Brief Examination: The Lego Movie (2014)

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The Lego Movie represents a towering achievement in animation and family entertainment. To list its various virtues would take countless pages and go into utter depths of gushing, that would be hard of me to escape from and prove to be an utter bore for you to read. Instead, pinpointing, exactly what makes it a success would prove to be a more useful endeavor.

One of its clear inspirations is the Pixar Toy Story films, which worked in showcasing a universal aspect that nearly everyone could relate to, which is our constant and ever-changing relationship to our toys as we age.

The picture draws on our conception of Lego, by simply and quite cleverly putting forward two ways to play with Lego, that also encapsulate the opposing world views. The first being fronted by Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who believes that there should be a plan for everything, including for building Lego sets. On the opposing side, we have the other characters who believe in imagination that is emphasised through working without a net and instructions when it comes to playing with Lego.

This concept and conflict are unique and will appeal to both children and adults. It can engage the former by advocating imagination and freedom in playing and thinking and intrigue the latter, with an interesting story that has themes about how society should be run, through the two approaches.

Additionally, like Toy Story, it takes the excitement of playing with toys, or in this case building and constructing and shows it on screen in a very fun and viserial way. It was most evident in the finale which wonderfully blended live action and animation, in a way that reinforced the action and themes.

But to say that the Lego Movie just feels like it has been inspired by Toy Story is not looking at the full picture. The film feels like it has its pop culture sensibility from Dreamworks and its animation from Rango, which was the last animated featured that made me applaud the genre. Looming like a dark spectre, over the inspirational honey pot is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which the Lego Movie feels like it has been influenced by in terms of its speed, soundtrack and energy.

Finally, the Lego Movie works because it showcases the true power of the animated film, how far it has come, where it is now and a potential future in it which showcases what the imagination and cinema can do when working in perfect harmony, I applaud and admire it in equal measures.

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About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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