When I first saw trailers for The LEGO Movie, I really thought it was stop-motion, and I was a little dissapointed to learn that the whole thing is CGI. The animation is no less breathtaking. It is actually made to look like stop-motion, but it’s not.
The film is a treat for animation students. But ten-year-olds in the audience will not get some its humor.
The script, written by the same guys who did Hotel Transylvania, is steeped in over-the-top, Invader Zim-style shouting. The gems of it are smart pop culture jokes that only people of a certain age will get.
For example: One LEGO universe, Viking’s Landing, is advertised as featuring fun things like “vikings, dragons, illiteracy.” When WildStyle (Elizabeth Banks) recruits Emmet (Chris Pratt) to save the day, she says, “Come with me if you want to not die,” a cheeky nod to the Terminator franchise.
Batman is “a real artist, dark and brooding.” “This is an original song,” Batman tells Emmet. “It’s about me being an orphan.”
The film is packed with riffs on other franchises that, like LEGOs, have driven people insane, including Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, Tim Burton’s original Batman films (before Schumacher took over), Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
The full list of references is covered in this EW article, which, like the next two paragraphs, contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen The LEGO Movie yet, stop reading.
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With A Chance of MeatBalls), the film diminished in scope and grandeur slightly when it revealed that this awesome LEGO world, with all its interior universes, exists on someone’s play table.
The dictator of LEGO World, President Business, wants to control everything and “destroy the world” by gluing everything down with “The Kragle” (a tube of crazy glue), making LEGO people unable to build anew (or, for that matter, move).
Along comes the Resistance, a secret band of “Master Builders,” who have been waiting for a Messiah-like figure called “The Special” to appear in accordance to an 8-year-old prophecy that we later learn is completely fabricated (a ballsy jab at that other really old document about Christ).
That “Special,” quite by accident, is Emmet, an ordinary guy who isn’t a Master Builder at all. Will he save the day? Will there be laughs? Go see the movie. You’ll be glad you did.