Everyone loves to moan about their favourite Oscar snub, usually about Leonardo DiCaprio, but there are few which have caused as much recent outrage as The Lego Movie.
As everyone knows, it wasn’t that it didn’t win, no no no, it was that it wasn’t even nominated. Now admittedly I don’t watch many animated films, and I haven’t seen those which did get the Academy nod, but having seen The Lego Movie I can see why people were so annoyed. It’s great entertainment.
This was by no means guaranteed: Toy Story is of course the standard-bearer for films based around children’s playthings, but then there have also been offerings such as Transformers, which is awful.
What then makes The Lego Movie so awesome is its willingness to embrace itself. It contains all the action and randomness of a child’s imagination, and yet there is also an undertone which adults can enjoy too. You really can tell from the plot, the attention to detail, and the animation, that the writer’s and production team love Lego.
Our unlikely hero, Emmet, is the most bland, brainwashed and thoughtless worker imaginable. He is regimented firmly in routine and his favourite song is the irritatingly-catchy yet somehow not dislikeable ‘Everything is Awesome.’ He is essentially a comment upon the robotic nature of modern society and our conformity that something really must be great because it’s forced down our throats on the radio 24/7.
But from here on we escape this yellow-brick-1984 crossover, and are taken on what is quite simply a relentless and brilliantly imaginative adventure, as Emmet has been dubbed ‘The Special’ and is the key to defeating the evil Lord Business.
Cynics may say that the film was created with an eye at merchandising, and I am sure that to an extent they might have a point, but by embracing the variety of characters which have been immortalised by Lego, the film turns itself into some kind of Sci-Fi, Wild West, Superhero, Pirate, bonanza!
Like a lot of Lego adventures, the bonanza is set within the good vs. evil framework, which is exemplified by the mystic prophecy of Morgan Freeman’s Obi-Wan Kenobi-esq wizard, Vitruvius, and the rotating good-cop/bad-cop of Liam Neeson. But the characters we meet upon the way and the way in which the story develops is testament to the writer’s ability to think not only outside the box, but in a galaxy far, far away.
It is easy for adult’s to forget the mechanics of a child’s imagination and the true randomness which they are capable of, and The Lego Movie captures this perfectly.
Without getting carried away, it is also important for films such as The Lego Movie to be made, because it provides a brilliant introduction for children to a different type of film and version of story telling. Not everything has to be so simple.
The majority of children’s films will adhere to more conventional stories and structures, which is natural and will more often than not be the right thing to do; but The Lego Movie at least proves that there is a market out there for family films that are a bit wacky.
If anything The Lego Movie proves how boring the Academy must truly be. It is a quest against mundane conformity and celebrates individuality and imagination. It is an adventure as frantic as Indiana Jones, yet with a genuinely witty satire beneath the surface, as well as moments which tug at the hearts of parents.
It may have been overlooked, but that doesn’t matter, because no amount of Oscar snubbing will ever change the fact that The Lego Movie is exactly what everyone claims it to be: awesome.