Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Everything is Awesome

Okay, let me state right out that I was *deeply* skeptical about The Lego Movie. I mean, this is just about the cheeziest-looking thing I have seen in *years*, and screamed money-making horror.

But the rating on Rotten Tomatoes was an astonishing 96%, so we had to check it out. So last night, we had dinner at Flora (which, if you haven't been there, is well worth checking out: a lovely, slightly-high-end restaurant a block away from the Capitol Theater, and one of the pioneers of the "small plates" movement: we always split one app and have two "Medium plates", which is just right for dinner), and went to the 7:30 showing. (Which is just early enough that we could still get to bed at a reasonable hour, but late enough that the theater was all adults.)

The film is... well, I'm largely hearing comparisons to Toy Story, and there is a lot of truth to that, but personally I find it a lot more in the old Looney Tunes tradition. It moves at *breakneck* speed, with the jokes (both spoken and visual) coming almost faster than you can catch, it is *jammed* with cultural referents (most of them aimed at the grown-ups), it is casually violent in the way that only a great cartoon can be. And it is kind of insanely funny -- the first movie in years to get me laughing out loud through much of it. Think of it as the Shrek version of Toy Story: slightly less wholesome, but cleverer and funnier.

It mixes its references with utterly casual glee. The ads give away the fact that Lego Batman is a major character; it's not giving too much away to say that Star Wars makes an appearance as well. But under the hood, without ever *quite* being explicit about it, it is totally obvious that this is a loving pastiche of The Matrix, and basically answers the question of what that trilogy might have been if Wakko, Yakko and Dot had replaced the writing staff.

And wonder of wonders, amidst all the insanity, the movie even turns out to have a Message which, while hammered home a tad bluntly, is nonetheless one that I greatly appreciate, and which is even magnificently matched to the subject matter. (It's actually refreshingly subversive and encouraging to see Lego telling this particular story as their party line.) Perhaps even more astonishingly, by the end of the movie its bizarre logic almost makes sense, if you are willing to view it through the right lens.

I will give one important warning: the theme song is the most dastardly and deliberate earworm I have heard in a long time. It's still worth watching the movie, but keep that in mind. (And stick around for the credits: their soundtrack is delicious.)

Doesn't *have* to be seen in theaters, but I suspect it benefits from the big screen, just for sheer immersion in the lunacy. But one way another, it's a must-see -- hilarious, smart and good...
Tags: reviews

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