Emma Waverman writes about the chaos of modern family life. She is the co-author of the family cookbook Whining and Dining: Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and Families Who Love Them and is hoping to one day finish her certification as a parenting coach. She lives with her three kids, ranging from tween to grade schooler, and husband in Toronto. Emma has written for a variety of national parenting and lifestyle magazines and newspapers. When she's is not making typos, telling you what she thinks, and thinking about dinner, you can find her on Twitter at @emmawaverman. You can contact Emma at embracingchaos@hotmail.ca.

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Entries in kids movies for adults (1)

Wednesday
Feb052014

Lego Movie Is All Kinds of Awesome

Regular readers will know that when it comes to the popular movies du jour, I am a cynic. I am wary of the cash grabs and the dumbed down story lines. (I was meh, on Frozen.)

And do it was with some trepidation that I took my three kids and Lego-obsessed nephew to The Lego Movie. We had passes (thanks weewelcome), so why not make the kids happy? And guess who loved it the most? That's right. Me.

The Lego Movie has a familiar storyline, an unsuspecting, "unspecial" trips into becoming a hero and through a combination of self-awakening, teamwork and a little chutzpah he saves the world. There are twists and bumps along the way, a little romance and a surprising third act.

It is well-worn journey, but the movie does so with a sly wink to the audience. The writers knew that the theatres would be filled with Lego fans and so the characters remain true to their Lego limitations. Through a combination of CGI and stop-motion the Lego mini-fig heroes can only bend at their waists, their hands are claws that do not have fingers. Everything in the movie is constrained, and ultimately animated by the limitations of the interlocking bricks -- the water is faling blue and white pieces, the flames are the red plastic flames that immediately get lost in my house.

The movie has fun with the many Lego characters available to them. A Michelangelo the painter and Michelangelo Ninja Turtle joke? Why not? And doesn't everyone get Gandalf and Dumbledore a little mixed up? 

Superheroes from rival universes hang together, even the Lando Calrissian makes an appearance. Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, is a self-obsessed, downer just as you imagine he might be. There is even a strong female character! WyldStyle is a master builder voiced by my celebrity fave Elizabeth Banks. She is stronger, smarter and a better builder than anyone else. But alas, she does not save the world. (Take note, while there are characters from almost every Lego set out there -- Lego Friends does not make an appearance. Is it because those girly girls have no skills other than selling beauty products and pets?) Morgan Freedman is the voice of authority, because, who else would you have?

The movie accepts that the audience may be sentimental about what Lego represents to them and treats our favourite toy with kindness, even love. But it never forgets that it is still a kids' movie. The inherent conflict of Lego -- do you follow the instructions or thrown them away and create your own masterpieces, is explored, teased and made fun of.

Somehow the movie argues for both and it does so sweetly and with heart.  The universal truth is that we all have a little bit of Lord Business, Emmet and WyldeStyle in us, something that The Lego Movie fully shares.

Also, earworm. (By Tegan and Sara and Lonely Island!)

 

I wanted to say that this may be Will Ferrell's best movie, but my 13-year old (who is a Lord Business type) was deeply offended by that idea. So I am saying it here, hoping that he won't read this far. 

And don't worry I haven't lost all my cynicism, I appreciate that the movie at its heart is hypocrtical, especially as The Lego Movie sets and video games hit the shelves. The question is: do you have to follow the instructions?

Will you take your kids to see The Lego Movie?