The Lego Movie
By Stu HorsfieldDirectors: Chris Miller, Phil Lord Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell
The Lego movie is manic, disjointed, childish, and frankly exhausting. Though, it was SO FUCKING FUN that none of that really matters at all.
I didn’t know what to expect from it when I heard about it. It looked like a big ad for licenced Lego products, another attempt to cash in on the childhood memories of multiple generations, but with a decent enough cast that it wasn’t immediately obvious (you know, like Transformers, and Transformers 2… and 3… and almost every Tim Burton movie since ‘99*). Then I started hearing people say it was ‘legitimately good’, and ‘surprisingly mature’, and even ‘subversive’. And while I would argue it wasn’t really any of these things, I enjoyed it so much I watched it again almost immediately.
The characters are great, and the plot is simple but effective. The dialogue is a bit jilted at times, with people answering questions that weren’t asked, weird unprompted subject changes and things like that, but I guess that’s what happens when you try to fit a hundred bits of information into a 20 second conversation. And what kid is actually listening to that shit anyway? Amidst the blur are some genuinely hilarious moments, and the overall pace of it means the annoying or cringe-worthy parts are over in a flash.
As for being subversive… it got half way there. In the first 10 minutes it had managed an astonishing amount of what appeared to be social commentary, pointing to the potential rise of corporate dictatorships, the power of pop culture television and radio to distract from otherwise alarming political and social turmoil, and even implying corporate corruption within voting procedures, all with the excitement and ferocity of some kind of amphetamine induced fever dream. Like if George Orwell wrote an episode of Adventure Time. Except… not. What at first looks like a meaningful allegory for a modern anti-corporate revolution falls apart pretty quickly. If you follow the metaphor to the end, you will learn that the best way to overthrow an economic rationalist despot is to… DO WHATEVER! Great advice. #occupywhatever
Seriously I’m all for the sentiment, thumbs up, but It takes more than pointing at something and saying “hey look, that’s a thing,” to actually say something meaningful about it.
But regardless of all that, this movie had the humour and nostalgic charm of old Simpsons episodes, and the astonishing immersiveness that comes with truly innovative filmmaking. It reminded me of the experience of watching Avatar 3D at the IMAX in Sydney; I already knew it wasn’t a great movie, but the experience alone was worth the ticket price. It really felt like something new; really NEW. And so did this.
It’s hard to describe the aesthetic without just simply saying, “It’s like a movie if everything was Lego,” but that’s exactly what it is, and it’s done to such a meticulous extent that it creates a tangible world and when the credits roll you’re left with an emptiness feeling like you want to go back.
Go see it.
P.S. I’ve had that song stuck in my head for a week now and I don’t care.
* BURN. You know I'm right though, don’t lie.