The LEGO Movie (2014) – Movie Review

Not a terrible movie, but incredibly overrated. It has clever moments and I chuckled a few times, but on recall there aren’t really any jokes that come back to me aside from a few gags. The movie also isn’t that “smart,” nor is it very deep as some critics seem to assert. Narratively it’s basically a “hero’s journey,” albeit one that doesn’t take itself seriously. The animation is cute as it sort-of mimics stop-motion animation, but the effect wears off quickly. Otherwise, the movie, while fun, is too predictable and formulaic, preventing it from being truly entertaining.

There are a few reasons why I think this movie has been so widely praised, one being nostalgia. Another reason, however, might be the same reason why the children’s cartoon show My Little Pony has become so popular amongst people in their twenties. My Little Pony, from the few episodes I’ve seen, is basically like every other kid’s show: relatively well-made and colorful, inoffensive, but utterly mediocre. Out of the episodes I watched each plot and character arc were instantly familiar and predictable to me, but people like that show so much because it’s the television equivalent of comfort food. The same applies to The LEGO Movie: it’s well-wrought and nice to watch with a lot of memes people can latch onto, but because people are so used to shit they mistaken such things as signifiers for genuine quality. It’s as if people are desperate for something that isn’t gritty or depressing that they end up hyping certain movies that stray from the norm to an unwarranted and undeserving degree. The LEGO Movie represents qualities people like and represents them well.

Recently, one of my friends saw Inherent Vice and complained that the director, Paul Thomas Anderson, is all style and no substance. Unfortunately,  a lot of “Grade A” directors suffer from a similar affliction for not only is it easier to don a certain style or aesthetic, but also because critics tend to confuse or conflate style with depth. People, in general, praise certain films mostly because they fit into their idea of what good movies should be like, not because they’re actually good. While no one is going to place The LEGO Movie within the same category as Inherent Vice, they are both movies that have been hyped despite their (obvious) flaws. This reminds of, perhaps, the lone noteworthy moment of The LEGO Movie: when the main character, Emmet (Chris Pratt,) is arrested he’s shown footage of his fellow construction workers struggling to remember who he is. One of them theorizes that Emmet’s anonymity is the result of him not having a “personality,” or “thing” that differentiates him. The worker uses examples of people who have their own “thing” which are usually insignificant like whether they wear a hat or eat a certain type of food. It’s an interesting comment on how shallow people’s view of individuality is. Perhaps this is also applicable to people’s view of art as well, a view that’s lacking in depth. Or maybe I’m just talking out of my ass. Anyway, The LEGO Movie, despite what everyone has told you, is okay, but not great thought it probably doesn’t matter, considering that you’ve probably seen the movie already, making this review kind of pointless…um…thanks for reading anyway!

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