This afternoon, I went to see The Lego Movie. Stop rolling your eyes in the back, I can see you. I know what you’re thinking. The Lego Movie. A movie about a kid’s toy. It’s not even a toy with a related plot, how can you make a movie of it?
Answer: with lots of wit, and imagination, and love. And it is a joy. Take your kids, take your people who like stories, take your people who are far too earnest for their own good. The last lot might be the only lot who don’t enjoy it, but they’re the ones who need to see it most.
Because here’s the thing: I was not expecting The Lego Movie to be this movie.
I saw the trailer. I laughed, I was charmed, I was convinced – for the first time – that it was going to be worth going to see a movie based on a toy or a game. Friends of mine who saw it in the first few days said it was genuinely amazing and that they wanted to see it again. And so I went, terribly excited, and not a little nervous that it couldn’t actually, live up to these expectations.
And for the first 10 minutes or so, I was worried that it wasn’t going to. Sure it looked good, a little quirky, but fun and nicely done, and there were a few good jokes, but where was it going? Were they really going to hang a whole evil overlord vs. plucky hero and mentor plot line off a bunch of cute bricks and pull it off?
Well, um, yes, they were. And at some point, right around the very expensive coffee gag and the performance of the infuriatingly catchy son Everything is Awesome I bought in. Dumbledore and Gandalf are buds! Will Arnett is the best Batman never to have been live action! Allison Brie is a magickal Unikitty! There are jokes about Abraham Lincoln! Liam Neeson’s accent is messing with you! Green Lantern is as useless a lego master builder as Green Lantern is a useless movie! It’s ALL LEGO. Even the bubbles in the shower are lego.
And then it does a thing that I’m not going to talk about, except to say that it had crossed my mind early on that they might, and then I thought, ‘Nahhhh, it’ll be really cheesy’ – and then they did it, and it was not really cheesy. It was, in fact, the thing that made the movie.
The Lego Movie is, basically, the little movie that could (except, not really very little). It manages to pull off the wild irony of a Warner Brothers movie about lego making snarky jokes about the evils of consumer capitalism, and pretty much encapsulate why the reasons why lego is the most amazing toy any child ever had. I expected to laugh – I didn’t expect to cry (and no, Dad, I don’t cry at everything).
Everything is awesome.