Lego Movie promotes creativity


At a glance, Warner Bros. Pictures’s latest hit, “The Lego Movie,” seems to be a lost cause. Why animate a film in an art style seemingly exclusive to early-2000s YouTube culture? Ironically, the off-putting Lego stop-motion style of the picture, the reason I didn’t sprint to the midnight screenings, is one of this impressive film’s many strengths.

That’s right. “Lego Movie” was great.

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently about the film is whether it has a plot. To answer your question, it does. An excellent plot, actually. “Lego Movie” is about a generic construction worker mini-figure named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) who has to save the world with a team of Master Builders. The villain in the movie is a middle-aged mini-figure named President Business who owns everything (from radio stations to coffee shops to TV shows).

This movie, although it wasn’t advertised so, is most definitely for adults. While children may have enjoyed the few instances of slapstick humor or obvious puns, much of the clever writing appeals to those with those who have grown up. What makes the plot great is its satirical substance. What younger kids probably didn’t catch was the message conveyed by the interesting, exaggerated characters in the movie.

The most interesting character to me was President Business. Voiced by Will Ferrell, he’s a fun villain, first and foremost. Think Megamind, just not blue. President Business symbolizes corporation as a whole. He owns pretty much everything mentioned in the movie. It’s unrealistically extreme in the film, however, most effective satire is.

The most interesting parallel the writers made to real life was the fact that President Business owned voting boxes as well as businesses. It shows the writer’s stance on corporations being involved in politics.

Also, an ingenious symbol the movie uses is the pervasive song “Everything Is Awesome.” The song will get stuck in your head. That’s the point. It’s literally the same verse repeated over and over to convey that pop music has become about sales, not originality. Kids won’t catch it, they’ll just keep singing the song for hours after the movie because they like it.

Here’s where my biggest surprise comes in, and that’s why this movie is aimed at parents. The message conveyed most strongly near the end (I won’t spoil that, as that’s a surprise) is that parents need to stop stripping their kids of their creativity.

In an age of consistently unoriginal and purely economic media production and consumption, a movie that promotes supporting creativity from a parent standpoint is long overdue. The power of this movie is that I left knowing exactly what they had to say about creativity and corporations’ effects on it, and I felt compelled to spread those true and absolutely relevant ideas.

This movie has plenty of strengths other than the clever parallels the writers make.

The cast does an excellent job in this movie. Some of the voices include Will Arnett as Batman, Elizabeth Banks as Wyldestyle and Charlie Day as 1980s Space Guy. These actors, combined with the clever writing, provide for some unique, fun and interesting characters. For example, the 1980s Space Guy has an unusual obsession with building spaceships, but is constantly told he can’t. His reactions combined with Charlie Day’s funny, high-pitched voice provide for some great laughs and an interesting character.

Some of the characters are original, while others, like Batman, are trademarked. They explore traits of the characters that are often overlooked (such as Batman’s strange obsession with darkness and even the awkward friendship between Green Lantern and Superman). These takes on the characters are not only funny on-screen, they’re memorable and original. This movie, despite its lifeless-seeming animation, is surprisingly human.

The excellent actors and characters, the visual flair of Lego animation’s big-screen debut and the whole-hearted message “Lego Movie” holds about creativity in kids is enough to breath life into this gem of a movie. This is the best movie of 2014 by far.

Mike Sullivan