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Sweet delights at San Rafael Farmers’ Market: Waffle Mania, Brittany Crêpes and KettlePop
Sweet delights at San Rafael Farmers’ Market: Waffle Mania, Brittany Crêpes and KettlePop
Nick HartungApril 10, 2024

As winter draws to a close, the local San Rafael Farmers’ Market is coming alive. Every Sunday, hundreds of farms, shops and stores from across...

Illustration by Ava Stephens
Ignorance breeds violence: we need diverse religious education
Beckett TudorApril 9, 2024

The United States has become one of the most diverse countries in the world. Through policies encouraging immigration and plentiful economic...

Rolling the dice: The harmful effects of sports betting promotions
Rolling the dice: The harmful effects of sports betting promotions
Matthew KnauerApril 6, 2024

  Nobody could have predicted the monumental impact of Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association in May 2018. Two and a half...

Lego movie dazzles with cool visuals and simplistic plot

In a time when high-budget children’s movies so often rely on ambitious marketing campaigns and nagging children to sell tickets, The Lego Movie is a refreshingly refined and delightful experience that should appeal, in some way, to everyone.

Although the characters are confined within plastic bodies, the fast-paced plot turns this handicap into an amenity while compensating for any inorganic feel with remarkable animating and touching voice acting. In one sequence, for example, a Lego figurine named Good Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson) whose head pivots to signal a shift between his two diametrically opposed personalities (a friendly neighborhood cop and a fiendishly dedicated officer of the law) is forced to use the film’s mystic super weapon, the Kragle, to glue his parents to the ground in front of their country Lego home. The scene is at once tragic, satirical and utterly hilarious, embodying all that the film does best.

Appropriately, the plot feels like it was concocted off the cuff by an imaginative 8 year old fiddling with Lego bricks in a basement, whimsically thrilling and unapologetically immature – a seemingly predictable plot that will bend the viewer’s mind with its creative twists.  The film pays homage to a predictable cast of characters found within the confines of the hero’s journey model: the unrealized hero, the elderly mentor, the skeptical herald, and even a Superman appearance.

EMMETT, THE happy-go-lucky hero in The Lego Movie, is accompianed by master builder, Batman. The film runs 100 minutes long and has grossed over 210 million dollars so far.
EMMETT, THE happy-go-lucky hero in The Lego Movie, is accompianed by master builder, Batman. The film runs
100 minutes long and has grossed over 210 million dollars so far.

The film’s hero is an ordinary construction worker with no defining qualities named Emmett who tries to camouflage with his co-workers through a series of accommodating social interactions, in accordance with his copy of How to Fit in and Make Everyone Love You, a satire of the plethora of how-to books that litter American bookshelves.

Emmett’s life is, quite literally, turned upside down when he falls down a pit at a construction site and discovers the “Piece of Resistance,” the planet’s last hope of destroying the Kragle, which is wielded by the Lego world’s corporate dictator, Lord Business (voiced with hilarity and bravado by Will Ferrell). Suddenly, Emmett is swept up in the conflict between Lord Business and an underground group of “master-builders,” Lego figurines who, unlike their mundane counterparts, create their own instructions for everything they build instead of adhering to the instructions set down for them by their totalitarian leader.

Dubbed, “The Special,” the fate of the world rests in Emmett’s small yellow hands.

The movie’s savory morsels are characteristic of the developing aesthetic of director Phil Lord, a newcomer who has received acclaim for 21 Jump Street and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – products of cleverly written dialogue, and acerbic caricatures of habits in our daily lives like buying overpriced coffee and contriving deceptively pleasant salutations when we see our neighbors. The movie also takes advantage of the many characters in the physical Lego universe, through a series of side-splitting allusions to icons like The Green Lantern, Michelangelo, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Milhouse (from The Simpsons).

In one such sequence, the heroes are adrift in the ocean, in need of a hyperdrive to execute the next step in their plan. As if in answer to every Fanboy’s prayers, the Millenium Falcon (equipped with a notoriously malfunctioning hyperdrive) soars into view en route to a bikini party on the planet Naboo. Like many of the film’s references, this Star Wars homage may fly over the heads of many viewers. Luckily, the movie’s pacing is irrevocably locked on “light-speed,” so if the meaning behind one gag eludes you, the next will sweep you back into the fold.

The Lego Movie has received universal acclaim, including the clichéd “fit-for-all-ages” stamp of approval. As such, it was with a giddy and sharing heart that I dragged my parents to the film last week for my second viewing.

There’s something in the movie for everyone, from slap-stick one-liners to a profound message about the importance of non-conformity. The movie favors clever pop-culture barbs over thoughtless gags, but there is still enough elementary-age humor (like a figure falling from the sky and grunting as he smacks his face on the cliff-side) to appeal to younger audiences.

My saddest moment as a viewer was when a group of pre-teen girls emerged from the theater after the end credits, singing the movie’s theme song, Everything is Awesome, an undeniably catchy parody of modern pop songs that the citizens of Bricksburg sing with an almost pious devotion for hours on end as they go about their daily lives. In the movie, the tune represents conformity and unoriginality, the forces of evil that hold the oppressive fabric of the brick world together. Hearing this chorus of woefully tone-deaf bleating was a painful reminder that although all may enjoy various aspects of the film, its message may be lost on some – an audience demographic that the Lego company has taken advantage of by releasing a new series of toy sets that correspond to scenes, characters, and automobiles taken directly from the movie.

The Lego Movie may be merely a clever marketing ploy, the longest and most expensive advertisement ever made, however, after my second viewing I’m convinced that even if it exists merely with the intent of selling more of the titular toy, it will be consecrated, just as Toy Story was, in the annals of childhood playthings.




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About the Contributor
Blake Alm, Author