Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Director(s): Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Alison Brie
On a first glance The LEGO Movie can be accused of being merely a large marketing campaign to continue to sell sets of everyone’s favourite coloured bricks. As with so many children’s films it does represent the opportunity to sell merchandise and further grow the profits of the world’s largest and most successful toy company. But if you thought that was it’s sole purpose then you were incredibly wrong.
Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller decided to instead use The LEGO Movie as a platform to tell a moral and at times very adult story through the means of childish play and humour. What they do is look directly at what it means to grow up and how a message can appeal to those young and old. This isn’t surprising when we consider that Lord and Miller’s previous directorial work in this category was the sleeper hit Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs which in itself was a warning to mankind about interfering with nature and the disastrous effects that can have… but instead of trying to frighten us with the message they used a giant tornado made of out spaghetti and meatballs… and it was just as effective.
The LEGO Movie focuses on Emmet (Pratt) who is your everyday, run of the mill citizen of Lego World. He has no individual thoughts, he merely follows the rules and revels in the uniformity of the world. That is until he discovers that he is actually “The Master Builder” and it is he who holds the key to saving the world from Lord Business (Ferrell) who is plotting to glue everyone in Lego World to the spot to achieve total control. What Emmet unearths is a conspiracy that takes him across all the varying backdrops of The Lego World and introduces him to famous characters such as Batman (Arnett), a blind mystic called Vitruvius (Freeman), spunky adventurer WyldeStyle (Banks) and Abraham Lincoln (Forte) who rides around in a hover chair to name but a few. Emmet must look straight at the meaning of existence in order to defeat evil and save The Lego World from destruction.
In times such as these that we live in today it is refreshing for a film to address the very issues that cause us deep concern. At the time of the film’s release Vladamir Putin was edging tanks into the Crimea, Edward Snowden was still hiding in Russia and Google was taking further steps to actually become Skynet from The Terminator films and take over the world. Emmet awakes in the film’s opening scenes of the film and reads a pamphlet about how to breathe, an instruction from his government about his most simple basic physical need. The only song that plays on the radio is entitled “Everything is Awesome” and the only TV show is a droll repetition of the same pun “Honey Where are my Pants?”. Emmet is never challenged to think, innovate or have control. The society in which he exists is a rather exaggerated version of our own where the same music is played on repeat and bad television is aired that rehashes the same ideas to distract us all from the real problems that are occuring.
Like the Lego playsets themselves The Lego Movie challenges us to defy societies’ conventions and to “think outside the box” and be creative. That uniformity isn’t the best way for human progress. What Lord and Miller have done is create a film that seeks to awaken our thoughts whilst being fun at the same time. And fun really is the emphasis of a film that can team up Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, Gandalf and Dumbledore all on one screen.
As is the norm today, this is a film aimed at all audiences. The Lego setting will keep the kids entertained while grown-ups of a certain age will be hooked by the very poignant message the film gives out. It doesn’t call for a revolution just merely a revolution in thought whilst making you laugh at the same time. The Lego Movie reminds us that we are all just bricks in the wall but that if we don’t stand together the wall comes tumbling down.