With animated films, especially with so many coming from various studios, it’s hard to find ones that are really good as a whole. From voice talent to story, animation to the type of comedy, as that’s really where most differences can be found. Let’s face it, some embrace the subtle usage of adult humor, others blatantly use it, and there you could have a winner or some dumb film.
The animated comedy “The Lego Movie” from Warner Bros. Pictures was released on Feb. 7, 2014 and ended up being a critical and commercial success.
The film was written and directed by Phil Lord (“22 Jump Street”, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) and Christopher Miller (“22 Jump Street”, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”).
This ridiculously funny movie features the voice talents of: Chris Pratt (“Parks and Recreation”, “Her”), Will Ferrell (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”, “Everything Must Go”), Elizabeth Banks (“Walk of Shame”, “People Like Us”), Will Arnett (“The Nut Job”, “The Millers”), Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”, “Paradise”), Alison Brie (“Community”, “Scream 4”), Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Pacific Rim”), Liam Neeson (“A Million Ways to Die in the West”, “Non-Stop”), and Morgan Freeman (“Lucy”, “Last Vegas”).
From the name itself, “The Lego Movie”, this is already a vastly different animated comedy. I get that studios want to market to whole families, as it’s the adults that will take their kids or nieces and nephews, whomever, to see the film, but does that mean it’s really one “for the whole family”, as the saying goes? More likely, than not, it isn’t. Most adults probably roll their eyes and accompany their young charges anyway, knowing full well they’d rather do anything else. This film really has the appeal for the whole family. First, there’s no singing of catchy songs that drive you crazy after 15 listens, like “Frozen”, second the characters are Legos! That’s all I need to know in order to get excited for it. Come to think of it, that was all I knew about it for some time.
Which also explains why was so incredibly amazed at the scope of the animation. Sure I knew this was animated and it would feature Lego characters, but I’d never invested the time to look further. I guess I could’ve thought that it would be some strange blend of animated Lego characters and typical animation for everything else. Much to my surprise, it was ALL Lego! The waves, fire, dust, all Lego! It was so cool! I’m seriously unsure of how to look at the amazing animation done for this film. Everything just came off as really crisp and refined. The whole way animation was used was vastly different from even that of a Pixar film, which really revolutionized the world of animation. One thing I absolutely love is that it that they look very very real. Not just animated to look like the toys, but more where they can be plucked off the screen and played with as is.
Not only does the film take full advantage of all of Legos products, which one would rightly expect, but there are so many references to various things that exist now in pop culture. The vast array of pop culture references, can be easy to spot, but also easily missed, and I’m thinking of those old enough to know them. I missed several myself, which only were revealed upon reading the IMDB page for the film. I’m excited to go back and see if I can identify them! The ones I did notice were just pleasant reminders and helped to give this film a different kind of adorable quality. Even when doing a short montage of other Lego worlds, they used ones that didn’t feel right to the film, thus expanding on the well done Lego advertisement.
The humor was something I wasn’t expecting. This, in part, was due to the voice work and script. The film didn’t completely call for the typical gross out, childish humor that can pop up, but from witty dialogue. The characters, being well developed, stood out so well that when they spoke it was flat out funny. Emmett was a hoot! So plain and normal, that everything he did was able to lend humor. While there was some humor from the destructive nature of the adventure, it was primarily the dialogue and actions from the characters as they interact with one another.
The thing I can’t figure out if I like or not, was the ending. To go from animated to live action was weird. Wrong? Not necessarily. But it made the ending, and film, lose a bit of the momentum that was built up. It worked out from the standpoint of delivering a message, to go along with the films overall message, but that didn’t make it seem any less odd.
I’ve seen a lot of animated films, but when I think about it, I’ve seldom taken to any the way I have for this film. I was initially hesitant on buying the film straight away, without seeing it once, but that ended up being okay. I could probably sit through another few viewings and devour the special features too, before it grows a little tiresome, if at all.