SF elements: living toys
Emmett is a completely contented minifig, working on a massive construction project with his buddies, singing the company song, having a great life. But this all changes when he sees a strange woman searching the construction site. He follows her, falls down a hole, and gets attached to the Piece of Resistance. It seems he is the prophesied Special One, destined to save the world from the evil Lord Business. Mayhem ensues.
This is great fun, much more than just a movie-length toy advert (although it is that, too). It is full of verbal and visual wit, with clever little references all over the place, and even better if you know your Lego. It inevitably gets a bit saccharine at the end, with the “message” of not being inflexible. But since that message is rather confused (it is the Master Builders who can build “off piste” who are supposedly the heroes, yet Emmett and crew win the day by following the instructions to build a particular device the same as all the others), it can be safely ignored.
It has been noted that there are rather few female characters (there’s the co-protagonist Wyldstyle/Lucy, Wonder Woman, a female construction worker, and some background characters), reflecting LEGO’s disappointing number of female minifigs overall, and it fails the Bechdel test. Wyldstyle is actually a reasonably strong figure, and it could be argued that it is she who “gets the guy” rather than the other way round. What I actually found most teeth-grinding was the ending, where the boy is “threatened” with having to play with his little sister, clearly a dreadful fate.
Despite these grumbles, overall this is a fun piece and wonderfully visualised of mind-candy, and I laughed out loud many times at the various visual jokes.
Good luck getting that song out of your head, though.
Everything is Awesome, Everything is cool when you’re part of a team…
reviewed 29 November 2014
SF elements: living toys, Batman
Batman might have had a bit part in the LEGO movie; here he is the protagonist. An isolated Batman feels nothing, not even hatred for the Joker. When Commissioner Barbara Gordon notes that Gotham City is full of crime, despite Batman's best efforts, she decides working together and actual policing, without the help of a certain vigilante, might be a more effective approach. Existential crisis time, for Batman, and for the Joker. But the Joker has a cunning plan to get sent to the Phantom Zone. And Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts an orphan. Mayhem ensues.
This is great fun. The gags come thick and fast, with all the clever verbal and visual wit of its predecessor, and much much more, with ridiculous knowing and self-referential comments, and snark, and meta-jokes. It helps to know all the Batman incarnations, even back to the Adam West era, and your DC Comics universe, and your LEGO, and the entirety of the film and TV world to get all the pop culture references (King Kong! the Eye of Sauron! the Daleks!), but even if you miss half the gags (which I'm sure I did), this is still by far funnier and cleverer than anything else out there.
reviewed 7 January 2018