Category Archives: Reviews

The LEGO Movie Review

Background

In cinemas April 3

Rated PG

5 Stars

 

This review is contains minor plot details, but won’t give anything away.

When The LEGO Movie was first announced I was one of a huge number of people who weren’t sure how it could possibly work. LEGO is one off the most recognised brands in the world, but it is also a broad subject to try and capture on film. The team behind this movie have nailed the brief. A LEGO Movie could have easily turned out to be a shameless 2 hour toy ad with little substance, but the end result is not just a great film but it also perfectly captures the essence of the brand.

The movie tells the tale of Emmet, an unremarkable construction minifigure who lives his life following a detailed set of instructions. His life changes forever when he discovers the key to stopping an evil plan to destroy the world.

The action in the film is fast paced and at times frantic. You will settle in to a new location only for the bad guys to show up and keep the characters moving forward. There is no filler here. My only complaint would be that some locations are only given a passing glance.

LEGO Batman
The cast of characters are all perfectly executed. Vitruvius is the textbook example of the wise old mentor character, but there are lots of knowing winks to the older viewers. They know that he is a stereotype and they play with that. There will be a lot of debate about Wyldstyle, but I felt that she is given enough depth to her character beyond the generic ‘tough chick’ shown in the trailers. LEGO Batman is a hilarious take on a character that could have just been stale. We have seen Batman on the screen plenty of times before, but LEGO Batman is something new and he steals the show in quite a few scenes. Looking back there are no characters that don’t serve a purpose. The standouts for me are Metalbeard, Uni-kitty and Benny the Spaceman. Between the three of them there lots of laughs.

The jokes are constant with this movie, but there are none that I felt miss the mark. The humour here is clever and not forced like in other kids movies. Jokes are made in a split second of action and if you miss them they are gone. Things never slow down for the sake of a joke. One element of the humour that I found refreshing was that there weren’t lots of jokes deliberately aimed at parents or older viewers. The majority of the jokes work well for all ages, and that is going to make family viewings a lot more enjoyable.

Wyldstyle

For all of its humour this film also has an incredible amount of heart. It’s possible that the way you see LEGO is going to be changed after you leave the theatre. There is a message here but it is never preached or shouted at you. From the trailers and marketing you might think that the movie has a simple message that following the instructions is bad but that isn’t what this movie is saying, it’s more complex than that and really goes to the heart of what LEGO is all about. This movie is a lot smarter than I expected it to be.

There are lots of movie critics who are going to view this movie just as a movie, but as an adult fan of LEGO I went in with my own set of hopes and expectations. I wanted to see how well would this film capture the subject that I am passionate about. Everything that is presented on screen is authentically LEGO; I was in awe from the opening moments of the film. The animation team have created a visually stunning world that always looks like it is made with real bricks. Scenes are clearly inspired by stop motion animation, just without physical limitations (like access to millions of bricks). I feel like the animation team were given a strict set of design rules to follow. Unlike the LEGO videogames these characters don’t bend and flex except where their real world counterparts could. Seeing Emmet doing jumping jacks I was struck with “this is a minifigure”.

Emmet

There are lots of LEGO references in here too. There is a scene early on in the film where Emmet is working his construction job and hearing the construction crew call out for parts, using terms that every AFOL will be familiar with, was great. The general audience isn’t going to get all of those references, so I appreciate their inclusion all the more. They are like a hidden message for true fans.

If you are a child, then this movie is easily going to be the best fun you will have during the school holidays. Parents, this isn’t just a 2 hour distraction for your kids, this film has heart and genuine laughs for you too. As for AFOLs, well you also get to see the bricks that we love brought to life; almost every frame looks like a MOC that you’d love to be able to build. I can’t wait for the blu-ray release so I can pause the action and soak up the way the (digitally rendered) parts are put together.

The LEGO Movie has already earned a spot on my list of favourite movies.

Belkin LEGO® Builder Case Review

Belkin LEGO iPhone Case

Since the iPhone first gained popularity there have been a huge variety of unofficial LEGO iPhone cases available, but now Belkin has partnered with LEGO to produce an officially licensed LEGO iPhone case. Does being an offically licensed product mean it meets the same high standard that LEGO bricks aspire too?

I have been an iPhone user for a few years, starting with the 4S and then moving to the iPhone 5 shortly after it was released. I am also somebody that has never had a case on my phone. I just use a simple pouch to protect my phone from scratches when it’s in my pocket. I had never found a case that offered me something to justify adding the extra weight and bulk to my phone. That was before Belkin announced the builder case.

Review: 10230 Mini Modulars

LEGO 10230

Price: $79 (Myer Toy Sale)
Parts: 1356

Price/Part Ratio: $0.05/Pc

One of the surprise treats at the Myer Toy Sale (on until 28th July) was 10230 Mini Modulars set. Originally designed as gifts from the LEGO design team, these microscale versions of the iconic modular building sets were released as a single set available exclusively to VIP customers. This year is the first time the set has been released at an Australian retailer. The set covers the first five modulars: Cafe Corner, Market Street, Green Grocer, Fire Brigade and Grand Emporium.