In advance of the release of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, we’re taking a look back at the first film in the Lego franchise, 2014’s The Lego Movie.
The Lego Movie began development in 2008, originally conceived by producer Dan Lin. From there, Warner Brothers hired Dan, and Kevin Hageman (Hotel Transylvania) began working on the script for the film. WB then hired Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) to direct and rewrite the film. The duo would bring in Chris McKay (Robot Chicken) as a co-director over the animation portion of the film. Together Lord, Miller, and McKay would help craft a film that would become a box office hit, inspire multiple spinoffs, and would inspire other studios to develop similar properties.
The film stars Emmet (Chris Pratt), a rather simple construction worker in a Lego world whose life is turned upside down when he finds the “piece of resistance” and is believed to be “the special.” Within this Lego world, there is a prophecy that states that “the special” will help save the world from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Over the course of the film, Emmet joins up with the tough as nails “Master Builder” named Wyldstlye aka Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Lego Batman (Will Arnett), Unikitty (Alison Brie) a unicorn-kitten, the pirate Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), Benny (Charlie Day) a 1980’s space guy, and the blind wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). Their goal is to stop Lord/President Business and his evil cronies, led by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), from using the Kragle (Krazy Glue) to glue everything into his view of perfection.
The big twist, which is only revealed at the end of the film, is that the events of the film are all part of a boy named Finn (Jadon Sand) playing with an expansive Lego set in his basement. His father (also played by Farrell) has constructed various Lego sets, which he has instructed Finn not to play with. Finn’s playtime story of Emmet trying to stop Lord Business from Kragle-ing the Lego World is his own interpretation of him wanting to play with the sets while his dad wants to glue them into place. In the end, Finn’s dad realizes that he should let Finn play with the sets but states that Finn’s sister gets to play with them as well. The film ends with “Alien creatures” landing in the Lego world of Bricksburg, stating, “We are from the planet Duplo, and we are here to destroy you.”
The film is full of fantastic cameos from various characters and properties which have been turned into Lego sets in the past, from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings Characters to Abraham Lincoln and Shaquille O’Neal. The filmmakers were even able to get in cameos from Star Wars characters with Anthony Daniels portraying C-3PO and Billy Dee Williams portraying Lando. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill who both appear in Lord and Miller’s 21 and 22 Jump Street films also voice Superman and Green Lantern in the film.
What truly makes the film special though isn’t just the phenomenal voice cast or great cameos, but the rock-solid script and story. It’s a film that is endlessly rewatchable, can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages, and has a great message: everyone can be special. There’s a lot of flack nowadays where everyone criticizes the idea of “everyone being special.” But there’s an important message to that in this film. It’s important, especially for kids, to realize that just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re imperfect.
Lord Business spends the entire film essentially saying that if you’re not doing things in his very specific way and following every single rule he sets forth, then you mean nothing–that his way is the only way. But Emmet and the other “Master Builders” help realize that being different is what can make the world a better place. We’re all made differently, and we all have our different talents and quirks. Those aspects not only make us who we are, but make us all special in our own way. We don’t achieve new advances in this world by all being the same. We excel when someone decides to be different and go against the grain. When they say, “I’m going to do something different and unique, even if everyone else says it’s impossible.”
The film reminds us all, that yes we’re all special and different in our own way, and that’s not only okay, but it’s excellent. It helps create and bring new life into a world that would otherwise be dull and boring. We may not always look special, and sometimes we may not even believe that we could be special, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t. We all have the power inside us to make this world a better place, and if we find what makes us special, then it’s easier to achieve that.
The Lego Movie is currently available for purchase on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital.