Posted on February 21st, 2014
If you told me what I’m about to tell you, I would think you were an idiot with lowest common denominator taste and write you off as an arbiter of anything relevant, good and worthwhile in culture.
Gloves are off. Chin is out.
The Lego Movie is one of the best overall films I have seen in a long time. There. I said it. It was actually easier to say than when I acknowledged that One Direction’s Story of My Life was a pretty good song. I still have scars from that one. But like Ron Luciano behind the plate of a Yankees game, I call ‘em like I see ‘em, fully anticipating a full beer to rein down on my head from the 300 level.
The Lego Movie is one part Toy Story, one part Bugs Bunny, one part Old School. It’s a movie for kids written on a subversive highbrow adult level with inside jokes on everything from the Showtime Lakers of the 80s to the smooveness of Billy Dee Williams to the questionable superpowers and sexuality of the Green Hornet. The only joke they missed was the construction worker suspended by his helmet from a girder with a single dab of Krazy Glue.
Suffering through the horrific similarly themed previews in the theater before the movie started and ready to barf my Junior Mints, I went on IMDB to get the backstory. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why nearly 15 major stars would sign up for such a script. Will Ferrell. Nick Offerman. Will Arnett. Jonah Hill. Will Forte. Guys I not only love as actors, but would have over for a barbecue. But as the story unfolded, I got it. The concept was brilliant. The writing was extraordinary. The movie was fun. And the revenue and merchandising opportunities were off the charts.
Sometimes brands make incredible mistakes getting out over their skis and pushing beyond what they are capable of supporting from a personality and believability standpoint. The $100,000 Volkswagen Phaeton rings a faint bell. The Pat Boone metal album had vultures circling his career before it was even released. But sometimes a brand gets just enough smart people around it to tease out the true DNA and reconfigure it into something original, creative and completely unexpected.
Just like playing with Legos.