Poster for “The Lego Batman Movie” Image via Wikipedia

The central thematic conceit at the heart of The Lego Batman Movie is–

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s Lego Batman, for Pete’s sake. So I’ll spare you my usual line of in-depth socio-philosophical analysis. The only thing you need to know here is that it’s a really funny family-friendly movie, with tons of humorous references to various other incarnations of Batman–especially the late, great Adam West.

It’s true to the spirit of Lego, in that it is good-humored and full of crazy, giant battle scenes with characters from different franchises fighting each other all willy-nilly.  It’s exactly like the way I played with my Lego as a kid. And it’s a lot of fun.

The one way in which it can perhaps be analyzed as something other than an entertaining trifle is the part involving the new Gotham city police commissioner’s plan to make the police force less dependent on Batman. She even uses the phrase “It takes a village” to emphasize the collective effort.  Given when the movie was released (late January), I can’t help but wonder if they were expecting that line would have more political relevance.

But never mind that stuff!  It’s a nice, entertaining movie. Sometimes the action moves too fast for anyone but a hyperactive child to follow–but then, that is the target audience.  And there are plenty of jokes that will keep everyone entertained throughout, even when the battles become incoherent.

WARNING! The following clip contains intense LEGO violence.  Parents, this is what happens when you give your nine-year-old sons red clay and LEGO skeletons! (Credits blurred as before, to avoid embarrassing family and friends.)

This movie is a little clearer than my previous ones, I think.  It was about an army of skeletons who invade a planet and massacre the inhabitants. I made the movie when I was nine, but the music came much later–when I was about 15, and I briefly got into composing scores for my old movies.

And now you know how far back my cosmic-horror fixation goes…

I loved Lego toys as a kid. (Who didn’t, really?)  They were awesome.  I still occasionally see ads for the new and improved sets that come out and think to myself: “why didn’t we have that when I was 10?  The fun I’d have had!”

So, I watched The Lego Movie hoping for a nostalgic love-letter to a great toy.  And I was not disappointed, either. It was a very cute movie, and they did a pretty good job of keeping the “look” of Lego intact.  It was awfully fast-paced but I suppose that’s par for the course for a children’s movie.  And it managed to be a film that adults could enjoy without having innuendo and double-entendre jokes thrown in. (Well, except for one line, but it was fairly mild.)

The only issue I had with it was that the name of the villain who wants to glue all the Lego-people in place forever, was “Lord Business”.  It seemed like an odd name for the character, given that Lego is, itself, a business.  You see, the movie has sort of a “meta” narrative, in which at the end, the characters are revealed to be the playthings of a child, who is basing the story on his father’s refusal to let him modify his carefully arranged Lego dioramas. So, his father is “Lord Business” wanting to keep everything “just so”, and the good characters are rebelling against this. Do I even need to say that it all ends happily and valuable lessons are learned?

As for the “Lord Business” name–I guess they were saying “business” as opposed to “play”; but all the same, it seemed peculiar. I read that a lot of conservative types complained about it–they felt it was an anti-capitalist message.  I don’t think it was, though–it was just a poor choice of words.

That aside, I thought the movie was very clever and entertaining. Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell and Liam Neeson all give very funny performances.  The jokes are all too rapid-fire to really mention them–it’s more the cumulative effect than one joke. But I think my favorite bit was this (which was also in the trailer):

[The villains are attacking a gathering of assorted Lego heroes]

Batman: “To the Batmobile!”

[Villains blow up the Batmobile]

Batman: “Dang it!”

Wonder Woman: “To the invisible jet!”

[Villains blow up the invisible jet]

Wonder Woman: “Dang it!”

Batman: “Every man for himself!”

Something about hearing a superhero say “every man for himself” is pretty funny for some reason.  All in all, a very entertaining flick.

I was searching on Knights of the Old Republic II the other day when I stumbled across these awesome custom KotOR II Lego figures made by Justin R. Stebbins, aka Saber-Scorpion.  (My personal favorite of his figures is Mandalore) He also has KotOR I creations, as well as custom Lego  for a bunch of other great games, including Planescape: Torment, Fallout and Metal Gear SolidCheck it out.

As I was looking around at his work, I did start thinking how awesome a full-length movie adaptation of these games with the Lego figures would be, even though I’m not normally a fan of adapting games into movies.  Since their lips don’t move, you could use the original voice readings from the game.  One of my favorite things about Lego is how easily it lends itself to stop-motion animation.

Actually, though, I know there are video game adaptations of various franchises using Lego characters…  maybe KotOR III should be done in that style, appealing to two fan-bases at once?  And of course, Fallout: Lego Island practically writes itself… no, maybe that wouldn’t be a good idea.

This is awesome.  It’s like the sort of thing I would have wanted to do as a kid, except that I would have become frustrated and given up after one section.  But this fan, one Robert J. Hall, saw it through to the end.  There’s an article about him and a photo gallery of his project here.

Now, if only he could build a really good, life-size, moving #2 wide-receiver, we’d be all set this year.  He could use “Mindstorms” to program in the routes to run.  It’d be great.