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Will “The LEGO Movie” Build an Audience?

February 1, 2014


Bruce Fretts: I have to admit that when I first heard they were making The LEGO Movie, I thought it sounded like a terrible idea, like the Battleship movie—totally unimaginative. But I just saw an advance screening with my 12-year-old daughter, Olive, and I really enjoyed it. I’m wondering, though,  if it’s more a movie for adults than kids, because the grownups were laughing more in the Times Square theater where we saw it.

Olive: That’s what I actually loved about it. You could be an adult and see what’s really under the surface, because it was kind of a parody of all these action movies going on right now, but the kids see the surface—just this fun animated adventure movie. It’s one of those family movies that actually is for the whole family because it’s appropriate for the children but it’s funny for the adults.

Bruce: So you think it’s okay that some of the jokes sail over the kids’ heads, like when Lando Calrissian shows up from Star Wars and you asked me who that was, because you’re not old enough to get the Billy Dee Williams reference?

Olive: It goes right over their heads, and they only remember the good parts about the movie. And there are a lot of good parts. I loved the voices.

ChrisPrat-375x269Bruce: Chris Pratt plays the lead. You love him on Parks & Recreation, and I do not…

Olive: Oh my God, who even are you?

Bruce: On P&R, he’s so stupid, it’s unbelievable. There’s no one that stupid in real life.

Olive: But he’s like a little boy. He’s so awesome. I can’t believe you right now.

Bruce: Well, he works in this movie because he’s literally playing a cartoon character, so he can be that dumb, and as the movie goes on, he proves to be the hero.

Olive: Because he has an empty mind.

Bruce: It’s kind of Buddhist.

Olive: It actually is. We should describe the plot: There’s the President, who seems good to most people and he makes all these worlds separate because he wants there to be all this order. He gives everyone instructions on how to do things and everyone operates the same exact way and they all have their functions. And no one looks past it, like there’s no bad aspect of it. But then there are the Master Builders, who rebel, and there’s this one thing…

Bruce: The piece of resistance.

Olive: According to the prophecy, the Special is supposed to find it, but this ordinary construction worker, played by Chris Pratt, finds it, and he’s very dumb but…

Bruce: He’s so dumb, he’s brilliant.

Olive: And he comes up with these ideas that everyone’s like, “Oh my God, that’s the most stupid thing,” but they end up saving them when he teams up with the other Master Builders.

hqdefaultBruce: I really enjoyed it, especially casting Will Ferrell as the President, which seemed like a political allegory to me, because he played George W. Bush on SNL. His LEGO character represents conservatism because he wants nothing to change. He wants the status quo.

Olive: The President’s goal in the movie is to Krazy-Glue the whole world so that nothing ever changes.

Bruce: He’s not just the President, he’s also in charge of all business, so it’s like…

Olive: Communism?

Bruce: It is, but it’s also like the Republicans being the party of big business. So I thought it had a deeper layer.

Olive: The kids see the surface, and the adults can see the hidden layer underneath.

lego28f-1-webBruce: Will Arnett was perfect as Batman. Which is so funny because we just heard him do a voice in The Nut Job

Olive: And I hated him!

Bruce: He plays Batman as kind of a jerk.

Olive: He’s good at playing jerks. He has that demeanor he can get across through just his voice.

Bruce: I barely recognized Nick Offerman as the voice of the pirate captain because he sounded so different.

Olive: I did not know that was him! I love Nick Offerman. He’s my buddy.

The-Lego-Movie-Alison-Brie-Unikitty-On-Set-Movie-InterviewBruce: And Alison Brie, whom we love on Community, plays Unikitty, who’s this happy, happy unicorn/Hello Kitty character.

Olive: But she needs to always stay positive and she goes nuts if she doesn’t. That reminded me a lot of her character on Community. She went nuts and got addicted to some drug when she was in high school, because she needed everything to be perfect. I didn’t identify her voice at first, but now when I look back, that’s totally her. It was a really great part for her.

UnknownBruce: And Liam Neeson plays Bad Cop.

Olive: Who’s Liam Neeson?

Bruce: He usually does serious movies like Schindler’s List and Taken. And he was in Star Wars: Episode I.

Olive: I loved Bad Cop. And Good Cop, too. They’re actually the same person. One side of his face is a smiling Irish cop and the other has dark sunglasses and is always throwing chairs and screaming. He’s the President’s assistant, but he also has this good side you want to come through.

Bruce: I thought the special effects were really good.

Olive: The animation was impeccable. In 3D especially it’s really great.

Bruce: It was worth seeing it in 3D because they create these whole universes and you can see all the detail.

Olive: There’s also violence, but it’s LEGO violence, so it’s actually not that bad. These laser things are coming at you—it’s really cool. I did want to mention something, though. At first, I hated this: The movie brings you into reality near the end, and it’s just a little boy playing with a set. I had loved the fact that this could be a real world. My little inner child wanted it to be real so bad. But then it turns into a heartfelt moment between a boy and a father, also played by Will Ferrell, and I liked it because it goes back and forth between the real world and the LEGO world.

Bruce: It reminded me of Once Upon A Time, where there’s a real world and a fairytale world existing simultaneously. But it was much less confusing.

Olive: It was so sweet, because in the end, there’s still the LEGO world. I got my little token of childhood.

From → Kid Stuff, Posts

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