Its a well known fact to my friends and colleagues, that I’m a huge fan of the lego franchise. In my article about 10 favorite franchises, I gleam about why I like it so much, check it out here. When The Lego Movie was announced, I was overjoyed, I was now living in a world where this movie is a thing that is possible. I grew up playing with legos as I’m sure most kids did, and watching my nephews play with legos as an adult makes this some how mean more than just a movie. That being said, this review is not about how much I love legos, it’s about whether the movie and the game are worth your time and money.
The Lego Movie Review
The story is simple, Emmet (played by Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy) lives a happy life in Bricksburg as a construction worker whose life is full of following directions. Its turned upside down when a mysterious girl shows up and he inadvertently becomes “The Special” by finding “The Piece of Resistance”. What I love most about this movie is the level of imagination and creativity. Every scene is something my brother and I would build while we were playing. The sets that were created are characters themselves and when mixed with a story that inspires, it becomes a masterpiece.
The voice acting is impeccable, Chris Pratt plays a perfect everyman thrown in a world he does not want...for a girl. Wildstyle is played by Elizabeth Banks who was in The Hunger Games and Zack and Miri make a Porno. She does a great job bringing to life an over the top, angsty girl with relationship issues. Charlie Day of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Pacific Rim plays Benny the Spaceman who just wants to build a spaceship. He is incredibly funny and this is unlike anything else Charlie Day has done before. Will Ferrell is the villain, Lord Business. Morgan Freeman is Vitruvius, an old wizard and mentor. Liam Neeson plays Bad Cop, henchman to lord business. And Will Arnett plays the caped crusader, Batman. There are a tonne of extra cameos that you will just have to check out for yourself.
The soundtrack is wonderful, between being outright hilarious (Batman’s Untitled Self Portrait) to setting the mood for the whole film (Everything is Awesome!), it never ceased to put a smile on my face. When it’s needed, the right music pops up. Are the characters being sneaky? Put in some secret agent sounding music. Need a catchy pop electronic sounding song for a dance party? They have it. It’s one of those soundtracks that sticks out from the rest of the fun and eye popping excitement happening throughout the film.
I was under the impression that this entire movie was filmed entirely in stop-motion, its not...kinda. Let me explain, I have a keen eye for what type of animation style a movie is attempting, and this one fooled me. It is CGI, but in a very unique way. What they would do is build just about everything from scratch, then scan it into the computer. Then they would animated it from there, however they put limitations on themselves. Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street) would intentionally make sure that if the lego piece had only one or two motions of articulation, it couldn't have more in the film. They used traditional stop motion camera tricks to give the illusion of stop motion, and I loved every frame.
I really have no gripes with this movie, seriously. I’ve spent days thinking about this movie and I just simply have no issues with any part of it. As a matter of fact, I wanted more. As someone who loves the lego games and has played as many as I could get my hands on, I wanted more characters. Now I have spoke to others who felt it was too over loaded with other franchise characters but for me, I wanted some marvel, some indiana jones, and some pirates of the caribbean. I completely understand why they were left out but it would have been nice. Speaking of the Video Games.
The Lego Movie Videogame Review
This game is made by the same folks that make the other lego games, Traveller's Tales. Recently in the world of lego videogames, Traveller’s Tales has been making the games open-world, and that’s great, unfortunately, it doesn’t work in this game. When playing lego DC or Lego Marvel, you are allowed to explore, and thats a blast, but here, each world that the characters visit is small and unnecessary to explore. I never felt like the over worlds were very fleshed out.
The Gameplay is exactly as the other games, but they did do a clever thing. In the movie, Master builders are able to find whatever piece they need to build something new thats useful to them. They wanted to have this ability in the game and when you are in control of a master builder, there are moments when you must select 3 objects and the character will take control and build. However, if you are in control of a non-master builder, they will look at the camera and shrug or if its just a jumbled mess of legos that you must build, you need to use a master builder or the non-master builder will build a useless mess and it will fall apart. I would just use Emmet every time to get a laugh.
The level design is really fun, I enjoyed solving puzzles and playing around in the very aesthetically pleasing environments. Unfortunately, after having seen the film, there were a lot of weird choices for what became a level. It felt as if the developers were trying to find sections they could stretch out and make entertaining. The music in the game is also a huge disappointment, I'm not sure if they weren't able to get the music from the movie other than Everything is Awesome, but I actually got kinda sick of hearing it because it comes up constantly. I was truly looking forward to hearing all the great music that was used in the film when I started up the game but as I progressed, I became more and more discouraged.
They used clips from the film to illustrate the story a little better, and while that can be fun, my issue is that its quite jarring to go from watching a cut scene designed for film and then go back into the game where they don't worry and 1 to 1 articulation. They look so drastically different from one another that it never felt right. And another downside to this is the voice acting, now I’m not saying any of the actors they had for the game are bad, they all did a really good job, but they couldn't fool me into thinking that it was the same actor I had just heard in the movie clip.
Overall I highly recommend seeing The Lego Movie, its an adorable little film a lot of heart. The game however is a pass, if you are someone like me who wants to play all of the franchise titles, then it’s worth a rental, otherwise, buy Lego Marvel or Lego Batman 2. I Give The Lego Movie a 10 outta 10 and the The Lego Movie Videogame a 6 outta 10.
What did you think of The Lego Movie? Are you planning on playing the videogame? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook fan page, or tweet us @MissionStartP
Thanks for Reading
-Gregg Dietz (@ChubRockGeek)