The Lego Movie Review

14 02 2014
The Lego Movie Banner promo

I just wish they had spelled out the premise a little more.

Full disclosure- years ago I was the biggest Lego maniac around. I built for hours, learning valuable life skills like how to build a space base or a giant robot to storm the gates of the medieval castle. Lego was the junk! So, of course I drove my mature self into that theater, and I watched an animated movie about Lego people. Is it worth your time, or is this a shameless cash-in?

Lego Movie poster

Above: my childhood. (Minus Unikitty, of course.)

This is a shorter review, so here’s a shorter answer: this movie took me by surprise. It’s quirky, funny, and wonderfully random at times, bringing the all-around good feelings that Pixar films used to give. Basically, normal, everyman Emmet (Chris Pratt) is “chosen” by hippie-wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to save the Lego universe from the clutches of the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett ) also help Emmet realize his role as the MasterBuilder. But first they have to escape the ever-looming henchman Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) and his army of robots. Typical Shakespearean drama, am I right? By the way, Shakespeare also makes an appearance with Lincoln, because of course he does.

Bad Cop and Lord Business. Subtle.

Bad Cop and Lord Business. (Subtle naming going on here .)

Obviously, The Lego Movie never takes itself seriously, yet still manages to stay on target and somehow pull the emotional strings towards the end. The animation is half of the charm. They filled the movie with tons of slick action sequences, yet the style is intentionally meant to resemble all those stop-motion Lego videos on Youtube. The humor ranges from clever to goofy and usually hits the mark, coming from the same directors who worked on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs  and (surprisingly) 21 Jump Street. All the actors seem to be having a blast, most notably Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell, who milk their villainous dialogue for all it’s worth. Alison Brie as Unikitty also had some laugh-out-loud psychotic moments. And, let’s just say Will Arnett as Jerk Batman is awesome.

All in all, this movie knows what it is and sticks with it. The screenwriters nailed what draws so many kids to Lego- imagination. Throw in a little nostalgia, a little emotion, and endless gags, and the end result is a movie that will entertain more than just kids.

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The 9 Most Surprising Movies of 2012 (from my point of view)

6 01 2013

Surprises aren’t always a good thing; you never know if the gift box is hiding an iPhone 5 or a Nikki Minaj album. This isn’t my top movies of 2012. These are the movies that surprised me the most by exceeding or defiling my expectations, so movies that I knew would be good (Avengers),  mediocre (The Amazing Spider-Man, Hunger Games) or bad (Twilight) aren’t included.

1. Les Miserables- To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the soundtrack as much as I did. In case my blogs have fooled you, I’m not the most cultured guy in the coffee shop. Musicals in particular (or operettas, for all you hipsters) have had as much impact on my life as a steak does for a vegan. That said, I LIKED the songs. I almost even bought some. So there you go. Good Surprise.

Les Miserables Poster

(Humming soundtrack)

 

2. The Grey-So in case you didn’t see the trailer for The Grey, it looked like Taken, but with wolves instead. Get ready as a team of men crash a plane, band together and fight wolves in an epic tale of survival! And Liam Neeson punches wolves! A lot! Ok. First, this is like the opposite of a survival movie (spoilers). Second, it wasn’t a wolf-punching fun-fest either, and they showed the last scene in the trailer. I maybe could have enjoyed this depressing, thoughtful movie if it hadn’t been advertised so differently. Bad Surprise.

3. Dark Knight Rises-So,  my review of this movie is pretty biased, as I’m both a Nolan and Batman fanboy at heart, but at the same time the movie was nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting Dark Knight 2, but what we got had more of the Batman Begins feel with a disaster/war movie feel instead of Dark Knight‘s crime noir inspiration. Some people may have been turned off, but I loved how it ended the trilogy on such an epic scale, even if the second one’s still my favorite (yeah, it’s Joker). Good Surprise.

Dark Knight Rises Funny Charles

This is why you don’t watch pirated version.

 

4. Skyfall-The trailer was pretty slick, but I’ve never been a mega-fan of Bond movies (sorry, England). It turns out I really enjoyed the ride this time, including everything from the interesting locations to the psycho villain. Good Surprise. 

Daniel Craig Skyfall

Bond is sad the sky is falling.

5.Prometheus-Prometheus is like a stylish, self-inflated person who claims to tell you everything, but midway though his explanation you realize he knew less than you did. And then he shuts the car door on his hand. This movie wanted to be so ground-breaking and smart, but as I already pointed out, it consisted mostly of smoke and mirrors and added more questions. And had characters dying in the dumbest way possible, like running away from a falling ship the longest way possible. Bad Surprise.

Prometheus Falling Ship

This deserved a repost. Click to enlarge.

6. Lockout-This movie looked like a fun, dumb movie, with at least an interesting premise (prison break in space). However, it was actually just a dumb movie. Period. I walked out of the theater and counted all the better things I could have done with all that wasted time, like build a pirate-themed ant farm. Bad Surprise.

7. The expendables 2-Sure, it was loud and dumb and starred aging action stars, but we knew that, right? What I didn’t know was how hard I would laugh at the overblown hilarity, with a Chuck Norris joke summing up the whole movie. Good Surprise.

Had to have a meme somewhere.

Had to have a meme somewhere.

8. Wreck-it Ralph- This was the most Pixar-quality animated move of the year, and it didn’t come from Pixar. It even tried to pull my heart strings, but I held it off like a man. Good Surprise.

 

9. The Hobbit- Immaculately reproduced sets that made me want to have second breakfast while re-watching the original trilogy? Good Surprise. Annoying CGI Goblin KingBad Surprise. 

Dex and Goblin King

I still call plagiarism.





Wreck-It-Ralph 5-Point Review

13 11 2012
Wreck-It-Ralph and Friends

Just got a “Monsters, Inc.” vibe.

 

1. “Wreck-It-Ralph” is the Pixar film we’ve all been waiting for, but of course the catch is Pixar had nothing to do with this movie. Disney Animation Studios came up with this gem, and imagine that I just provided you with the studio’s full history and list of works, because I’m too lazy to research it at the moment.

 

Walt Disney Animation Studios logo

This is their logo, anyway. 

2. The point is that Wreck-It-Ralph hits all the notes of originality, sweetness (even outside of “Sugar Rush”) and general quality that usually never strayed outside of Pixar’s turf. That is, before Cars 2 and Brave drunkenly stumbled onto the stage. The worlds inside the arcade machines are also a highlight when shown through the character’s point of view.

3. Yes, it’s very possible to really enjoy the movie even if you’re not a “gamer.” However, there were a ton of wink-winks to the nerdy faithful (myself included). Cameos, settings, and graffiti provided plenty of references, such as the JENKINS or ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US scrawled on walls.

All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Aerith Lives. 

4. Still, it’s a good thing I didn’t go see this movie to see Bowser, Bison, and Sonic share screen time (although that helped). Cameos were usually no longer than one (brief) scene with a paltry number of lines (one to two). You wouldn’t know that from the film’s marketing campaign, however.

Wreck-It-Ralph Baddies

Yeah, these guys were definitely in the movie longer than a combined 5 minutes.

5. This isn’t a problem though, because the movie’s core two characters Ralph (John C. Reilly) and  Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) provide more heart and depth than you’d expect. Jane Lynch was also humorous as Sergeant Calhoun (much as I hate to say anything positive about anyone connected to that cesspool of television, Glee). Time to step up your game again, Pixar.

 

Up Down Poster

And don’t make this movie. Make Incredibles 2.

Bonus level point: I also enjoyed the Pixar-ish short before the feature, although I felt kind of weird cheering on a stalker who likes making paper airplanes.





Brave Review in 5 sentences

26 06 2012

1. Brave is a good flick, but it’s no Up, or Toy Story 3, or Wall-E, as in it’s not as universal in its appeal or as original in its presentation.

Toy Story 3

Not even close. Wikipedia

2. Pixar failed to make me bawl like a small child, unlike Up or Toy Story 3.

 

3. I’m pretty sure even Dreamworks (Pixar’s ugly stepchild) never showed that many butts in a movie before; is this Pixar’s new thing?

 

4. For a brief description, imagine a Disney princess movie with a little more female empowerment, maybe not quite as much butt-kicking as Snow White and the Huntsman, but Merida’s pretty good with that arrow (cough cough Hunger Games).

 

If Black Widow and Hawkeye Had a Child

Avengers tie-in!

5. It’s high time for The Incredibles 2, can I get a Amen?

ONE MORE THING: If you’ve never seen this awesome Pixar Logo parody, what are you waiting for?