Don't be put off by my title: there is nothing sinister here chaps!! Indeed, with my general 'bloggings' I shall attempt to delight and astound you out of the mundaneness of a middle class suburban life, into the magical world of the Sophster!! Mystical...

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sophie's Film Choice #13: THE LEGO MOVIE

Let's just get one thing out of the way, before I start this review.


With over 30 sets of plastic joy safely nestled in the garage (not to be touched, unless I give express permission), I think it's safe to say that my satisfaction for putting tiny wigs on little men and constructing replicas of famous fictional buildings borders on the obsessive.

So, with that off my chest, you will understand the gravity of the situation: I was about to watch a feature length film about my favourite toy, and it had to be good - I will know if there's a missing piece! (Har har).

'Out of 6 million identical mini-figures, I got the part!'
Well, I am pleased to say the the Lego Movie was not only satisfactory to a patron of the franchise, but was just pure LOLZ. From the outrageously catchy song 'Everything is Awesome', to the moment where Batman runs off to join Han Solo for a galactic 'lads night out', the comedy was the real strength of this film.

The Lego Movie is so funny, because it is completely self- referential. We never forget that we are watching Lego figures - the hilarity lies in their restrictions (of movement, expression and interaction), exemplified by Emmet, the archetypal  Lego Minifigure and unlikely hero of the story. He wears the classic orange engineers outfit. His hair resembles a Justin Beiber style helmet. He has an inanely smiling yellow face. He drinks only coffee and eats only croissants (necessitated by his claw-like hands). He can only move his legs forward and backwards from the hip joint. We all know the type. Throw him in amongst a 'Unikitty', Gandalf, and an over-enthusiastic astronaut, and his blandness becomes ridiculous.

'For the last time, you will NOT eat candyfloss in the batmobile.' 
With the advantage of having the rights to so many different brands, it is only in a film made by Lego that we can see so many familiar worlds collide - Superman spends the entirety trying to shake off the fawning Green Lantern, Emmet goes horse riding in the Wild West, where he meets Batman, and Abraham Lincoln exits a meeting on a hover board. Yes - that weird.

A story told by Lego, about Lego itself, this film has what I call the 'Toy Story' effect. Centred around the opposition between order and creativity, the characters work in a Lego world, but we can also see the interaction we have when given instruction - in the scenes where we meet 'the man upstairs' (I won't spoil by explaining too much), we suddenly become conscious of the imposition of humans on toys. Without sounding too heavy by trying to philosophise a toy primarily aimed at 7-14 year olds, the visual intrusion of human objects like glue and hands is surprisingly sinister, and really does make you think about the damaging effects of social engineering.

Totally. It just makes me want to grab my newly built Lego cinema, take it all apart and make it into an elaborate Robo-shark (but I won't because that would just be madness).

'You give me a Super Soaker - I raise THIS!'

So, to conclude what now seems to have become a serious speech - yes, Lego figures aren't alive. Yes, the sets look perfectly good when built exactly to the booklet's instructions. Yes, croissants are delicious. But remember, you never know - next time you see your Lego minifigure, take a moment to think... does he fancy a new hair style? Or perhaps I'll be a maverick and sit him on top of that palm tree? He'll thank you for it.