The Lego Movie (2014)

After a really emotionally draining watch of Virunga and seeing as it was Chinese New Year’s Eve yesterday, I decided to put off my rentals of The Theory of Everything and Boyhood (and because the run times are incredibly long), I decided to pop in The Lego Movie.  Despite all the positive reviews, I’m still a little skeptical about it.  I tried watching it on the plane once and didn’t find it all that amazing, but then I was just cranky and tired on the last leg of the trip to Asia over the summer.

Either way, I figured its worth a watch.  I’ve heard some claim that this should have gotten a Best Animated Feature nomination for Oscars so I’m curious. Plus, it has a Best Original Song for “Everything is Awesome”. With a song title like that, how could I resist? 😉

THE LEGO MOVIE (2014)

the lego movie

Director: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Voice Cast: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Jonah Hill

Bricksburg is run by instructions.  Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker that follows the rules so much that he’s a nothing to everyone around him.  That’s until he discovers the Piece of Resistance that could overturn the Kragle, a deadly weapon owned by Lord Business (Will Ferrell), the villainous mayor who hopes to destroy the city of Bricksburg by gluing everyone to the ground. With the guidance of Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) as they claim him as the Special, they set off to  find the Masterbuilders and a way to hatch a plan that will put the Piece of Resistance in place and save the world.

lego movie

Thats the sequence for Everything is Awesome because thats how the movie starts.  The moment it started like that, I kind of felt like I was watching The Lorax (and I liked that one a lot!). Right from there, I’m already pretty impressed at the concept of making a movie out of Lego, which means that there’s A LOT of room for creativity and puns and all that good stuff.  Being rather skeptical with this, my expectations are a tad low but still, there was a part in the beginning that was a little meh for me.  It does pick up once we have the whole crew together to save the world.  I mean, its pretty genius once everything starts coming together. And c’mon, when you get the “The Man Above” (or whatever you call it) shows up, that was a surprise.  It pulled a really awesome ending for it.

the lego movie

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.  I’m going to admit that it was as engaging as I would’ve liked it to be.  I’ve seen better animations but it is a beautiful animation full of some pretty good dialogue and decent story plus its voiced by a ton of really talented people.  Excuse me, Morgan Freeman has THE BEST VOICE in the world.  And then the awesomeness of Liam Neeson’s unique voice was fantastic as well. It took me a little while to get on board with Chris Pratt and Emmett.  I guess, its the fact that his character wasn’t as charming as I’d like it to be but then its normal because it does reinforce how he’s really normal. You have to say though, I do love how he embraces the routine life with so much positivity in a completely not rebellious way. His character really did grow on me 🙂 I can’t remember when I really loved a role with Elizabeth Banks but her voice as Wyldstyle was pretty good as well.  Plus, I really liked the whole adding in a ton of Lego crew with a bunch of superheroes and I can’t help but love the Unikitty a lot.  Unicorns and kitty cats make me happy! 😉

the lego movie

With any animation, there is a simplicity when the target is all ages.  By the way, The Lego Movie is all the way great for the whole family.  There’s no mushy love scenes and its super colorful and joyful.  There’s objects you can relay to in life and playing around with that aspect.  Its time to talk about the villain, Lord Business who while he is evil in his thoughts, he definitely was kind of fun also.  It never actually gets really serious and that works for The Lego Movie.  Good job to Will Ferrell for his voice work.  He was great. Maybe he should do more animation, just saying.

lego movie

Overall, The Lego Movie may be a little overrated in my mind because of all that hype that came out when it was first released.  It does have beautiful animations, great voice cast and the story is fun and light suitable for all ages.  All those things work fine.  I just didn’t find it as engaging or fall for some of the humor as much but there are some fun puns and dialogues.  It is undeniable that I’m happy the song, Everything is Awesome got an Oscar nominated but its is a bucket of fun 🙂

Have you seen The Lego Movie? What are your thoughts? What did you like the best about this? 

The Hunger Games (2012)

Surprisingly, being the bookworm I am, I didn’t get to see The Hunger Games in theatres.  My boyfriend did however and thats why its taken us so long to actually watch it after I bought it in November, since he got addicted to the novels and wanted to finish it before we watched it.  The Hunger Games is possibly one of the most interesting reading experiences I’ve had.  It was very addictive, especially since it was in first person narration.  I’ll have to re-read those books though.   Sitting through this movie, I started getting glimpse of the novel but was missing details here and there.

hunger gamesDirector: Gary Ross

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Isabelle Fuhrman

In the now ruined North America, Panem is now what the nation is called, because of its past revolution, it is now separated into 12 Districts, each with their own specialty to contribute to the Capitol.  Every year, children are chosen randomly: a boy and a girl to join the Hunger Games from each of the districts, resulting into 24 tributes.  They are put into a designated area where they need to battle each other until there is one tribute remaining.  That tribute will win the games and be rewarded a lot of wealth and comfort for their future.  Some children will have their names in more times than others because in the poorer districts, like the one in District 12, where The Hunger Games start, children use this to trade in for more ration to help feed their families.  District 12, we see the morning of the tribute selection, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) meet to hunt outside of their boundaries (which is illegal) just before they need to prepare for the selections.

hunger games gale and katniss

This year, Katniss sister, Primrose is also in the run to be selected.  At the selection, Primrose “luckily” gets selected and to protect her sister, Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place.  Going with her is another boy who had saved her before, Peeta Mellark  (Josh Hutcherson).  As they get whisked away onto the train heading to the Capitol where the games are held, they meet their mentor, previous winner of District 12 and a man who drinks away his sorrows, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and their guardian of sorts, Effie (Elizabeth Banks).  In the Capitol, they need to be prepared to show off and prepare for the games.  In the parade, they end up meeting Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who is their costume stylist and also from afar, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who starts off the games.  After a while for preparation with all the other tributes on skills and impressing their possible sponsors, we are lead to where the games begin and as they say, “may the odds be ever in your favor”.

hunger games katniss

Hunger Games is possibly one of the most gripping movies I’ve seen in a very long time.  Because the Bluray I had seemed to be so quiet and the conversations were so quiet, I ended up moving closer to the TV in order to focus into the movie and not miss out.  That usually is a sign that its something that peaked my interest.  I can’t remember the last time that I did this.  The action, the quiet, the buildup was all very similar because I already had read the novel beforehand.  The fact that it could still capture my full attention and make me feel the tension that the story is definitely a sign that it was made extremely well.  I would have to say that it is one of the better novel adaptations that I’ve watched.

hunger games katniss peeta

One of the major contributions to the success of this movie has to go to its cast.  I have never seen Jennifer Lawrence before this flick. However, her interpretation of Katniss Everdeen was as perfect as it could be.  She portrayed the emotions right on and it made it even more real.  Her chemistry with her fellow co-actors whether it be Josh Hutcherson when expressing mixed emotions towards her companion and opponent in the games or Woody Harrelson as her mentor.  Her emotions carried us through the movie perfectly.  The outstanding cast can’t be forgotten in this as well.  The rest of the cast really pushed it up to a higher level as the cast itself with Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland just to name a few, are veterans in the business.  Even the younger actors, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (the little part he was in) did their roles very good.  Aside from that, the supporting role that impressed me the most was Lenny Kravitz who played Cinna.  He gave me the exact impression of the personality of the character that I read.

hunger games haymitch effie

The actors may be important but the director did a great job at shooting this film.  He managed to capture the environment and tension very well and matched it with the emotions that were all over the place.  The drama and the violence that came from the games itself and the whole process was shown perfectly.  What really helped was the interpretation of the Capitol itself because with the book, it was first person narration and now, they help us by seeing not only through the eyes of Katniss but elaborating what was originally in the novels.

For me to judge this movie as a standalone work is hard, I’ve already read the book and was really drawn into it.  I think this movie is a great adaptation and I look forward to the next movie, Catching Fire coming out this year.

Have you read the Hunger Games novels? Did you think it was a good adaptation or not?