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TAC Reviews...Lego Movie

Date Posted: 24/12/14

 

Animated movie released in 2014 and has the talents of Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Chris Pratt behind it

 

The Lego Movie

 

Every once in a while something comes along that is surprisingly good, it lives up to the hype and serves to remind us all that sometimes something great can help you to forget the bleakness of existence and the slowly encompassing darkness…so here’s The Lego Movie.

 

Now I know what you are thinking, how can an obvious corporate cash in be anything other than a very long advert in which play sets are pushed in front of you every few seconds with such a lack of subtlety that you leave the cinema, march into the nearest top shop and crush every piece of Lego you spot beneath your feet in rage. But hold your horses, The Lego Movie manages to be hilarious from start to finish.

 

The premise is that Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt – the guy from Guardians of the Galaxy) is entirely ordinary, there is nothing different or unique about him, so much so that whilst he is very happy with his life and existence he is just another unknown face in the crowd. This is until he discovers an object which becomes stuck to his back and is informed by a mysterious woman named Wyldstyle that he is the “special” and he is the most important person in the universe. What follows is an roller-coaster ride that takes Emmet through a variety of locations with dozens of different Lego characters in tow.

 

Yes I know that is an obvious ploy to sell old toys and you can practically feel the spirit of Lego sitting beside you, nudging you in the ribs going “Remember that one?” and “You had one of those, didn’t you?” but honestly it doesn’t matter because you are so engrossed that you don’t care about anything other than watching the film playing before your eyes.

 

Don’t forget, this was not a small budget affair, before Guardians of the Galaxy I had no idea who Chris Pratt was, but the likes of Morgan Freeman, Will Farrell and Liam Neeson all take central roles and lend their voices to a host of colourful characters. Morgan Freeman’s Vitruvius, a blind wizard that for some reason the others keep making their look-out is a joy, and Liam Neeson’s split personality Good Cop/Bad Cop is side splittingly funny. But it is Will Arnett’s Batman that steals the show and will have you rolling in the aisles as you laugh yourself sick.

 

Sadly there is a live action bit that does more to damage the film than give us a greater context, personally I don’t think the film would have suffered if exactly why Emmet’s world is the way it is was left unanswered but no, the film makers decide to let us know that everything we are seeing is…well I won’t say it but it is unnecessary and should have been left out.

 

This is a very, very funny film and will keep you laughing all the way through and unlike a lot of other films I have seen, the funniest gags are not just in the trailer. It appeals to both children with its colourful characters and creative setting, and to adults who unlike being forced to sit through The Wiggles or Frozen for the billionth time will welcome watching The Lego Movie again and again, if for no other reason than to spot all the different Lego characters from years ago in the crowd scenes.

 

Now this film is about making whatever you want out of Lego and not conforming to the standards of building the same models over and over again. Therefore it does make you wonder why Lego then brought out a bunch of toy sets in which children can make the vehicles seen in the film, isn’t this about building what you want, how you want? Of course it isn’t, it is about selling you stuff, so my advice is watch the film, then if you are that inclined dig your box of Lego out of storage and build whatever the crap you want out of it.

 

Despite the live action bit which did annoy me and answer questions that in my opinion did not need to be answered this film still gets a very solid recommendation and not surprisingly a Thumbs Up

 

 

9/10 - An hugely enjoyable film that will have both adults and children laughing all the way through

 

TAC Reviews...Lego Movie 2: The Second Part 

Date Posted: 08/02/19

 

Released in 2019, Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is a computer animated feature which continues the story of Emmet, Lucy, Batman and their friends following the events of the first film. It features Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Will Ferrell reprising their roles from the previous film, while new cast members include Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, and Maya Rudolph. After the two spin-off films, Lego Batman, and Lego Ninjago in 2017, this is the forth in the franchise. 

 

Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Poster

 

First off  let me thank you for your patience as this review is a day late, unfortunately my ship had a major reactor failure over what you call the "Weekend" which almost resulted in its destruction. Such an explosion would have not only destroyed my ship but taken half of you planet with it, needless to say I worked tirelessly, and heroically to repair my systems before it obliterated the Earth, so you're welcome. A destroyed planet would be of no use to my people when they invade so just in case you're wondering why I didn't just let the planet explode that would be the explanation.

 

Right, now that is out of the way let's get on with the review.

 

The film opens immediately after the events of the first film with the citizens of Bricksberg are confronted by LEGO Duplio invaders after Lord Business' defeat. Emett hands them a heart as a gesture of friendship, but one of them chops it down and asks for more. With their gift of peace literally eaten before them, the heroes of Bricksberg battle the invaders. The repeated battles regularly destroy parts of Bricksberg. In the real world this is happening because Finn (the child who was playing with the Lego toys in the first film) has a younger sister who is also now allowed to play with their father's Lego sets. She dismantles parts of the sets and takes them to her own room to play with, whilst leaving some in the basement.

 

Five years later, the remaining citizens of Bricksberg now live in a post apocalyptic city named Apocalypseburg. The others have become hardened with Surfer Dave becoming Chainsaw Dave, and the rest of the citizens always ready for another attack. Emmet, however, is still positive that "everything can be awesome" again and builds his dream house for him and Lucy to live in together.

 

Emmet has a vision of an impending cataclysm dubbed "Armamageddon", which he tries to dismiss as just a dream. A mini-doll named General Mayhem arrives representing her Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi of the Systar System wants to marry Apocalypseburg’s leader in order in to usher in a new era of peace between their two worlds. Mayhem captures Batman, Lucy, Benny, MetalBeard, and Unikitty after they argued who was the leader.

 

Emmet rebuilds his house, turning it into a spaceship so he can venture through the Stairgate in order to get to the Systar System and rescue his friends. Whilst in an asteroid field he is rescued by Rex Dangervest, a dashing hero that has trained raptors at his command and agrees to help Emmet rescue Lucy and the others.

 

Meanwhile at the Systar System with everyone becoming slowly brainwashed, Lucy being the only one to resist, it seems that Armamageddon may be triggered by Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi if she is successful in marrying one of them.

 

Racing to save their world, Emmet, Lucy and Rex attempt to stop the wedding, but a darker force lurks under their noses that is the master mind behind a plan to destroy every Lego world...

 

The first Lego Movie was an absolute joy from beginning to end which was down in no small part to Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius, a blind wizard, Will Farell's Lord Business, and Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop all stealing the show. Sadly this time around none of them appear with the acceptation of Lord Business in a cameo and the film really suffers for it. Whether is was the weight of those actors being behind Lego characters which made them so funny or just the situations they were in made every moment they were on screen in the first movie very funny. As they were three of the main characters there was rarely an occasion when one of them wasn't on screen. In the sequel whilst the rest of the cast do another good job, they just aren't as funny as Vitruvius, Good Cop/Bad Cop and Lord Business were.

 

Now in the first film it is established that everything that is happening to Emmet is simply a child playing with toys, having created all the characters, the story and so on. There was a suggestion that Emmet might have achieved a level of self-awareness as he is able to move enough to get Finn's attention who puts him back into the world so he can stop Lord Business, but here it seems all of them are self-aware. 

 

Remember in the first Toy Story when the toys come alive to scare bully Sid? It opened up a bit of a can of worms because the toys are all alive and they just chose not to move around children, but they can if they want to?? Still it didn't really matter because it was a Pixar movie and not set in the real world so the rules can be whatever the film wants them to be.

 

In this film though everything that plays out in the Lego world is happening in the real world, Lego sets being broken by a younger child is just what happens with children, whether on purpose of accidentally, they break their toys. Finn rebuilding them or shaping them into a new world is all part of that. The Systar system obviously being Finn's mission to return his toys after his sister Bianca takes them to her room to play with them. That's all fine. However, Rex and Emmet somehow end up having a battle with one another in the real world, and the other Lego characters are able to get Finn's attention by singing together. If everything is happening in Finn and by extension Bianca's imaginations then how are the toys singing on their own or having a fight??? There is a line of meta-narrative in which one of the characters states that they aren't really fighting, it is simply Finn continuing to imagine them as alive even though they aren't in his fantasy world any longer.

 

This whole thing just didn't sit well with me and reminded me of the worst bit in the first film which were the live action sequences. Sadly here the live action stuff is taking more of a prominent position in the film. Yes there is a live action bit in the Lego Ninjago film but it is at the beginning and at the end. Real people just telling stories which we see through Lego people's adventure's that fine, but when those toys start to show being self-aware it just takes me out of the story rather than engrossing me in it.

 

There was some good in the film to, I enjoyed Rex Dangervest who is also voiced by Pratt and represents all of Pratt's badass characters. He is a raptor trainer (Owen Grady in Jurassic World), a cowboy from Magnificent Seven, and listens to pop music loudly (Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy). He is quite good fun to watch but Pratt doesn't really disguise his voice so it is obvious he is voicing both Emmet and Rex.

 

Will Arnett's Batman continues to be a highlight and Ralph Fiennes reprises the role of Alfred from The Lego Batman Movie. Other actors pop up to cameo including Channing Tatum, Johan Hill, Bruce Willis and even Jason Momoa reprises his role as Aquaman from the DC Universe films.

 

The biggest problem with this film is that it is not as funny as the first, plus we've seen Lego movies before. Even The Simpsons did a Lego episode so it is no longer unique. It seems that the film makers simply took the idea of the first film and just did another one. Lego Batman, Lego Ninjago, they both did something a bit different and had characters that were relentlessly funny. In this film Batman is sharing the screen with Emmett and the others who just don't make me laugh as much as the characters from the first film.

 

I wouldn't say that Lego Movie 2 was a bad film, it just had the same problem as John Wick 2 had, it was following on from a really strong first film. The second film feels like a sequel, something that only really exists because the first was so popular and successful. Made as a money making ploy rather than because the next part of the characters' story needed to be told.

 

The film was entertaining enough but it was nowhere near as good as the first and didn't bring anything new to the formula. I'll leave my Thumb Horizontal because Up is too much praise and Down is too critical.

 

 

6/10 - The film is average, of the Lego films that have come before this is probably the weakest instalment with Lego Movie being Number one, Batman number Two and Ninjago Number Three. If you liked the first movie I have no doubt you'll enjoy this one, but really there is nothing here that you won't have seen before which is a shame

 

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