silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
[personal profile] silverflight8
I saw the Lego movie today! I really love Lego; when I was a kid I built a town with my little brother, called, er, "Lego town" and they fought regularly against bad guys.

The animation! I have to mention this first. It was perfect. The main character has the ordinary Lego minifigure face--two dots for eyes, a curved line for a mouth, yellow plastic head. The animators did a great job of making expressions for him though. He never acquires pupils but like other real minifigures his mouth and eyes changed, his eyebrows moved up and down, etc. His hair was almost like the ones you can get (smoothed down in a bit of a dome and swept to the side a bit, here's a picture) but had a cowlick sticking up, but it still looked exactly like the kind of hair you could buy for a figurine. And a lot of this fidelity extended to other characters and the landscape. The capes worn by some of the characters--looking at that animation you know it's the sort of plasticky fabric they shipped the toys with.

If you've ever played Lego takes on games (Lego Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc) it's like their cutscenes, plus voice acting. I love that they went for more jerky, blocky movement instead of perfect smooth movement all the time. You can tell that the scenery, except for the furthest background, is still composed of bricks and has visible studs. Water is composed of translucent blue round pieces, the kind that are only one stud. Stuff like coffee came in the massively oversized real Lego mugs. Books are those flat pieces which sometimes come with stickers to add detail. I also really liked the level of detail that they preserved: if you look at Emmet, the main character, you can see he's got the usual suit on with silver stripes running down the shirt for visibility, pockets (with a pen clipped into his right pocket, in the very centre), and, over his thigh, an identification badge. It says "Emmet" :D

In order to save the world they hop through a few worlds. You know how Lego has all these sets? Wild West, spaceships and Mars, pirates, medieval dragons and knights, the City sets, plus all the other franchises? Well, they're all like different dimensions, which have been cut off from each other by Mr Business. As one more knowledgeable character explained the concept of the different worlds, the screen flashed several image sets, some of which still had the real-world name in the corner. They did a really great job of creating the landscapes too. The place that the main character lives is the City, a mix of skyscrapers and older buildings that feature in the City sets. The skyscrapers reminded me strongly of my city actually; it's just beautifully done.

The upside to Disney acquiring the rights to everything is that there are some really fun crossovers. Star Wars in the shape of Han Solo, Lando, and Chewbacca showed up, as well as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, Dumbledore, Gandalf. (Actually, I don't know if they've acquired any/everything re: DC. They did get SW, I know.) I ALSO THINK I SAW A DUCKY MOMO in the Cuckoolander realm but I can't be sure, it went by so fast. (Disney owns Phineas and Ferb though.) ETA: it's in the video clip of "Everything Is Awesome", yes that is definitely Ducky Momo. !!!

The voice acting was actually really great and the comedy excellent too. The movie's very, very self-aware and manages to be both uplifting and also jab at a lot of tropes and motivational speaking. The audience was laughing every few minutes. Look, the movie's theme song is called Everything Is Awesome by Tegan and Sara. It's very pop and heavily autotuned/stylized. The bridge features The Lonely Island ([livejournal.com profile] schwa, I thought of you), and the combination of the two should give a pretty good idea of the attitude the movie had. Their part makes me laugh every time. (Here's a youtube link to the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StTqXEQ2l-Y. Most of the lyrics were clipped in the movie, and mostly we just got the line "everything is awesome".)

Also they had "commentary" in which Morgan Freeman as his Lego figure (Morgan Freeman-the-Lego-character plays the wise man) literally reads from a phone book. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH4tMSd3QJY)

I think I'm allergic to watching romantic interactions on screen. I love it in novel form, but it's definitely "watch movie through fingers cringe" for me sometimes. Thank god for the comedy.

I'm also a bit ambivalent about the mixing of Lego adventures and the real-life analogue (it transpires that the adventures Emmet's on is actually from the imagination of a young boy playing with his dad's Lego set.) Personally, physically Krazy-glueing together structures is a waste of Lego to me, especially since the dad fixes them together exactly in the way that the instructions show. As a kid, the instructions are really fun precisely once. After that it is way more fun to make your own. But I also really hated it when my brother would deconstruct my houses. So I know why the dad wanted to keep them that way. I thought that the real life-Lego life mixing was interesting if you looked back: that's why Emmet's called The Special (instead of more conventional "The Chosen" or so on), why there are such weird transitions (Emmet's being dropped down a kaleidoscope by the kid, more or less). I think that the moral of "you are all special" is enough though, I'm not sure it really needed the real life component.

I really liked it! I recommend it, especially if you already like Lego or their animation elsewhere. It's also very funny, very self-aware and good-natured despite it.
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