Top Best Most Awesome 2014: The Lego Movie

Christopher Nolan’s doesn’t write movies. He writes the ‘beginnings’ of movies. All that stuff that happens at the end? Pft, DETAILS. Because of this, I’ve been sorely wishing for a quality Batman movie. Who would’ve guessed that 2014 would have the BEST Batman movie…EVER?

Yes, the Lego Movie, a toy-driven franchise, could have easily turned out to be one long stupid ad for injection molded bricks. But instead they took the time to look deeper. Lego fully understand the importance those bricks stand for: imagination, critical thinking, deep play. There are few toys that shape minds with the power of Lego.

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So when they finally made a movie, they molded it(seewhatididthere) around conformity vs. imagination, and how conformity sometimes wins. The imagination is unadulterated, raw, and liberated. The conformity is a surprisingly adult view on corporate culture and how people can spend their lives as interchangeable automatons living an unremarkable existence. All this comes together with amazing animation, superb acting, and an emotionally powerful and unique ending.

I love seeing great people at work. It shows through in the movie, and also in the voice acting:

I cannot complete this without mentioning Ben, my favorite 1980-something Space Guy.

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Benny is a big spaceship nerd. He loves them. He knows that everything can be fixed with them. To him, they are the Golden Hammer of vehicles. And thankfully for our heroes it is the Deus Ex Machina of the movie, saving the day.  He’s also a bit on the outside looking in. He wants to help, he’s got some ideas, but he doesn’t have the social capital to make it happen. He bides his time and he gets his payoff in all its 80s glory.

Lego made a very smart movie because it was not afraid to be dumb. Micromanagement In Progress. Double-decker couches. Everything Is Awesome. Morgan Freeman simply existing in this movie. It took the time to explore and be imaginative, and find things that were beautiful and amazing. And then they made a movie that embodied those ideas and was also about them.

So are you listening, Nolan? You set up something in the beginning, and then you pay it off later. This technique provides the characters with growth. They persevere, and learn, and at the end there’s an interesting outcome called a ‘denoument‘. All those old movies that suddenly and abruptly end? Those movies didn’t have a denoument.

For example, at the beginning of this article, I said Christopher Nolan can’t figure out how to finish his movies. I made a connection to the Lego Movie using Batman. Then at the end I explained how you finish a movie. I even used a self-referential loop, without requiring sticking Leonardo DiCaprio in limbo for 50 years.

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OMG, MIND BLOWN!!