Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The LEGO Movie ★★★1/2

Image result for The LEGO movie film stills

    Beyond the colorful and rather scintillating exterior design of the 2014 children's animated picture entitled  "The LEGO Movie" is a film unquestionably instilled with a sense of heavy satire and a theme brimming with the importance of individuality and creativity. Of course, this is only if one can look past the unadulterated reliance on branding and marketing, which just so happens to permeate the film's construction to such an extent, where even the slightest cameo seems to allude to some motivation of sales.

    Let's be honest here: This production is the most ingenious marketing ploy ever developed. In addition to being bombarded with the presence of numerous popular culture personas turned play-set figurines, (ranging from several DC comic-book characters to the likes of Gandalf, Dumbledore, Abraham Lincoln and certain "Star Wars" personalities) the film emphasizes the notion that even old and tired LEGO sets can now be re-used and re-imagined--to produce realms of wondrous imagination; not to mention the fact that a handful of the settings actually used in the picture have now been patented and sold in every toy store from here to Timbuktu. 

    Yet, despite this overwhelmingly selfish ulterior motive to break financial records and to pave the way for the inevitable follow-ups and spin-offs (and maybe even to increase the sale of LEGO-themed video games), "The LEGO Movie" does provide moments of pure joy and entertainment with its light-hearted surface storyline and with a lovable cast of characters that will surely keep the children intrigued. The plot merely consists of a sole construction worker, Emmet (Chris Pratt), and his journey to becoming some being of moderate importance; throw in a corrupt president in Lord Business (Will Ferrell), a prophecy involving the forthcoming of a "Master Builder," a piece of resistance, and an alternate dimension in which reality is preeminent, and you basically have the gist of a picture that will surely evoke a feeling of amusement from audiences of all ages.   

Image result for The LEGO movie film stills
    In essence, the film simply follows the events at hand--that being a relentless attack on Emmet and his fellow patrons of resistance by Lord Business and his wretched first commanding officer in Bad Cop (Liam Neeson)--and travels from one disparate LEGO world to another in a wonderful display of production design. (The computer generated surrounding environments not only become interchangeable at will, but seem to transform--or become demolished for that matter--in the most fluid of motions.) There's LEGO-Ville (which claims the role of microcosm due to the emphasis of the above-mentioned satire), the Old West, and an overly optimistic land named Cloud Cuckoo.

    As far as the subject matter on more of an intellectual plane is concerned: There are certainly a plethora of instances infused with situational and physical humor (which is undoubtedly aimed toward younger viewing audiences), however, it is also quite clear that much of the so-called hilarity is satirical in form and is designed to impose its critical mind on the vices and ineptness of modern society. The film takes subtle jabs at sports fans, hipster coffee hangouts, mega corporations, and even acknowledges the negatively domineering effect of television on our lives and the inability of mainstream society to think for themselves. (The latter of which will most likely be composed of individuals who deem the song "Everything is Awesome" to be extraordinary, unaware that its lyrics and existence were born from a fascist mindset.)

    Which brings us to the theme in question; if we are to truly believe that this picture is concerned with issues aligned with contemporary society (which is quite easy at this juncture), then the message is clear--individuality, creativeness, and anything that can be designated unique or original, must be allowed the freedom of expression in order to break free from the banal constraints placed on our twenty-first century population. (Whether it be a fascist government or simply a parent's oppressive mindset toward their child, this could not be more important in terms of the advancement of art and humanity itself.) This conviction can be applied to any walk of life and seemingly any trade, as even the likes of the film industry have become somewhat unimaginative over the last decade. For what it is worth, the world needs "The LEGO Movie."

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