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(The prompt for Day 7 of NaPoWriMo was to write a poem centered around luck or fortuitousness, such as finding something you didn’t know you’d lost.)


I found a lonely Lego head
That rolled out when I moved the bed,
A static smile on its face
And of his body not a trace.
What toys I’d played with in his stead—
He did not care, his smile said.

Where he was from, I could not say,
Nor what I’d used him for that day—
What worlds and exploits I’d created
Before he was decapitated,
Perhaps a knight as dragon prey
Or zombie falling to decay.

Though gone was every fellow piece,
His smile never seemed to cease.
Alone no more on outcast ground,
His hopes were met, and he was found.
His smile chides my lack of peace.
I wait, as well, for my release.

MPAA rating: PG

When The Lego Movie burst on the scene in February of 2014, it’s safe to say that it surpassed expectations. Many smaller and lamer Lego animations had preceded it on television, and mediocrity seemed to be its destiny. Then lo and behold, the reviews came back positive, and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, also behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, proved they could breathe hilarious life into the most unlikely subjects. I can’t wait to see what they do with the upcoming Han Solo spinoff.

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The Lego Movie is hard to sum up because it’s a lot of things at once. At one level, it’s an ultra-fast-paced adventure about a normal nobody named Emmett (Chris Pratt), drawn into a larger world of Master Builders to thwart the evil plans of a tyrant (Will Ferrell). You know, typical hero journey stuff. Yet, at the same time, it’s an ironically self-aware multiverse of franchise crossovers, a stimulating commentary on specialness and self-invention, a critique of the extremes of both conformity and anarchy, a cornucopia of parody opportunities, and even a transcendently sweet example of the value of playtime. You know, not so typical animated stuff.

With its constantly frenetic pace designed for short attention spans, it’s not always easy to keep up, but there’s literally something for everyone to enjoy and laugh at. The characters are as diverse as they come: you’ve got instruction-following everyman Emmett, who discovers the Piece of Resistance and is suddenly labeled “the Special”; love interest Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who’s an obvious imitator of Trinity from The Matrix; Batman himself (Will Arnett), whose eccentricities are raised to jerk levels; the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), whose prophecies are true because they rhyme; and ever-joyful Unikitty (Alison Brie) from Cloud Cuckooland, who for some reason is my favorite of the bunch. Not to mention the enormous supporting cast of foes and friends from franchises only a Lego movie could mash together.

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Overall, The Lego Movie is a good amount of fun with some surprising depth for those looking past the vibrant colors and manic action. It’s not quite as funny as it tries to be or as sensational as its biggest fans treat it, but the sheer number of jokes and themes on display manage to hit more than they miss. The computer animation is unique in how it appears as stop motion, and this visual distinction heightens the sense of watching Lego creations that could actually be built if they moved with the imagination-directed smoothness of those microbots in Big Hero 6. The film’s hyperactivity would be harder to watch in larger doses (which is why my VC didn’t care for it), but the sharp social satire and brilliant cacophony of spoofs distinguish The Lego Movie as “special” among modern animated films.

Best line: (Emmett, upon being told of the villain and his evil corporation) “President Business is going to end the world? But he’s such a good guy! And Octan, they make good stuff: music, dairy products, coffee, TV shows, surveillance systems, all history books, voting machines… wait a minute!”


Rank: List Runner-Up


© 2017 S.G. Liput
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