Yesterday, I saw the Lego Movie with the entire family. I enjoyed it. Sure, it was a gigantic product placement for Lego – but that was kind of a given from the start, right? The story moved on at a good pace, and both the visual style and the storyline was a bit surprising.
The animation was quite unexpected in its style – rather than the soft and bendy style that Lego has used on most previous products such as the videos on their home page and the movies like “Star Wars – The Padawan Menace”, it looked like stop motion animation using actual Lego bricks. It was clearly a CGI production, but most of the time things really were made to look like lots of bricks Smoke, dust, explosions, fire all represented using (images of) bricks. The great moving stormy sea that comes along in the middle of movie was really impressively done. This particular style really added something to the movie – it felt more real in some strange way.
I have a seen a couple of the movies that Lego show at the theater in Legoland Billund, and was expecting something along those lines (basically, kid-level standard action movie with a bit of action, a bit of humor, in a self-contained Lego world). Instead, we got something just a bit deeper, and with some interaction with the “real” world. As the plot unfolded, at the end I understood why Howard Tayler called it a public service announcement.
Looking at the Lego sets released alongside the movie, I was a bit disappointed that most of the really weird things available as sets only got the briefest screen time. Some of the really cool things that I would like to see are missing, in particular the Cowboy saloon. It does appear that Lego will release the spaceship built by the old scarred Lego astronaut from the 1980s (named Benny). I want that! When I was a kid, the space Lego line was my favorite, and I still remember building some of the sets. In particular the large (for the time) space cruiser.Thus, it was wonderful to see Benny, including a helmet with a broken chinpiece and a worn logo on his breast. See the picture on the right.
Overall, a movie that I can recommend for family viewing. Not as crazy as some of the Lego Star Wars things that have come out, but enjoyable and well made.