but at least I've grown up to think outside of it and shirk any sign of monotonous routine. On that note, here are the Yays and Boos. Again.
For like, the two hundredth time.
In a row.

  • The entire voice cast is amazing, but if you can manage to leave the theater and not love every single thing Will Arnett said as Batman, you are a much stronger person than I am. Probably smarter, too. [but c'mon! his song?]
  • Speaking of Batman, when he ditches the whole mission for some bro time, I think I stopped breathing.
  • Obviously, the writing/directing combo of Phil Lord and and Christopher Miller are brilliant (look at their filmography), but I love how much they use repetition in their comedy. My favorite example? What are you, a DJ?
  • The revered items in the Lego world are very cool. The fact that no one can pronounce them correctly is even better (and is there anyone in the world who does that shtick better than Will Ferrell?)
  • Superman and Green Lantern. I know less is more, but....can we get these two their own movie? I super hate you.
  • Metal Beard's story is so incredibly stupid and funny, I'm still laughing days later. I'm convinced that Nick Offerman is one of the best people alive.
  • Two words: Laser sharks.
  • Best worst idea ever? The double-decker couch.
  • Benny the Space Guy. I probably had twenty of these generic spacemen, but this guy (as voiced by Charlie Day) was something special. When he finally got to build a spaceship, I was probably as happy as I've ever been.
  • Where are my pants?
  • Uni Kitty. It's kind of like when Rafiki destroys all those hyenas, except maybe not quite as cool.
  • The ending. Not only what happens between the father and son, but what Dad must do now that the kids are allowed to play there. It's only fair.
  • Fine, I'm pretty much going to mention everyone, but Morgan Freeman's Vitruvius, even as the serious guy, is still incredibly funny. Double door?
  • And finally, one of the most talented guys out there, Chris Pratt. For the entire film (and it's whole marketing campaign), my mind interpreted that as Chris Parnell. And every time I heard Emmet's voice, I thought, man, Parnell is so good. Then I realize it's actually the man-Hulk Pratt behind it, and it becomes something so much better. In fact, you could even say....awesome.
  • Good Cop. Well, not him actually, but just the poor guy's fate. Though, honestly, I would pay money to see Neeson create that voice.
  • Where's the love for castle Legos? I had a million castle sets as a kid. But, if I remember right, I was the only kid I knew that had those. I think I just realized that I was a dork. Not in the goofy, acceptable way, but in like, the completely official way.
  • And finally, the biggest Boo ever, we were late to the show. Okay, sure, better late than never...but not only did we miss the previews (a punishable offense), but we missed the first few minutes, too. Nooooooooooo!
Back to the Lego store, I remember carefully trying to get as many pieces in that container as possible. I was working with the precision of someone disarming a bomb. When I was finally satisfied there was no air left in the container, I smashed the lid on and headed to checkout, the happiest man-boy on the planet (even though they don't let you put a single Lego guy in it). 

But the next time I opened it, and basically every time since, I couldn't get all the pieces back in. It seems not only was the cup full, it was literally bursting with Lego goodness..

Sounds like a movie I once saw.


  1. LOL, love this (we practically have the same review, which is so AWESOME!)

    I remember leaving and my buddy says "Will Ferell must have been a millionaire because he had like $500,000 worth of Legos in his basement"

    Truth. Legos are ridiculous.

    1. I read your review, but I always start to skim when I haven't seen the movie yet. I'd hate to Shia Lebouf your work, you know?

      Shit. Half a million easy. I'm pretty sure that Ferrell was playing himself in that scene (that kid had a pretty sweet white-kid jheri curl). Or, he stole the whole department store set from Elf.


  2. Not only was this movie awesome.... it was BAT-awesome!!

  3. OMG Polly Pockets. I was all about those. I think I will definitely be renting this when it comes out on DVD so I can try to get my kid to watch it too. He loves him some legos.

    1. It is sooooo good, I'm sure your son will love it. I mean, we've already discussed the personal Hell that are The Chipmunk movies, right? At least here, everyone will be happy. Or, at least, not wanting to kill a small animal/Justin Long.