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Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Lego Movie

After a one-week hiatus to celebrate the third anniversary of this blog, I am proud to reinstate the SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES theme day!  And, I think that I've chosen a movie that will appeal to the general masses.

At least, I hope I have, anyway. 

In fact, I would say that today's edition of the Saturday movie discussion will offer up a little bit of a throwback to the Saturday Smorgasbord of yore.

(Mind you, when I say yore, I mean late 2013.  Hardly considered to be retro enough to look back on a nostalgic sense...but who cares about minor details like that, right?)

But if you think back to what Saturdays used to be on here, you'll know that it was a day in which I featured all the things that children loved.  Cartoons, toys, children's television programs, books, video games, and other fun things.  It was a lot of fun to do, but I gave it up for the time being - solely because of the fact that I was running out of topics!

This time though, I've managed to bring a little bit of the smorgasbord back into Saturdays because we're going to be having a rousing discussion about toys!

Or, particularly one toy that I really loved during my childhood.

I don't know what it is about them, but I absolutely loved Lego growing up.  My first experience with Lego was finding my sister's old Lego kits (all incomplete, mind you), and using them to build futuristic cities, cars with three wheels, and other creative things that only the mind of a child could dream up. 

And these days, Lego hasn't been more popular.  It's almost as if the decade known as the 2010s has seen a bit of a resurgence in Lego popularity.  Consider it the renaissance movement of the blockhead, so to speak.

I mean, seriously, Legos are everywhere.  In the toy department of the store I work at, there's an entire section dedicated to Lego play sets. 

The Simpsons celebrated the fact that they now have their own Lego playsets by filming a good portion of one of their episodes entirely in Legos (The episode "Brick Like Me" aired towards the end of the show's twenty-fifth season).

And, I can't even count the number of Lego games that have been released for consoles such as PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, XBOX 360, XBOX One, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS!  In all those consoles, you can play Lego adaptations of "Star Wars", "Indiana Jones", "Harry Potter", "Lord of the Rings", "Marvel Superheroes", and "Pirates of the Caribbean"!  It wouldn't surprise me if the next movie to get the Lego treatment was "The Fast and the Furious"!

The point is that Lego has never been bigger and better.  And, with today's movie discussion, you might understand why the fascination with Lego seems to be at an all-time high.

After all.  Lego is awesome.  Come to think of it...EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

ARTIST:  Tegan and Sara (f. The Lonely Island)
SONG:  Everything Is Awesome
ALBUM:  The Lego Movie:  Official Motion Picture Soundtrack
DATE RELEASED:  February 7, 2014

And, today's movie just happens to be just as awesome!  If 2013 was the year of the deep freeze with "Frozen", then 2014 just very well could be the year of the plastic blocks with "THE LEGO MOVIE"!  After all, since its release in theatres worldwide on February 7, 2014, it has made a total of $461,560,511 at the box office.  And, that's not even counting the projected sales that the DVD and Blu-Ray release will make when it becomes available on June 17. 

(I just hope I'm not working that day.  I managed to avoid "Frozen" and "Grand Theft Auto V" release dates...I've been lucky.  So far.)

Anyway, as far as "The Lego Movie" goes, it's one of those films that looks as if it was inspired by someone who decided to take every single Lego set that they owned, built up ever single one in their basements at home, and then combined them all to make a super huge Lego world.  Well, that's exactly what happened.  Where else can you see a Lego Wonder Woman, a Lego Batman, a Lego Green Lantern, a Lego Teenage Mutany Ninja Turtle, a Lego Milhouse, and a Lego Superman?  Trust me.  It's that epic.

So, what's the whole plot of the "Lego Movie"?  Well, for those of you who haven't seen it, and are waiting for the home video release, I really won't be saying much about it.  So, I'm going to be as vague as possible when it comes down to the plot...especially since there's an ingenious twist to the end of the movie (which I will not reveal at all).

Basically in the world of Legos, a good wizard character known as Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) is set on a mission to protect a superweapon known as "The Kragle" from the monstrosity of evil known as "Lord Business" (Will Ferrell).  Not much is known about this Kragle weapon, but in the wrong hands, it could lead to worldwide destruction.  Unfortunately, Vitruvius fails in his mission, but believes that there is hope.  He issues the prophecy that a person known simply by "The Special" can find the one item (The Piece of Resistance) that will be able to stop the superweapon once and for all.

Interestingly enough, the Piece of Resistance vaguely resembles a cap that one might use to seal up a tube of toothpaste, or a tube of ointment, or a tube of Krazy G...

...oh, dear.  I've said too much.  Moving on.

Anyway, some time passes since the prophecy was made - eight and a half years to be exact.  In a Lego construction site, a construction worker by the name of Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is doing his job, as usual.  But something very unusual takes place when he stumbles upon a young woman named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks).  He goes towards her to investigate and finds himself falling down a huge hole.  He's not hurt, but he does discover the item that is known as the Piece of Resistance (unknown to Emmet, Wyldstyle was also searching for it).  But when he tries to grab the item he instantly blacks out after seeing some rather interesting visions and hallucinations.  One make one wonder if the Piece of Resistance is coated with a special paint that makes Lego characters just a wee bit tipsy.

When Emmet comes to, he discovers that he is under police custody and is being held by Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson).  There, Emmet learns of the plan that Lord Business has in store for the Lego World.  With the use of the Kragle, Lord Business plans to freeze the entire world, making everybody and everything stay in one place forever for the rest of their lives.  The plan is for the event to take place on a day known as "Taco Tuesday", and Emmet realizes that in order to save the world, he must find a way to retrieve the Piece of Resistance and use it to stop the weapon before it is deployed.  But he doesn't have much time.  After all, Lord Business has already tested the weapon on a few Lego people already - particularly the Master Builders who have tried to find the Piece of Resistance beforehand.

So, the time has come for Emmet to escape.  With assistance from his newfound ally Wyldstyle, he succeeds, and finds himself in a place known as Wild West World.  It is here that Wyldstyle explains that all the worlds used to be connected with all the Lego people helping each other out.  But one day, gigantic walls were built by Lord Business to separate all of the worlds, just simply for the fact that he can't stand it when the Lego people leave their own worlds and play in others.  

Geez...sounds like this Lord Business has a thing against Lego mixers, huh?

Anyway, the rest of the movie depicts the quest of Emmet, Wyldstyle, Wyldstyle's boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), and Vitruvius in finding the Piece of Resistance.  And, as I said, there's a special twist at the end of the film that will make you all go...OHHH!!!

But yeah.  I won't spoil it.  You'll have to wait until June 17 to find out what it is if you haven't seen the movie.

But I do have a few fun facts and trivia to share with you all regarding this movie!  Have a look.

1 - Although the movie does look like a stop-motion piece, the animation is entirely CGI.

2 - Nowhere in the movie is the word "Lego" mentioned!

3 - Look closely at Vitruvius' staff.  It's actually a chewed up lollipop stick!

4 - Believe it or not, this was Morgan Freeman's first animated feature film in a career that has spanned a number of decades!  What took you so long, Morgan?

5 - Lord Business is president of Octan - a fictional gas station brand that has appeared in Lego playsets for nearly twenty-five years.

6 - Lord Business' cape is shaped like a giant necktie.

7 - Vitruvius tickles the ivories in the saloon - Listen closely.  It's a ragtime version of the Tegan and Sara song "Everything Is Awesome"!

8 - Emmet's car is based off of a car that is present in LEGO City's 2010 playset line-up.

9 - Although Lego bricks are the most dominant brick in the film, that's not to say that a Duplo block doesn't make an appearance every now and then.  But wait.  I've said too much.

10 - Has several references to "Fabuland", a fairytale LEGO playset line that ended production in 1989.

11 - Co-director Chris Miller actually used his own Space Village set for a filming location.

12 - Robert Downey Jr. and Emma Stone were considered for the roles of Emmet and Wyldstyle respectively.

13 - Before Will Arnett agreed to play the role of Batman, the producers considered casting one of the previous Batman movie actors to voice him.  Seriously, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale were all considered.  Of course, Will did a fantastic job as Batman, but I think it would have been really cool if one of the actors had said yes.

14 - Though I will say this.  When Anthony Daniels was asked to reprise the role of C-3PO for the movie, he didn't hesitate to say yes.  Though, I suppose it helped that he voiced the character for the Star Wars LEGO movies as well.

15 - Interestingly enough, the voices of Superman and The Green Lantern were voiced by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill...who will be starring together in the film "22 Jump Street" which hits theatres in June 2014.

And, that's all there is to write about "The Lego Movie"!  Just remember.  Everything is awesome, Lego is better than ever, and don't EVER step on a Lego brick with bare feet.  Those things hurt more than a booster shot in the arm!

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