Thursday, February 6, 2014

FUN FACTOR



MOVIE REVIEW:
THE LEGO MOVIE



Review By:
G.P. Manalo

Directed By:
Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Starring:
Chris Pratt
Elizabeth Banks
Will Ferrell
Morgan Freeman
Will Arnett

When a movie about Legos was first announced a couple of years ago, I immediately chuckled, my initial reaction was “pssh, really?”. Product movies have always left a bad taste in the mouth of an everyday movie-goer whether they’ll be about Garbage Pail Kids, Transformers, G.I. Joes, Bratz, Care Bears or even Battleship; movies that only act as an hour long advertisement than it is actual feature. Surprisingly enough, The Lego Movie is actually better than it is meant out to be, (probably) being the smartest, high octane and a surprisingly heart felt animated film that did get me off guard. 

When Lord Business (Will Farrell) has got his hands on a powerful relic known as, the Kragle that is beyond the power of the Lego world, but according to Vitruvius’ (Morgan Freeman) prophecy that a great hero will emerge with a piece of resistance to end his schemes of dominating their world; That hero is, Emmet (Chris Pratt) who lives through the instructions given to him and live his life happily despite the repetitiveness. But one day, he clumsily found the piece of resistance making him “the one special” and along the way met a girl named, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who helps him go to the gathering of the master builders. Even though they were disappointed by the result of the prophecy they had no other choice but to put their faith in this unlikely hero and band together to defeat Lord Business and his minions led by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). 


Clever is definitely the best word to describe the writing of this film. The film plays around the typical hero’s journey storyline in the perspective of an ordinary guy (this is basically the G-rated Matrix with Legos). What the movie does is that it pokes fun of the clich├ęd storyline that is not mostly played on for laughs but also with heart. Thanks to 21 Jumpstreet and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs helmers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. It’s amazing how they actually built (no pun intended) such a great world and story out of Legos, but not really just the blocks but they also on the scheme of creativity. The film is pretty much playing around (again, no pun intended), the point of this film is very much about playing beyond instructions and challenge your creativity. The humor also adds to the movie, sure there were a couple of jokes that fell flat but the majority of it was cleverly written. Little details like those adds so much to this movie, that makes the experience fun for someone who grew up with playing (and stepping on) Legos or toys in general. 

It’s also great to see famous Lego licenses play a part in this grand scheme that felt so unlikely at first because other studios do have the rights for some of these characters popping out of nowhere. You see Michael Angelo from the Ninja Turtles, 2002 NBA All Stars, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and more; hell! They even have the frickin’ Justice League assembled in one movie before Warner Bros. could in the next 2 years. They don’t feel forced at some point, some of them feel consistent and most characters were enough to be part of the story. To top everything off, the last third of the movie brought out a huge twist that is teased in the first few minutes of the movie. That twist caught me off guard; it wasn’t just a mind-boggling Shyama-Shawarma-esque type of twist but also a heartfelt one  (which I will no longer talk about because it could spoil the movie) that could shed a tear (that I didn’t because I’m a heartless bastard who doesn’t show emotion).

An animated Lego feature is nothing really new lately, we’ve seen that play in other media such as the video games and the Lego Star Wars shorts that play in Cartoon Network, but in this film it is featured differently. The animation gives the illusion of practical or (for the sake of a better word) stop motion in a CGI environment, because of how the animation go. it stays true to the way Legos move and also some of the things like explosions,  the environment and bullets be made out of Legos. It is also unlikely that they were able to make such fun and exciting action/fight sequences, even though Legos only have 5 points of articulation. 



The cast is a very well assembled cast you got stars popping up as your favourite Lego characters, most of them you could recognize as them playing the character (like Jonah Hill as a Justice League member) and some who don’t at all. Chris Pratt is perfectly cast as Emmet, he is a very experienced and capable comedic actor and he really works as his character, like the rest of the cast, he injected so much life to this character with his voice. Another one to name is Liam Neeson as Bad Cop, I never thought that he also did Good Cop (being different in voice) as well and just by knowing that is just great to know that Liam Neeson did a very great voice work than his last work in (that utterly forgettable animated movie) Nut Job. Another one to name is Will Ferrell as Lord Business booming voice in this movie; I honestly thought that he’d recycle his Megamind voice but he somehow didn’t, the over the top villain voice he did for his Megamind actually worked well for his character in this movie very well too. 

To go real quick with the rest of the cast (since this is a humungous cast): Will Arnett surprisingly voicing the third best Batman voice ever, Elizabeth Banks is charming as always, Charlie Day is so over the top that everything he does or say is hilarious, Nick Offerman offers (*ba-dum-tss*) a very surprising voice work; he played a convincing yet cartoon pirate voice for Metal-beard that I didn’t know it was Ron Swanson himself doing that voice, Allison Brie’s Unikitty also did a very recognizable voice work, but last but definitely not the least is Morgan Freeman who I am pretty sure is doing one of his comedic God roles in this movie.

In the end, The Lego Movie lives up to the theme song of the film “everything is awesome”, everything about this movie is AWESOME. I know I sound like I’m exaggerating but, this is probably the best kids movie I have ever seen in a while (other than some Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks animated features), granted I still think the humor were off for the most part and there were a few things that could’ve been cut out easily but they are just very minor gripes. Nonetheless I enjoyed this movie very much that I wanted it to continue after that climactic ending. I had this stupid permanent smile on my face the entire time and laugh immaturely at the things I find funny. The film is very energetic, it’s like watching a kid on a sugar rush playing with his toys for the entire time and it is very entertaining. This is not your typical kid’s film where a parent would regret taking their kids to this film in the first place; there are a lot of things for both adults and children to be entertained from start to finish. The writing is smart as it celebrate the child’s imagination and individuality; Phil Lord and Chris Miller did a great job on shedding that light on this movie with such wit and heartfelt writing from start to finish.


THE GOOD:
+ SURREAL ANIMATION
+ HILARIOUS MOMENTS
+ SPECTACULAR VOCAL PERFORMANCES
+ABLE TO BUILD JOKES AND AN ACTUAL STORY OUT OF LEGOS
+ A SURPRISING TWIST IN THE THIRD ACT 

THE BAD:
- MOST OF THE JOKES FELL FLAT
- A COUPLE OF SCENES COULD'VE BEEN CUT
- NO BIONICLES (TOTALLY KIDDING ABOUT THIS COMPLAINT)

MY RATING:
FOR THE WIN - 4.5/5



 

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