Saturday, December 26, 2015

Movie #344: The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie is a (mostly) animated film starring Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, and Liam Neeson. It's probably one of my favorite movies of the last year.

The movie opens with Lord Business (Ferrell) blinding and defeating the hippie/wizard Vitruvius, but not before the latter proclaims a prophecy about the Special, an individual who will defeat Lord Business with the Piece of Resistance. This mystical object is the only thing that can defeat Business' ultimate weapon, the Kragle.

8 1/2 years later, Emmett (Pratt) an ordinary construction worker and dedicated conformist, follows a mysterious woman (Banks) into a strange tunnel and wakes up after a vision quest with the Piece strapped to his back. Dodging the pursuit of Bad Cop (Neeson), he meets up with Vitruvius and the other Master Builders, including lots of DC Superheroes, NBA all-stars, and various other characters that have been made into Legos, and forms a plan to infiltrate Business' lair and destroy the Kragle. He almost makes it, too...and then he gets captured and tossed into the abyss, whereupon he sees the Man Upstairs (Ferrell in real life) and his (presumably) 8 1/2 year old son, Finn (Jadon Sand). And then it all gets completely meta.

Ferrell is a Lego collector, and his son just wants to play with the bricks and make his own crazy stuff. All of the story is Finn's vision of the citizens of the Lego universe coming together to stop Lord Business' plans to freeze them all in place, achieving his (rather banal) version of perfection. And then it falls completely into place; Lord Business, with his office on the Infinity-ith floor, the simplistic, rhyming prophecy, and, of course, Batman (Arnett) being a Master Builder and Lucy's boyfriend...all of this is Finn's story.

I really love this movie, and every time I watch it I'm blown away by the scripting. It seems really light and simple until you learn what's really going on, and then all of the little details make perfect sense. But the resolution of the story - Finn tell his dad (through Emmett telling Lord Business) that it's not just that everyone is special, but anyone can be the Special. It's not that there's a single Chosen One, it's that you - you - could be chosen to do the right thing, to make a difference, and to shine. And when he's called upon, Dad (and therefore Lord Business) rise up and do the right thing. (Is it any wonder I love this movie?)

Watching this movie for the first time, I was a little bummed that Lucy, a capable and fervent character and freedom fighter, wasn't the star, but then they actually address that. She wanted to be the Special, but Emmett lucked into it. But that's the point - the only reason Emmett is the Special is because he fell down the right hole. It could've been Lucy, and she gets her own chance to kick ass, but she's not the one who gets the final confrontation with Lord Business because that's not what she's called upon to do (and because Finn picked Emmett as his self-insert, which is fair).

Anyway, I really don't have anything negative to say about this movie, and I assume the only reason it wasn't nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar was because the live-action sequences disqualified it. It should have been nominated for Best Picture, frankly.

My grade: A
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Clerks