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Well this is an article I never though I’d write. Not only that, I never though I would write an article with this title with the hopes I can write a follow-up piece titled “Why I Was Right About ‘The LEGO Movie’.” Be lo and behold with the first trailer for the beloved blocks’ big screen foray I am on board unequivocally. Frankly, this is now one of my most anticipated films of 2014 (dibs on the review).
Simply put, there looks to be so much going for this film, and to have such a reaction spurred by a concept which had a lot of people (myself included) bemoaning the death of creativity in Hollywood (more so) is a rarity. So without any more build-up (he he) let’s chat why exactly The LEGO Movie is looking to be one of the must-see efforts of next year.
The Directors’ Have a Great (and Relevant) Track Record
As far as fresh movie making talent is concerned, the dynamic duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller are some of the coolest filmmakers around. After creating one of the best, most subversive and outwardly balls-out crazy (and prematurely cancelled) television shows of all time with Clone High, these dudes have also turned out two stellar big screen efforts.
Lord and Miller won over kids of all ages with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (which is getting a duo-less sequel this year) and then pulled off a critical and audience upset with the gut-busting pseudo-remake 21 Jump Street (which is also getting a sequel next year, thankfully with the two returning).
But it’s not just a great track record that bodes well for The LEGO Movie but rather the tones and mediums both of those films employ. With their experience in animation and obviously talent for parody both of the overt and subversive variety, this pairing couldn’t be more perfect for a film like this. Right from its conception, if a LEGO movie were to work, self seriousness would have to be off the table, as would a heavy aesthetic tinkering of what everyone knows and loves about the toy. And so far, we haven’t seen any of the failings shown by most toy-to-film adaptations.
It Has the Chance to Combine So Many Characters
Batman, wizards and 80’s Something Space Guy, The LEGO Movie has the odd and ultimately unique chance to actually better itself because of its multiple marketing tie-ins. Because LEGO has the rights to so many miniature versions of some of the world’s biggest properties, and thus the prerogative to use them as they wish, we’re in for an orgy of who’s who fun.
Furthermore (and also rare) this film doesn’t at all need to make sense in the way it has these characters interact, because after all (as kids or adults – what don’t judge me) who didn’t have bald smiling LEGO guy team up with a dinosaur to defeat Darth Vader? The more eclectic the animated cast, the more it’s going to remind us of why LEGO was such a blast in the first place (which leads us into our next reason).
It Has the Chance to Be Organically Nostalgic
Unlike so many of the big budget treatments of popular games and toys, The LEGO Movie (or at least how Lord and Miller have approached the material) is embracing its origins, not just referencing them causally before drowning them in CGI excess. Remember Battleship? That mostly fun game where you would cheat like sailor? Well here’s Peter Berg’s $210-million extravaganza that will remind you of it in no way whatsoever and even manage to forget to slip in the most iconic expression relating to the product (you sunk my confidence, Hasbro!).
Here, the look and feel is intact, the world is populated by stark animated representations of all your favourite pieces and simply put, it is going to remind you of playing LEGO and how stimulating it could (and still can) be, not of Transformers and green screen effects.
The Animation Style
Potentially a groundbreaker, from my approximation The LEGO Movie is the first to mimic stop-motion animation through what are now commonplace digital animating techniques. So not only are we getting a truly fitting construction of these angular, robotically-moving heroes but the flick is tossing in a creative new approach to the medium to boot.
Of course, nothing can beat the tangible nature of a true stop-motion feature but for a film that is going to require some insanely complex antics, the attention to detail is refreshing to say the least. And of course on a visually fundamental level everything still looks like LEGO, even though it’s on the big screen and not painfully lodged into the bottom of our foot.
Its Sense of Humour
Toy-relevant slapstick, blunt and subtle parody and just charming and funny writing (and what will no doubt be solid voice work from Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and so many more) should do a whole lot of favours for The LEGO Movie. A film can be funny without being subversive, a satire without drawing tears and of course with a toy-to-film effort a total disaster without much trouble. Thankfully this film looks to strike (positively) in all three quadrants.
As we all know comedy is one of the most dividing mediums of film and perhaps since the type of humour won me over I’m being overly kind, but man did the first trailer crack me up. Some of that feeling was certainly from the gobsmacking I received when I realized The LEGO Movie actually looked good but I truly think in a Wreck-It Ralph type of way, this effort is going to be a true charmer. The fact that I felt compelled to write this after, well, writing this off completely should say something and for my money this looks like it could be one of the big hits of next year.