Nutshell Ramble

A vibrant, colorful, funny, engaging film which had no right to be as good as it ended up being.

OVERALL SCORE – 4/5

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Full Ramble

The Lego Movie is a 2014 animated film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman. The film stars Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Will Ferrel and Morgan Freeman who are accompanied by a whole who’s who of big-name actors in bit part voice roles. The film chronicles the journey of an ordinary construction worker, Emmett, and his journey to discovering his specific special qualities.

The Lego Movie, above all else, is balls out fun. It had no right of being this fun, being a blatant product placement film and all that malarky, but it is. The laughs to be had with the incredibly fast-paced one-liners, sight gags and reinvention of characters and tropes are too damn high. One can watch this film a bunch of times and pick up on jokes they couldn’t the first time round because they do come thick and fast. The crisp animation and candy-colored visual palette makes the film a watch to remember. The film pays homage to a whole host of heavy hitters of pop culture but does not make those homages overstay their welcome. Subtle touches like that elevate the film to a level most animated films fail to get to. The film does not find the need to pride itself with jokes that play only to the cheap seats, on the flip side it plays with the audience’s inherent cynicism for films with product placement and does a complete 180 by giving them a joyous film with a universally relatable message.

The voice cast and their specific characterizations are quite well done. The visual gags accompanying each character do a great job of building character more than any dialogue coming out of their mouths ever could. The film is reminiscent of Brazil, The Cornetto Trilogy, Spaceballs and many other comedic films but still carves an identity for itself. The film also does not shy away from sending out complex themes to the audience, case and point, the song, Everything is Awesome. On the surface, it might seem like a dub-step fuelled pop song but the song does have a huge undertone of darkness to it and it employs the viewer to think about the conflicting message in it. That is intelligence and I like intelligence.

A few things that are bothersome are, the film’s conflicting primary message and a lack of emotional resonance. The film goes a certain direction with the message it is trying to convey and keeps undercutting itself with character decisions that play against it. It does deliver said message by the end but I could only look back and think of all the times the film cheated to get there. The emotional resonance the film goes for ends up falling a wee bit flat. I am not one to look for deeply emotional stories with the men who made the Jump Street films but if the film did not try to direct my attention to it, it wouldn’t have been a gripe.

There could be a very clear reason as to why I feel this way about a near-universally lauded film. I walked into the film with some pre-conceived expectations. I had heard incessant praise hurled towards it for the better part of two years and my inability to balance my expectations could have played me for a poor audience member. That being said, the film is insanely fun and has some characters I will not be forgetting in a hurry. The consistent smile coupled with the intermittent loud laughs I had throughout my film-watching experience are enough to warrant a rewatch. Who knows, with more views, the film might take its place with the Cornetto Trilogy as one of the best modern comedies.

OVERALL SCORE – 4/5

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