Five years since the first Lego Movie told us that ‘everything was awesome’ (apologies for getting that song stuck in your head again), a lot has changed. Both in terms of the franchise and in my life.
I watched the first film, partly due to having nothing else to do on a rainy day and partly due to nostalgia, and was delightfully surprised by the meta-reflexive, slyly subversive dose of eye-candy that I was served up. It can be argued that it was a filmed aimed at adults rather than children, I the underlying message being to embrace your inner child and, in doing so, allow your children to be, well, children. The corporate satire was great too.
Moving forward in time, I now ventured into the theatre with a fiancé and a five-year-old in tow, a wholly different affair. I was not only here for myself, but for my family, and as such was far more attuned to things like the films message and educational value.
My expectations bar for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was also far higher than it was for the first, and while enjoying the movie immensely it didn’t quite clear it with the same ease as its predecessor did. Though in all fairness, that was an almost impossible task.
Lord and Miller’s meta-reflexive humour works as well as you expect it to, and this gorgeously animated film comes packed with more than enough pop culture irreverence to keep even the most reluctant parent (or teen) happy.
It’s a good film, Chris Pratt (voicing Emmet) and Emily Banks (voicing Lucy) do a great job building on their characters, while Will Arnett (voicing Batman) steals every scene he’s in. The storyline, and underlying message, more layered and this time targeted squarely at the kids (at its best the film celebrates the innocence and creativity of childhood, and reminds children that working together and building people up, rather than breaking them down, is a beautiful thing to strive for).
Though enough of me – here’s what the five-year-old thought:
Logan didn’t want to go to the Lego movie. It was raining and he wanted to stay indoors and watch unboxing videos (the bane of every parent’s existence) on YouTube. He didn’t have a lot of experience with Lego (more of a Duplo kid up to this point).
He was a little upset in the car, but was less so at the idea that I would buy him an ice cream if he was a good boy.
The moment that change things for Logan was seeing the spaceman “with fire coming out of his butt” on the movie poster. He now decided that this looked like “a fun and silly movie” and he was “actually quite excited to watch it.”
Sitting in the theatre, his eyes absolutely lit up at the small bags of Lego piled on his chair (we gave him ours too), “for me!? Are these toys all for me?”. The kid was in a good mood. One that lasted all the way to the credits.
“It was a special movie, and a special surprise for me… the best movie ever!”
He sat, eyes fixed to the screen, enthralled by the dazzling colours. He laughed at the jokes, especially “the silly spaceman”, and loved watching the characters interact with the Lego blocks while building their world around them (something that he requested we do as soon as we got home).
As the movie reached its climax he was fully invested, at points loudly (and unnecessarily) explaining plot points from his cinema chair: “Those dinosaurs are flying the spaceship, isn’t that silly!”, “He’s actually the baddie, I didn’t think he was but I do now! Do you know that he’s the baddie?” (it was cute and fortunately no-one seemed to mind).
Coming out of the film I pressed him on what he thought of it (secretly looking for some sort of validation that I didn’t spoil his weekend).
“I loved it so much, it was funny and silly and cool and was the best movie ever. It was a special movie and it was a special surprise, and I also really loved all the Lego toys they gave us!”
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is out in New Zealand cinemas now.