Sunday, February 9, 2014

Everything Is Awesome in The Lego Movie

Eight months ago I wrote my first review on a teaser trailer. Since then, the hype for that particular movie has built up and up, as has my excitement. Now that it's finally in theaters, I can bring this movie full circle ... or full square because Lego bricks aren't circular. That's right, I'm reviewing The Lego Movie (just in case you didn't read that in the title) and everything about it is awesome.
Pictured: perfection.
First off, the voice talent in this movie is just outstanding, probably the greatest cast of funny people ever assembled. Parks and Recreation's Christ Pratt provides the voice for the protagonist, Emmet, a simple construction worker whose only goal in life is fitting in. Elizabeth Banks lends her voice to Wildstyle, a tough girl and MasterBuilder. And Morgan Freeman's smooth-as-molasses-wise-old-man voice is given to Vitruvius, a wise old man with a voice as smooth as molasses. Other voice actors include Will Ferrell, Charile Day, Will Arnett, Cobie Smulders, Allison Brie, Shaq, and Liam Neeson just to name a few.
Oh, and Ron Swanson is a freaking ROBOT-PIRATE!
The storyline for the film (yes, I would go as far as calling this fine piece of work a film) was at the same time an old, over done plot AND freshly original. Contradictory? Yes, but oh well. As stated in the previous paragraph, the movie follows Emmet, a simple construction worker who just wants to fit in, but can't no matter how hard he tries. People around him don't think he's special, but it turns out Emmet is special. He's The Special, a chosen one prophesied to stop the evil Lord Business (Ferrel) from destroying the Lego Universe. Emmet, Wildstyle, Vitruvius, and Batman (Arnett) travel through the different Lego worlds to put a stop to Lord Business' evil plan and save the universe and their friends.
While it is an animated movie aimed at kids, most of the jokes and references in the movie are aimed at slightly older audiences. That's because the writing for The Lego Movie is perfect. It does a great job of not taking itself too seriously and making plenty of cultural references and there is just a slew of wonderful mini-fig cameos and Easter eggs that will make any fanboy-or-girl excited.
Really excited.
Even the music in The Lego Movie was great. It's just as playful and fun as the whole movie is and fits the tone perfectly. Listen to some of it here. And the brainwashing anthem of the film, Everything is Awesome is addictingly peppy.

I can't think of a single bad thing to say about this movie, everything about it was awesome. It was so much fun and was better than I had hoped. And just about everything in the movie was made entirely out of Lego bricks, which was just impressive and made me want to go home, dig out my big ol' box of bricks and get to building. My inner-child was ecstatic.
I don't care if you're a MasterBuilder, or have only put two or three bricks together. I don't even care if your only encounter with Legos is stepping on a brick barefoot. Go see it. You will most certainly enjoy it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Groundhog Day! ...

For those of you who haven't checked your calendars yet, today is Groundhog Day. A day with a premise so utterly ridiculous yet we Americans still practice almost religiously every year. Seriously, whoever came up with the idea that groundhogs were secretly subterranean meteorology experts successfully played one of the biggest pranks in history. The fact that humans turn to a rodent once a year to know the weather is just baffling. But I digress ...

Getting back on track, to celebrate this silly holiday I'm going to talk about the 1993 classic, Groundhog Day starring Andie McDowell and Bill Freaking Murray.
I wish Bill Murray were my alarm clock.
Groundhog Day follows the story of a news crew who travels to Punxsutawney, PA to cover the Groundhog Day celebrations. The meteorologist, Phil Connors (Murray), is a pain-in-the-butt and hates everything about the assignment. Once the crew finishes their story, they leave Punxsutawney only to find that a blizzard has stopped all travel. Connors heads back to the annoying town with his reporter, Rita (McDowell), and cameraman to stay the night.
The next morning Phil wakes up ready to leave only to find that it is again February 2nd. The weatherman, his crew, and all of Punxsutawney are stuck in one of the wibbly-wobbliest, timey-wimiest of time loops, forced to live February 2nd over and over again. What makes it worse is that Phil is the only one aware of it.

Phil uses perpetually living the same day to his advantage by doing whatever he wants and trying to seduce Rita. Eventually, he uses all of his time to better himself and the town of Punxsutawney in an attempt to break the time loop. Funny things happens, Bill Murray is awesome, and the audience laughs and loves every minute of it.
Groundhog Day is great. I love Billy Murray (as everyone should) and he's hilarious in this movie (as he is in most of his movies). I don't really have much to say about the other actors because I didn't really notice them. Bill just sort of steals the show ... I mean movie.
Most people who have watched Groundhog Day finish the movie and move on. Other more hard-core viewers with lots of time on their hands sit and ponder just how long Phil Connors was stuck in that time loop. And then they proceed to figure it out. Estimates range from 10 years to 30-40 years, based on how long it takes to master the French language, playing the piano, and ice sculpting
If you've never seen Groundhog Day then go watch it right now. Especially today. You can finish it right before that big football game that is apparently going on tonight. Watch it, enjoy it, and hope you don't wake up tomorrow on February 2nd.