27 Mar 2019

Review - Lego Movie 2: a generation-gap parable about how we all should get along

From At The Movies, 7:33 pm on 27 March 2019

Who would have guessed that a glorified infomercial for Lego building bricks (aka 2014's The Lego Movie) would end up so smart, witty and - go on, say it - awesome?

Now five years later, we have The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Can lightning strike twice?

​Interestingly, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part taps into the idea of the kid from the first movie getting older. Oh no, Emmett now lives in a Lego dystopian apocalypse!

The first Lego Movie, back in 2014, surprised most of us by being funny, inventive and rather better written than it needed to be.

It was the work of a new team, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

Since then the pair has gone on to produce, write and occasionally direct further Lego titles and along the way pick up a Best Animated Film Oscar this year for the ingenious Into the Spider-verse.

The first Lego Movie was an allegory of sorts - do you stick to the rules or use your own imagination? And now The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.

A lifetime has passed… into chaos.

Things have changed. The real-life kid who owns the Lego set - as before, we catch live action glimpses of him - has gone darker, changing Bricksburg to Apocalypse-burg.

This clearly suits the vaguely Goth character Lucy more than the perennially sunny Emmett, once again voiced by Chris Pratt.

Yes, the ear-worm "Everything is Awesome" is still around, though like the rest of the set it's about to receive a makeover. The Lego world is under siege from an unexpected source - the Duplo Savages.

Duplo, I'm reminded, is Lego for Little Kids, which explains the rather less-than terrifying voices of the invaders.

They may sound infantile, but they're more than capable of causing mayhem and getting under Emmett and Lucy's guard.

Next thing we know Lucy and several other characters, including Batman, Superman, Hello Kitty and I don't know what else, are kidnapped and taken to - wait for it - the Sis-Star System.

By now, the adults in the audience have spotted that, once again, this Lego movie is moving into the Metaphoric, particularly when we meet the Queen of the Sis-Star System - a pink Duplo pony called Wat-evra Wanabi, voiced by popular comedienne Tiffany Haddish.

Actually, Tiffany and many of the other voices are popular in rather more R-rated material than The Lego Movie 2.

The actual target audience for a Lego film is around 9 or 10, and about now they were noisily losing interest.

Emmett meets the colourful Rex Dangervest, also voiced by Chris Pratt, who offers all sorts of Chris Pratt movie jokes about Jurassic Park and Guardians of the Galaxy which sail over the head of the 9 and 10-year-olds.

So now you've got the situation where the adults, who don't have much interest in Lego, are watching a sort of generation-gap parable about how we all should, you know, get along.

Meanwhile, the small fry, who do like Lego and can't wait to get back to playing with their own bricks, are being swamped with more Lego than they or anyone else know what to do with.

That's the problem with a story about pure imagination.

There's simply too much stuff here, and when that happens this audience simply ignores what's up on the screen and starts chatting loudly amongst themselves. And making up something better - something with a happy ending.

I'm not sure this is that, but it's definitely an ending.

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