Despite what you may think, “The Lego Movie” is more for adults than it is for kids. In fact, it parodies films we associate with our childhood, like “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings.”
Instead of following the classic hero’s journey, it manipulates that formula by twisting it into a non-hero journey. Emmet is the average Lego construction worker, happy to follow instructions and build skyscrapers in Lord Business’ segregated Lego Universe. But the hippie wizard voiced by Morgan Freeman foretells a prophecy that says Emmet is “the special” to save their world. Note that even the name mocks Anakin’s “the chosen one” in “Star Wars.“
The film tackles complex subjects like commercialism, communism and personal identity. But these social commentaries only work because the delivery is genuinely and endearingly hilarious.
Clearly, it is in the little things that the makers had fun breaking the rules. When two Legos fall off a cliff, the fall pauses – allowing them to casually share a full-length conversation mid-fall. Word puns and mispronunciations of “real world” words make up the complex wit that escapes younger audiences.
But what both young and old can relate to is the timeless intrigue of the Lego blocks. Visually, it is whole and true like no other CGI film ever felt before. Recent digitally animated movies risk falling into the “uncanny valley,” a theory stating that too real virtual graphics make audiences uncomfortable .
“The Lego Movie” completely bypasses this risk because it can never look too real. In fact, it aims for a realistic stop-motion look. The fingerprints and residue on the Lego pieces make you forget that the creators did not make this with photographs and repositioning of the figurines. Even the slight jerkiness of the frames imitates stop-motion. Especially in 3D, it tugs at your tactile sense, reminding you how fun it is to interlock the pieces.
With its absurdly original deconstructions of expectations,”The Lego Movie” surprises, provoking giggles while simultaneously displaying depth of thought. It extracts a heartfelt morale that relies on the parody of our present culture to avoid becoming preachy. As if by accident, the movie has the power to inspire future engineers, “masterbuilders” and believers.
If you go:
Now playing in theaters.