The Lego Movie
Let me go out on a cinematic limb. If this animated film isn’t nominated for an Oscar next year, then I will ask Governor Pence to constitutionally ban heterosexual divorce along with gay marriage. On the other hand, I might anyway.
While most of us will occasionally go to a film and be pleasantly surprised with its quality, how often do you go when you are left in shock? Well, let me just say that I was stunned beyond meaningful description by the immensely entertaining The Lego Movie, and I strongly suspect that you will have the same reaction.
First and foremost, this is an adult film masquerading as a children’s movie. Forced to go alone because my grandkids were devoted to their sport obligations, I was more than a bit hesitant. I couldn’t help but think that I would be bored by characters that were complete simulations of the Lego toys.
Well, the characters themselves were at all times colossally funny, and this was due to the genius of Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Goofy yet stylish, you end up treating them like action characters, and that lies at the center of the film’s inspiration.
However, the script by Dan and Kevin Hageman is diabolically clever from beginning to end. It is an inspirational assault on your senses that overwhelms you with a feeling of warmth. Yet while focusing on all that we hold dear in life, it also has a sarcastic edge that emasculates those in our society who hide behind a holier than thou masquerade.
Resisting my regrettable tendency to tell more than you need to know, the film focuses on a small Lego character named Emmet, mistakenly thought to be the savior of the Lego world. Voiced by Chris Pratt, he leads a group of crazed Lego compatriots to save their universe from being glued together by the evil tyrant President Business, voiced by Will Ferrell.
Along the way our group of ornery misfits are forced to embrace a basic principle that is all but ignored in their busy society, namely that every person can be creative in their own right. They slowly learn that there is nothing wrong with smiling or lending a helping hand. While tradition is important, so is being unique. In other words, if life is nothing more than what we played in childhood, namely “Follow the Leader”, society is likely to simply shrivel up and slowly drift into oblivion.
The Lego Movie is about the little guy who fights back when he and she decide that enough is enough. Wonderfully voiced by such actors as Will Arnett, Craig Berry, Will Forte, Morgan Freeman and the sensational Elizabeth Banks, our group discovers that all little people are important, and it’s high time that everyone recognizes that important fact.
The film also barely hides a sharp criticism of the way big business controls a large portion of not just Legoland, but our own country. The villain here is known as Lord Business/President Business, a leader who wants all of society’s members to work hard while they follow a strict rule book. He is interested in doing little more than filling his own coffers, and the rest of society becomes completely expendable.
As I watched The Lego Movie, I couldn’t help but think of life in America today. Less than 1% of our citizens absorb over half of our national income, and they have succeeded in harnessing a political system that is devastating the middle class. While they fan the flames of the Tea Party, they clamor to reduce access to Food Stamps while refusing to help raise the minimum wage. You can almost hear them yell, “Don’t raise my taxes, little people!”;
Just follow the capitalistic rule book, they say, and everything will be fine. Just ignore the fact that James Dimon, the head of JP Morgan Chase, just was awarded a multi-million dollar annual raise after his company paid gigantic fines for massive misconduct. Let’s make sure that people who receive welfare are drug tested, but don’t dare require the same thing of the wealthy who are also receiving massive benefits from the recent National Farm Bill.
What I saw from the little guys in The Lego Movie who refused to cave in was what I hoped to see from the residents in West Virginia who are still forced to drink polluted water. If I lived in that State, I would require every businessman and elected official to drink nothing but tap water or explain why they refuse. Come to think of it, I’d demand the same thing of those providing our drinking water here in Indianapolis.
So set aside any doubts you may have and see this movie as soon as possible. Your kids will love it even though they won’t understand it, and you will love it precisely because you do.