Movie Review - The Lego Movie
|Emmet (left), voiced by Chris Pratt, with|
Batman, voiced by Will Arnett in "The Lego Movie"
Admittedly, the stop-motion animation used to create this film is fantastic and amazing on multiple levels, from a design level and an execution level. My only problem is that writers-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's camerawork and editing is too fast-paced. The action in this film rivals that of Michael Bay's in all his Transformers movies. I wouldn't be surprised if a billion Lego pieces were used to craft this thing because it feels like a million Lego bricks fly by every minute or even second.
It's at times dazzling and dizzying to behold. During some action scenes, I couldn't tell what was happening, how things were being built and manipulated. It was just a blur of Lego pieces. It didn't help that again the camerawork and editing were manic and in-your-face. I get that when it comes to animation, especially stop-motion, the filmmakers want to push the boundaries and be more epic and intricate, as well as not be boring but it all becomes an explosion of colors with hard, angular edges.
The movie was funny. There were a lot of good gags, both verbal and visual. The vocal performances from Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell worked wonders. Unfortunately, the constant comedic bit of Pratt's character Emmet always falling down got frustrating after the first 100 times.
The rest is just a crazy Hodge-podge of things seen many, many times before, but without the emotional connection that has come from greater animated features. Honestly, it's like Lord and Miller took a bunch of popular films, put them in a salad bowl, tossed them high in the air and this movie is what hit the floor.
The Lego Movie is basically Toy Story meets Wreck-It Ralph meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets Star Wars meets The Matrix. The Lego Group licenses the rights to make Lego pieces based on characters and properties from most of those movies and more, and the filmmakers make full use of all those characters. It only becomes derivative of all of them, lacking the heart and ingenuity of each, in a kind of Wayans Bros. form of filmmaking.
This is not the first Lego movie by Warner Bros. There was a direct-to-DVD release last year called Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite, which did more interesting things about Lego bricks, concerning how they're used and what they mean symbolically than this did.
This film also had conflicting messages. On one hand, it's saying to follow instructions and basically be a conformist drone. On the other hand, it's saying don't follow instructions and be wild and creative. Essentially, both hands are needed, but that lesson gets muddled.
Three Stars out of Five.
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 40 mins.