I have a five year old son. The Lego Movie opened this weekend. Thus, I spent Saturday afternoon with two hundred kids that had ants in their pants as well as a new earworm to share with anyone within 50 feet. Yes, “everything is awesome”, as they kept singing. Until its not- is what I wanted to respond in return. At the end of the movie my mind was numb yet vaguely enraged. I am fearful that a sequel is already underway and I will in two years from now be subjected to plastic pieces pontificating on the joys of being mindlessly happy.
I went in to the movie theater truly wishing I could instead see American Hustle. I was tempted to make a run for it but didn’t believe my son, no matter how cool the wigs were, would believe American Hustle was the new Muppets movie. Despite said desires, I went into the Lego Movie with an open mind. I mean people, critics mind you, had raved about the Lego Movie. If its at 96% positive on Rotten Tomatoes it has to be good, right? Sure, that is until they are wrong. I think I read somewhere it raked in close to 70 million dollars, to which I happily sadly contributed. I think I may be just of a few that didn’t do a happy i saw this dance.
The animation (a combination of stop motion and CGI animation) was actually good and everything did look like Lego pieces. The concept of the movie, in this age of sequels, did come off as original. The Lego movie builds off (pun intended) of our collective sense of nostalgia with pieces of modern-day narcissism. Yes, I said it.
Emmett, an everyday construction, lives a very scripted, by the book life. For every action, feeling and belief there is a handy instruction manual. Obviously, speaking to how disconnected we may feel from actually living life. Nowadays, similarly, there are so many rote things we undertake on our way to and from work. While Emmett blandly skips through life he sings “everything is awesome”. He goes from being the every-man to being special to being the everyman to being special just like everybody else. He goes from being one invisible cog in the machine to being a highly regarded team player. That’s right. This being a children’s film in the early 21st century this movie was one big shout-out to team work. Put away your egos and be part of a team where you will all shine because you are all special and you are all equally eager to work hard as part of the team. The Generation Xer in me has a mighty laugh at this point. Have you ever been in a group project where everyone willingly brings something of note to the table? That is if all those assembled at the table can stop looking at their special selves in their countless posted selfies. I know I’m being a curmudgeon. What do you expect? I am still hearing “everything is awesome” over and over in my head. The world is spinning from awesomeness. Moving on.
The storyline ends up being as generic as the 101 self-help books in an empty Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Believe in yourself and everything will be alright, hell it can even be awesome. Yes, I believe this was a Stuart Smiley skit on Saturday Night Live. I did shed a tear when a movie twist occurs near the end changing the lens with which you view the film. I wanted to hug my son and let him know that indeed he is special and that we aren’t all egomaniac power-hungry suits. I guess I am a softie after all. Everything is awesome!
I must say, if I need to take a life lesson from this movie (which it is obviously trying to dole out) it would be this: just like Legos, every situation can be taken apart and reassembled in different ways. Don’t get stuck in a non-awesome moment. Hows that for a lesson? A bit too trite. Ah, New Yorkers…