Review Roundup: The LEGO Movie

In preparation for seeing the LEGO Movie last night (spoiler: I really enjoyed it), I’ve been reading a lot of reviews/previews of the movie and wanted to share some of the most insightful tidbits I’ve come across.

My illustrious Co-Editor has already written an excellent (though spoilery) review, I won’t add anything except to once more encourage you to go see The LEGO Movie. Once you’ve done that, come back here for even more coverage dissecting it piece by piece.

One of the few reviews I’ve seen that actually focuses on the animation style of the film is this one over at Cartoon Brew:

Many films have attempted to break the Pixar-by-way-of-Disney animation mold by suggesting a more stylized approach to animated movement, among them the Madagascar series, Wreck-It Ralph, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Lego Movie pushes further than any of those films with a consistently inventive style of movement (the key word being consistent).

This feature on io9 has some interesting quotes from the directors. Chris McKay, who was in charge of the animation, has nice things to say about brick films:

There’s a charm to those brick films. I think part of that comes with the heart and soul of the filmmaker who comes to the table and wants to create something that is probably beyond their scope… We wanted the movie to feel like that.

This NPR review reveals a scene that got nixed:

They initially penned a re-education scene for Emmet, with his eyes forcibly held open, after he strays too far from Lord Business’ way of doing things. The Stanley Kubrick reference was deemed “not perfectly appropriate for family audiences.”

(Don’t worry, someone else has got a LEGO version in of that in the works…)

The AV Club review (contains the spoiler) nicely mirrored my own sentiments and Mr Pagano’s:

The only real bone to pick with The Lego Movie is that the gender disparity of the toys themselves—a pervasive criticism of the brand—has carried over to the film’s major characters… Wyldstyle, though confident and talented, often exists to play the foil of Batman and Emmet. And the only other major female character, voiced by Alison Brie, isn’t portrayed as a mini-figure, making Wyldstyle the catchall female protagonist.

The Variety review helpfully points out how many bricks it would take to build all the stuff shown in the movie:

…if someone had orchestrated the entire experience with plastic toys painstakingly repositioned and photographed one frame at a time… that would have taken no fewer than 15,080,330 bricks

This behind-the-scenes video is a random collection of footage, but it does shed some light on the animation process:

Lest you think all the reviews of the LEGO Movie are effusively positive (though most are), there are some naysayers with some valid points. This bit from the Wrap is what resonated with me the most:

But while the film’s underlying message about creative independence and playfulness is a strong one, the movie takes a third-act turn (which won’t be spoiled here) that’s bold but ultimately wrong-headed, restating what we’ve already figured out and ruining the delicate balance of this movie’s goofy, click-and-snap universe.

I have more to say on that last bit, but I’m going to wait a couple days before writing about all my concerns with the movie’s big twist.

Which reviews have helped you in digesting the LEGO Movie?