The Lego Movie
Written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller.
Category: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
The Lego Movie is a minor miracle. This is, after all, a movie about a toy, and one with no particular associated narrative. It would seem destined to be a soulless advertisement for the many fine Lego sets available in a store near you. And while it certainly is true that nearly every character, prop, and piece of scenery in the film is a Lego product, what we got was an exuberant celebration of the possibilities that open up when we aren’t constrained by a pre-existing narrative and rely on our imaginations instead. This movie doesn’t so much encourage buying Legos as it does playing with them, in all the different ways that there are to do so.
It’s also a celebration of remix culture, both in its overt message against homogeneity and following-the-instructions, and in its own construction—where else can you see Dumbledore hanging out with Gandalf, Superman, and Milhouse from The Simpsons? Where else in a feature film, I should say, since scenes like this are played out all the time by kids with their action figure collections. It’s that sense of fun that suffuses The Lego Movie and makes it so thoroughly enjoyable. Well, that and the killer voice cast, snappy dialogue, and impossibly catchy theme song. In the end, The Lego Movie transcends its origins as an advertising vehicle by not just showing us the product, but embodying what we love about the product. That’s the miracle.
(Aside #1:This movie was on the Sad Puppies slate, making it one of the arguments against automatically rating slate nominees below No Award: this is a great film that certainly deserves to be in contention, and it doesn’t make sense to penalize it just because the Puppies had the good taste to include it on their list.)
(Aside #2: After writing a couple of posts focused on books, it feels a little strange to follow up with a bunch of movie reviews. But I’m ordering these reviews by when I saw/read each entry, and as it happens I saw several of the Dramatic Presentation nominees last year before I’d read any of the literature. So we’ll be doing those first.)