"The Lego Movie" is irritatingly frenetic, smug, and so ugly to look at it hurt my eyes. Its message is a mess of predigested secular or Pagan takeoffs on the Judeo-Christian tradition, not direct takeoffs, but borrowings of borrowings. "Jokes" come fast and furious. They come so fast you don't have time to assess whether they are funny or not. Example: Liam Neeson voices a police officer, and he sings a few seconds of "Danny Boy." This is supposed to be funny because Liam Neeson is Irish. It's a joke! Get it huh huh? Get how clever it is? You don't have to think about that, because another joke is coming down the chute.
There's something really smug and divorced from the audience about all this joking. I can just see the writers slapping themselves on the back, congratulating themselves, "Gosh, aren't we clever?"
Morgan Freeman, whom I used to like but who has become predictably ubiquitous in his unending God roles, plays the part of God, or close enough in this secular/Pagan/superhero super derivative mash-up. He tells Emmet (truth in Hebrew; not sure if there is any intended connection) that he, Emmet, is the Messiah. Only the film uses the word "Special." Same thing. Eventually the moral of the film is revealed: if you believe in yourself, you are the Messiah, the most intelligent, powerful, interesting person on the planet. Wow, that will make for healthy and happy kids. Not. Luckily the film is incoherent enough that many kids won't even realize that that is the film's message.
In this heavy-handed movie, there's a heavy-handed, live action coda that breaks with all that has gone before. The message of the coda: suit-wearing, rules-following, heterosexual white American businessmen are the biggest menace to the planet, and we should all be more anarchic, creative and narcissistic. Wow, that's a message that Hollywood has never sent before.
Nothing that happens in the action onscreen matters. It's one long chase, with Lego characters turning themselves into whatever they want at will, and flying freely. Since they can do this – turn themselves into weapons or escape vehicles – it doesn't really seem to matter that they are occasionally captured by a character named "Bad Cop" – problems with authority much? – tortured, and threatened with genocide. Yes, really. There are torture scenes in a movie meant for preschoolers. I found the torture scenes hard to watch, not because they were moving, but because they were weird and out of place. I sat there thinking, what kind of mind puts torture scenes like this in a movie for little kids?
I found the movie so ugly it was hard to look at. You are, after all, looking at computer-generated pieces of plastic. There is no sun, no light, no texture, no authentic color. Just – pieces of plastic. The perfect metaphor for this film.