The Lego Movie: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

lego This is not a movie that I intended to see. I do not do Legos, I do novels, which are very similar only you have to make the pieces. But my son, who is oppressed by his un-cool parents, told me that I had to see it. And still I dragged my heels, until I was trapped in an airplane seat on a transatlantic flight, and had cranked out over ten thousand words of fiction in three days. Suddenly my brain was slush and I had to gafiate. And there was this movie!

The Lego Movie has everything calculated to displease. It is first of all a corporate shill, cold-bloodedly designed to boost the sales of an international megabusiness that markets one of the most popular toys on this planet. It has an annoying sound track, full of electronic SFX and an earworm theme song of Charybdis-like power and adhesiveness. (Do not click that link! I put it in for completeness’ sake. DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK! You clicked, didn’t you — well now you’re done. Your only hope is to start singing ‘It’s A Small World’ aloud over and over again until your ear is infected with a different worm.) Almost all the characters are plastic toys, with the full range of emotive power, facial expression and acting nuance that this implies. Fifty percent of the human cast is Will Ferrell. It fails the Bechdel Test, unless you argue that the pink plastic kitty unicorn is a girl. The entire film is targeted to persons fifty years younger than myself and of the opposite gender, which necessarily forces plot and theme to be juvenile and as deep as a damp Kleenex is thick.

And wow! It is totally charming! Whatever else you can say about brick toy systems, you can be really really creative with them.And the creators of this movie fully exploit that to the max, and beyond. Legos plus stop-action photography souped up with CGI gets you an insanely — dare I say it? — plastic medium. You can do anything. You can send Batman over to steal a warp drive from Han Solo with the assistance of My Little Pony. You can get real actors into the Lego world. You can have Lego oceans, Lego clouds. It is totally fun!

This film is an ode to creativity. It’s a creative ode to creativity, flipping all its obvious weak points over and turning them into powerhouse assets. Of course we all love it. No wonder it was a monster hit, goosing Lego into first place in the cut-throat toy market and inspiring deep, Karl Marx-quoting think pieces in major news organs. And of course there will be a sequel in 2017, because corporations always make sequels of really lucrative movies. They’re going to think of some way to turn this into a magnetically attractive feature. I don’t know how, but I know they will do it. I’m a believer. Everything really will be awesome! (Oh nooo! Wait — Walt Disney, to my aid! “It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all…”)

The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe.

How Like a God, by Brenda W. CloughMy newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.




About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


The Lego Movie: A Very Short Review — 7 Comments

  1. I saw it because my (then, alas) company was doing a LEGO construction book, so it was a corporate outing. I was startled at how subversive it was in terms of LEGO itself–since we were deep into the “doing-the-book-according-to-the-requirements-of-LEGO*,” the “there’s no wrong way” spirit of the movie was delightful. We did kind of wonder whether anyone at LEGO corporate had seen the movie, and what they thought. All of us went in to the theatre thinking, O well, it’s a couple of hours out of the office. And we all came out grinning and humming, well, you know…

    *for example: did you know that LEGO is always rendered in all caps? And that they’re never Legos, they are LEGO bricks or LEGO elements, or that…

    • Well, I will not go back and fix my capitalizations. I like to think that LEGO corporate was deeply and profoundly cunning. Not surface cunning, like the more stupid politicians one may find, but =deep=. They knew that a really good movie would sell way way more Legos than a merely corporately inoffensive one. And you gotta respect that level of serpentine thought.

  2. I didn’t really want to see this but I loved it – saw it twice. The humor was very clever and original. (One of the promo featurettes is a lot of fun too and has the same tone You’re right about the ear worm, though: my husband still every once in a while starts singing it because he knows it will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  3. Hah! Love your review! You stated perfectly all the reasons I didn’t want to see the film-plus, the previews just looked stupid. I had no thoughts of ever watching it, but we were visiting my Navy SEAL son, who wanted to see it–that is what being a parent of two young daughters can do to a very tough man. 🙂 And, like you, I was surprised by the charm of the film, surprised that LEGOS could, in the miracle of modern movie-making, depict such a range of emotion.