"The Lego Movie" (2014): Everything Is Awesome!!!
The Lego Movie is a computer animated adventure film released in 2014. And what else can I say about it? EVerything is AWesOME!!!!
I saw it about a year after it came out -- I mean, it was a kid's film, I was in my late twenties, and I didn't care. But once I saw it, I was blown away with how awesome it was.
As someone who grew up playing with Legos (and no, not those pretty pink ones that reinforce gender stereotypes), I found myself wishing this movie had come out when I was a kid. I used to own several classic sets -- including a really awesome classic alien set that I'm still pissed about giving away to my ex-girlfriend to this day.
Kids today are so lucky to have this film. It makes me want to buy some new Lego sets and start building. In fact, I believe this movie inspired me to go out and buy the Simpsons house set.
Yes, because of this sweet, sweet movie, I missed playing with Legos and I -- an adult -- went out and bought this set and built it.
Unfortunately, I live in the desert, where sand is always everywhere and as a result, can make inanimate objects a pain in the ass to dust. When I got tired of dusting the Simpsons house, I sold it and got my money back.
Anyway. Back to the movie.
What I love about The Lego Movie is that it takes the typical Super Special Self-Insert Hero and completely deconstructs it.
Emmet (Christ Pratt), the main character, is not super special. In fact, there's nothing special about him whatsoever.
Now, I'm not pretending as if the movie is doing something new or innovative here. The Everyman is a trope for a reason. There are an endless amount of Arthur Dents and Bilbo Baggins, ordinary (almost always) men who are placed in extraordinary circumstances.
What the Lego movie does differently is that it fully recognizes that Emmet is ordinary and instead of romanticizing that, he is called out on it repeatedly.
There's nothing wrong with being ordinary. The problem is that Emmet tries a little too hard to blend in, and as a result, sacrifices whatever uniqueness he might have.
That's the entire point of the film: that everyone is unique and that we should all like ourselves and embrace our unique qualities.
It's apparent from the first ten minutes of the film that Emmet doesn't like himself at all.
When we first meet Emmet, we follow him through his day as he tries desperately to "always be liked by everyone and fit in." Rather than being true to himself or even trying to know himself, he makes himself into a blank slate in order to appease others.
We can see him reading an instruction manual on how to live life, rather than just making choices for himself, and it's actually pretty sad how desperate he is. He's not living for himself -- he's living for everyone else!
It isn't until Emmet finally drops his instruction manual that he starts following his heart. This is the moment when he fulfills the prophecy by finding the Piece of Resistance. He then becomes "the Special," and his life finally begins.
I also thought WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks) was pretty awesome.
WyldStyle is pretty much the exact opposite of Emmet. Rather than toning herself down to fit in, she does everything in her power to stand out. She dyes her hair, has a weird internet handle for a name, and constantly pulls badass stunts in order to look cool.
But like Emmet, she's only doing all this crap because she doesn't like herself. In a touching moment (yes, it was touching, dammit! Okay?), she tells Emmet that she wanted desperately to be the Special and she was sort of mean to him because she was jealous that he was thought to be the Special instead.
Emmet in turn admits that meeting WyldStyle made him want to be special for the first time in his life. It was because of her that he finally embraced his uniqueness and tried to be more than the script society had handed to him.
It was because of WyldStyle that Emmet decided to love himself.
Aside from being heartwarming and a great lesson in self-love for kids, this movie is also just hilarious. There were so many wonderful characters in this!
There was Batman, voiced by Will Arnett -- Bojack Horseman! I saw this movie before I started watching Bojack on Netflix, so it's hilarious to look at it years later and hear Bojack's voice telling Emmet he's so disappointing in so many ways.
Voiced by Morgan Freeman, Vitruvius is a blind wizard who is supposed to be a mockery of the typical mystical mentor on the Hero's Journey. Think Gandolf, Dumbledore (who both appear in the movie, I might add), or Yoda.
I thought he was pretty hilarious in how disappointed he was with Emmet. And yet, he's the only person who continues to believe in Emmet and support him to the very end, even coming back from the dead to cheer him on.
"I liked Emmet before it was cool!" he says while floating away as a ghost.
Pretty hilarious character. Again, he was a mockery of the Mystical Mentor trope, which is largely what makes him so hilarious. That and Morgan Freeman's delivery.
"Emmet, you got this, man. Go on." (When Emmet is asked to give a speech.)
Aside from the fact that Will Ferrell is just freaking hilarious, I loved the story surrounding Lord Business because he's really just the way a little eight-year-old boy sees his grumpy and overbearing father. And -- as you might have guessed -- the boy sees himself in Emmet.
It was pretty touching at the end when the father realized that his son was seeing him as a tyrant. He then stopped being a hard-ass, put away the Krazy Glue (the "Kragle"), and started playing with his son instead.
It was also pretty cool that the boy's lisping infant sister was invited to play in a funny scene where her "alien" creations invade the town.
Thank you, Lego movie, for acknowledging that girls play with Legos too.
If I had one negative thing to say, it's that there are only two female characters in the entire movie: WyldStar and Unikitty. I won't even acknowledge Wonder Woman since she only has one speaking line.
Thankfully, the awesome sequel more than makes up for that. Would be nice if women weren't always an afterthought, though.
That being said, the next time I reach payout here, I'm totally buying a Unikitty figurine.
The audience was supposed to relate to Emmet, but I related to her. Her mantra is generally what I'm chanting under my breath while monitoring the comments on my articles here.
Must stay positive. Must stay positive --
I WILL EAT YOU ALIVE.
Own this awesome movie now!
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