Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Lego Movie


My first reaction: Oh boy, how low and basic will they sink to find an idea for a movie? Lincoln Logs Xtreme? Parcheesi? Canasta? Tic-Tac-Toe, the Movie? My second reaction: Well, if you have a good story and interesting characters, do I really care if they are all Legos? I like Legos. I really wish I had visited Legoland when we lived in Southern California. The Lego “Master Builders” are insane, the things they can build out of little bits of colored plastic. And the reviews are as positive as for any movie I’ve ever seen. I’ll give it a chance.

Okay. I’ve seen it. Now, with animated movies these days, I figure that AWESOME is the default position. I mean, if it ain’t visually awesome with the tools they have these days, they’re just not doing their jobs. It would be better if they had never bothered. And I’m here to tell you that, visually, this movie resets the whole video game. It is super-awesome. The sheer amount of care and imagination that went into the movie boggles my mind. My only complaint: So much of it moves by so fast that you have no hope of getting it all in one showing. The good news is, I could watch it again right now. They deliberately made it look as if it was stop-motion, using an almost infinite number of Lego bricks, but it’s all CGI. But it all looks like Legos. You will be delighted at how they did things like water, smoke, fire, lightning bolts.

The story is clever, too. The best way to make a movie like this is to have it be simple enough that the young folks can understand it, but have enough in-jokes and visual things for adults that the whole family can have fun. They borrow from every Lego set ever made, and there have been a ton of them. Not only do we get Superman, Batman, Dumbledore, and Gandalf, but Star Wars characters (Han Solo and that annoying Wookie get eaten this time in a replay of the famous “giant asteroid creature” scene from The Empire Strikes Back) and the NBA all-stars, including Shaq, voiced by himself. Other great voices are Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson.

To top it off, the ending blew me away. We find out what has really been happening, and I never expected it. It all makes perfect sense, in the same way that Toy Story did. So please, don’t be put off by the idea of a super-long commercial for Lego bricks. Which it is, no question, but is that a bad thing? Not to my mind. I’d rather see kids playing with Legos than hypnotized by X-Box or their goddam smart phones.