Sure 'The Lego Movie' Is Good, but There's No Reason Anyone Should Be Obsessed With It
This weekend, like everyone else in America, I decided to see The Lego Movie. I had been looking forward to it for months, ever since that first crazy Lego Movie trailer came out back in October, and over the last few weeks, as incredible review after review started pouring in, my excitement had grown even larger. Friends who'd already seen it assured me that it lived up to the hype, and even if they hadn't, I would've had no reason to think otherwise; everything about Lego, from its voice cast (Andy Dwyer!) to its premise to its animation, seemed like a recipe for success.
So on Friday afternoon, a friend and I bought tickets in advance (an AMC Loews employee had assured us our 6:15 p.m. screening would be sold out), made our way downtown, and took the few empty seats left in the kid-crowded theater. We sat back, relaxed (as much as you can when 100 five-year-olds are screaming "EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!" at the top of their lungs), and watched the opening credits roll.
As I quickly discovered, The Lego Movie was funny. It was smart. It was original. I laughed at the portrayal of narcissistic, unhelpful Batman, admired the gorgeous, Lego-animated ocean waves, and loved every minute of interaction between Jonah Hill's needy Green Lantern and Channing Tatum's fed-up Superman. I felt that Chris Pratt made a perfect Emmett, his Parks and Rec-type enthusiasm never more charming. And I loved the cameo at the end, a fitting inclusion to a film meant to reach audience members of all ages.
Overall, I really liked The Lego Movie. But it wasn't perfect. There were flaws, some of them relatively big; while the beginning and end were witty and fun, the middle act dragged on. Some of the jokes were too repetitive, losing their impact after the first few mentions. The cameo at the end was great for a minute or two, but when the scene turned out to be ten minutes long, nothing about it felt fresh or necessary. And the tone? Perfect at times, unbalanced and overly sappy at others.
Yet leaving the theater, I couldn't say any of this to my friend. As every moviegoer, critic, and tweet had instilled in me, I was supposed to love, not just like, The Lego Movie. I shouldn't have noticed any flaws, because clearly, a movie with a 95 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating didn't have any. No, I was expected to come out of the theater raving about the film, calling it "the best thing I've ever seen" and comparing it to Citizen Kane .
So I kept quiet, offering only a go-to "that was so cute!" when my friend asked what I'd thought. And when I asked her, she offered a similar response, calling it "nice" and "really sweet!" After a few moments of this, though, I couldn't hold it in any longer.
"The middle was kind of slow, though..." I offered, prepared for a wide-eyed stare and a lecture. But instead, I got a sigh of relief.
"Oh my god, I thought it was just me," my friend said.
"Parts of it were really good," she continued, "but then others just kind of boring, and then the ending was so wrapped up, and..."
And it went on, my friend pointing out all the problems we'd apparently both had with the movie. By the end, we'd both come to an agreement: The Lego Movie was good, yes, but a masterpiece, as everyone seemed to claim? Not even close.
I was thrilled to have someone else on the same page as me, because for awhile, I had been pretty sure that I was the only person in America who hadn't fallen head over heels for the movie. In any other case, I would've been glad to defend my view alone; as someone who thought The Princess Bride was "just okay," I'm used to being the victim of the occasional "but you're WRONG" speech. Yet never before had I not understood the acclaim for a movie as beloved as Lego, a film that's caused even the toughest critics to hand it four stars. Even if it was just one other person, it was nice to have someone agree with me that Lego, for all its strengths, is a little bit overrated.
Still, it is just the two of us, as far as I know. So maybe I'm wrong. Maybe my friend and I really are the only two people in existence who didn't buy our tickets to see Lego a second time immediately after leaving the theater. But if that's true, I just don't get it — yes, Lego is funny and smart, but it's no better than Monsters Inc. or Ratatouille or any other pretty good animated movie. And coming only weeks after Frozen, one of the best movies, animated or otherwise, of the year? It just doesn't make sense.
Yet for some reason, the country has collectively decided to fall in love with The Lego Movie. I may never understand exactly why, or why I'm not on the same page, despite wanting to so badly before I even walked into the theater. I'll have to watch the world freak out over Lego for the next few months, while I re-watch Frozen, or Toy Story, or, hell, even Lego's apparent cousin Citizen Kane for the tenth time. Maybe later on, when The Lego Movie comes out on DVD, I'll give it a second try; perhaps my feelings will change, and all of a sudden, I'll find myself writing some apologetic piece refuting everything I've said here. It's unlikely, but it's worth a shot; being forever known as "the girl who doesn't like The Lego Movie" isn't exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life.
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