I know what I'm about to write is a very unpopular opinion. I've posted about it on Facebook and was met with very valid points by those who disagreed with me. So let's get that out of the way first.
The LEGO movie, as a movie, is not bad in any way. But a part of me can't shake the fact that the entire thing felt like a 100 minute TVC to sell you more LEGO sets. Seriously. I bet the conversation over at the LEGO offices happened like this:
LEGO Executive 1: "Holy crap. Only nostalgic adults are buying our products! We need to arrest that trend and encourage parents to buy LEGO for their children, that highly sought after demographic."
LEGO Executive 2: "We need to reach them through an interactive medium!"
LEGO Executive 1: "You are brilliant, man!"
So, yeah, the entire movie shouts this at me - "Hey kids and parents of kids, look at how you should play with our products! Look at all the different IPs we have licensed!"
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street)
I paid Php 300 to watch a 3D TVC. This is especially true after the twist. I won't spoil it for you but you'll know it when you see it. From that point forward, it just became an ad. The LEGO movie took the time to show you its entire portfolio - most of their regular playsets and a bunch of their licensed intellectual properties. And...
The best analogy I can think of would be the Transformers cartoon series from the 80's. Before Transformers as we know it came along, there were two toy lines in Japan that had robots that changed into things. Megatron was from a toy series called Microman. It was about small, everyday objects turning into robots. That's why he turned into a gun instead of a car like everyone else. Hasbro acquired the different toy lines and made the Transformers cartoon series to sell the toys. The LEGO movie is sort of like that.
Now, if you can get past that, then the LEGO movie is a magical, magical movie. Unfortunately, I couldn't, so all the magic I otherwise would've enjoyed went right over my head.
Here are the good bits:
The casting and voice acting are just superb, especially from Morgan Freeman and Will Arnett, who did a perfect douchebag Batman. Chris Pratt played a perfect everyman. (Also, Pratt will hit stardom come Guardians of the Galaxy, trust you me.) Jonah Hill (Green Lantern) and Channing Tatum (Superman) totally pulled off DC LEGO 21 Jump Street. Liam "Taken" Neeson did a superb job of channeling his Taken character's personality into half of his performance. And Will Ferrell is the most talented man in Hollywood. Seriously, LEGO had some big names in this thing. Hell, even Nick Offerman gave a hell of a performance.
And thanks to all this talent, and to the signature humor of LEGO as seen in their multiple video games, the movie had a lot of hilarious moments, especially with Vitruvius and Batman. A few jokes here and there fell flat, but overall it was fairly entertaining.
And if you've played any of the LEGO video games, then you'll be familiar with the art style of animated LEGO pieces. In the move, though, it felt more like really complicated stop motion animation. The graphical presentation held my attention for most of the movie, and is probably one of the bigger selling points in the movie.
I understand that this movie will touch something special in parents, kids, and those who enjoy a good bit of nostalgia. And this is their intended target and that emotion you feel is their intended reaction. I understand that a corporation like LEGO won't make anything if it isn't meant to make money. I totally get that. And anything good that makes money is a-okay with me. What rubs me the wrong way is being asked to pay to watch a commercial.
But whatever LEGO's reasons for making this movie, it does have something for everyone and it is enjoyable as long as you aren't a cynical dick like me.