Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Lego Movie
Written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller from a story by Lord, Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman, The Lego Movie is the story of an ordinary construction worker who is asked to join a quest to help a wizard defeat an evil lord. The film is an animated feature inspired by the Legos building toys as this ordinary person is believed to be part of a prophecy to help the world of Legos from this evil tyrant. Featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, and Morgan Freeman. The Lego Movie is a truly fun and extremely awesome film from Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Set in a world where it’s built entirely on Legos, the film revolves around an ordinary construction worker who finds a relic that is believed to be part of a prophecy to stop an evil lord from wreaking havoc and instill conformity as part of his vision of perfection and order. By taking part in a quest with a group of misfits led by a wizard, this ordinary worker in Emmett (Chris Pratt) finds himself realizing that he has been in a world where he doesn’t feel special as those question about whether he is this master builder that the prophecy claim to be. It’s a film with a simple premise yet it has compelling themes on the idea of conformity vs. individuality where the latter is rebelling against the ideas of this evil lord in Lord Business (Will Ferrell) as they’re known for creating things based on spontaneity. Yet, Lord Business is an individual who hates these ideas where Emmett would force this band of misfits to work together and find a way to use their spontaneity to defeat the evil lord.
The film’s screenplay definitely plays into aspects of conventional ideas about conformity vs. individuality yet the balance of that is Emmett as he is just this ordinary construction worker that is just trying to fit in as he works on creating buildings based on instructional manuals. When he meets this mysterious woman named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) where he would accidentally find this relic, he comes across something where it is clear that he wasn’t meant to find this thing as he would team up with Wyldstyle and this wizard named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) who is a master builder that leads a group of master builders. Yet, they’re pursued by Lord Business’ henchman Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) as they trek through different worlds as they do whatever it takes to stop Lord Business from unleashing the mysterious weapon known as the Kragle.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s direction is definitely wondrous not just for the fact that they created this unique mix of 3D computer animation with traditional elements as they would use Legos as their template. It’s also in how they use Legos to tell the story as well as play into how these characters interact with one another and feel like they’re a part of something. It’s part of the dramatic conflict that occurs in someone like Emmett who wants to fit yet he is unable to stand out as many of his co-workers just think of him as just no one. Much of the compositions aren’t just simple but they also have elements of surrealism in the way Emmett interacts with his surroundings as they’re very strange worlds that he is in. Among them is a world of the West, a medieval world, a world set in the clouds, and all sorts of crazy things that is definitely everything that Lord Business wants to get rid of.
The direction of the film also has elements that feels like a low-budget film where it’s clear that Lord and Miller are having fun as if they are playing with actual Lego toys. Even as the sense of spontaneity comes in whenever characters create something to get out of a bad situation. There’s also superheroes such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Gandalf, and many others that appear in the film as they do serve some importance to the film as it also plays to how silly things are in the world of Legos. Especially into what the object known as the Kragle is as there are elements that add to this strange sense of surrealism which does bring a sense of joy and weirdness that feels very accessible. Overall, Lord and Miller create a very delightful and extremely fun film about an ordinary construction worker trying to save his Lego world and its people.
Cinematographer Pablo Plaisted does excellent work with some of the lighting schemes needed for some of the film‘s interior sets to play into the colorful look of the film. Editors David Burrows and Chris McKay do fantastic work with the editing to play into the energetic tone of the film as well as slowing things down for the suspenseful moments. Production designer Grant Freckelton does brilliant work with the look of the Lego buildings and other objects to play into the strange world of Legos. Sound designer Wayne Pashley does superb work with the sound effects including the smaller things into how some things are built. The film’s music by Mark Mothersbaugh is amazing for its mixture of orchestral music with elements of electronic and other offbeat music as it also features the song Everything is Awesome by Tegan & Sara.
The voice casting by Mary Hidalgo is incredible as it features voice cameos from Will Forte, Dave Franco, and Jorma Taccone in small roles as well as other voice performances from Cobie Smolders as Wonder Woman, Channing Tatum as Superman, Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, Shaquille O’Neal as a Lego version of himself, and Charlie Day in a very funny voice performance as 80s space guy who always wants to keep building a spaceship. Other notable small voice roles include Alison Brie as a very optimistic hybrid of cat and unicorn called Princess Unikitty while Nick Offerman is hilarious as a pirate character called Metalbeard who seeks vengeance of Lord Business. Morgan Freeman is excellent as the mysterious wizard Vitruvius as he is this wise man that is often in some very funny situations. Liam Neeson is superb as Bad Cop as this good cop/bad cop who is often forced to do Lord Business’ bidding as Neeson also voices Bad Cop’s parents and his good side.
Will Arnett is fantastic as the voice of Batman as this hilarious variation of the superhero who is often full of himself and thinks he is better than everyone. Will Ferrell is brilliant as Lord Business as this evil tyrant who is keen on making sure that everyone is doing things his way in an act of conformity. Elizabeth Banks is amazing as Wyldstyle as this tech-savvy fighter who was trying to find the mysterious relic as she becomes an object of affection for Emmett while dealing with her own flaws as an individual. Finally, there’s Chris Pratt in a remarkable voice performance as Emmett as this ordinary construction worker who learns that he is part of a prophecy that can save the Lego world as he copes with trying to live up to those expectations while admitting that he is just ordinary.
The Lego Movie is a phenomenal film from Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Featuring a great cast as well as a unique premise that is inspired by Legos, it is a film that manages to be full of imagination as well as bring out all sorts of joy for those who love Legos. Even as it manages to infuse elements of surrealism and weird things that manages to be crazier than it actually is. In the end, The Lego Movie is a sensational film from Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Phil Lord & Chris Miller Films: (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) - 21 Jump Street - 22 Jump Street
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