Much like vintage style 70’s clothing, children’s movies became cool again at a certain point in high school. Once you reach a certain age, you are allowed to admit that you still enjoy “Lion King” and “Toy Story.”
“Frozen,” Disney’s newest release has been extremely popular among college students, as anyone with Facebook has surely noticed (my timeline is just one of many, full of Buzzfeeds about the movie). The movie’s beautiful ice-wonderland, accompanied by a soundtrack which was at times powerful, at others adorable, along with its progressive message, and sharp comedy, especially from the delightful Olaf, have made the movie a national phenomenon. But as much as I love “Frozen,” watching Disney movies as an adult isn’t quite as magical as it was when we were children.
Sitting in the theater, we are reminded that this is a children’s movie, and although we still enjoy the cute humor, we aren’t filled with the same glee and excitement we had when we first saw “Aladdin.” The jokes inserted for adults (it seems unlikely any eight-year olds are catching the Arrested Development references), only reinforce this feeling of being an outsider, and the attached guilt. We are adults, and we have lost the innocence and true pleasure that we once had, and this stands between us and the pure enjoyment children experience watching these movies.
Watching “The Lego Movie,” I truly felt like a kid again, specifically because it wasn’t a children’s movie. Much like its namesake, “The Lego Movie,” allows its audience, no matter the age, to live in an amazing and carefree world, beautifully brought to life through 3-D and an amazing cast. When describing most Disney movies, the words “cute” and “adorable” come to mind. The humor in “The Lego Movie” is more aptly defined as “clever.” At every turn, in every scene, the humor and the jokes are incredibly sharp. Don’t let the animation deceive you: “The Lego Movie” is a comedy made for adults and children to enjoy equally.
In comedies, the plot often ruins the humor, and the second half of the movie gets side-tracked with plot explication and lesson-teaching. In Disney and Disney-Pixar films, the plot and message play a significant and rather moving role, though this comes at the expense of jokes. “The Lego Movie” treats its plot and message as secondary, and though its second half isn’t quite as amazing and joke-filled as its first half, the directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord recognize that the movie is a comedy, and its humor is far more important. The plot is interesting and the message touching, and though the logic of neither truly holds up at the end of the movie, that won’t bother you.
Chris Pratt (Andy, the lovable fool from Parks and Recreation) voices Emmet, an ordinary guy who accidentally stumbles upon a special lego-piece, destining him to save the world. Emmet is a simple construction worker who follows instructions (this refers to the instructions that come with lego sets, detailing which piece to place where, an important theme in the movie), listens to the song “Everything is Awesome,” and loves all of the rules enforced by the evil ruler President Business (voiced by Will Ferell). President Business wants to eliminate all creativity attached to the Lego world, and the rebels (most characters in the movie; President Business fittingly has an army of robots) are trying to stop him. The cast is full of hilarious characters voiced by appropriately talented actors: Wyldstyle, the punk female main character voiced by Elizabeth Banks, an arrogant and slightly clueless Batman voiced by Will Arnett, a spoof of a mentor figure Vitruvius voiced by Morgan Freeman, “bad-cop” voiced by a heavily accented Liam Neeson, and a grumpy metal pirate voiced by Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson). There are also many smaller roles, which poke fun at “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Harry Potter,” and overpriced coffee, to name a few. In between, and sometimes part of, the constant humor, car chases and space battles ensue.
Everything in the movie is portrayed as Lego pieces: cars, fire, bullets, ships, water, clouds, and even smoke, an amazing technological achievement, which helps solidify the full Lego experience. Although the 3-D darkens the film, as it always does, it allows the scenes to truly come to life, and reinforces the feeling that you are a kid playing Lego.
“The Lego Movie” doesn’t have the amazing emotion of a great Disney-Pixar movie, or the great life lessons and fairy-tale magic of a Disney film. But the jokes are plentiful and clever, and the movie invites you to spend a guilt-free two hours in a world where its theme song is true: everything is awesome.