the lego movie twist

the lego movie twist

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The Lego Movie Twist

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YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsMovies Of the many unexpected moments in Phil Lord and Chris Miller's breakout hit "The Lego Movie," perhaps none is as surprising as the film's ending, which is daring even by the standards of this unconventional film.So daring, in fact, that even its filmmakers weren't sure they could get away with it."We were terrified," said Miller. "We didn't know if you would care about the universe once you understood how the universe worked," alluding to how the movie turns itself inside-out at the end.PHOTOS: Images from 'The Lego Movie'In a season in which the typically tricky art of the movie ending has largely satisfied — witness the well-regarded twist in "American Hustle," the Quaalude-enabled piece de resistance of "The Wolf of Wall Street" and the return-to-Earth redemption of "Gravity" — the finale of "Lego" may top them all.Warner Bros., which financed and released "The Lego Movie," was also unsure about the finale and for a time pushed the filmmakers to consider a more conventional path.




It had reason for hesitating.[Spoiler alert: The following passages contain details about the film's ending.]Just when audiences think they've seen it all — Abraham Lincoln exasperatedly leaving a convocation that includes the Green Lantern and Shaquille O'Neal will have that effect — the movie quite literally separates from itself, as hero Emmet (Chris Pratt) and the entire movie that preceded it is revealed to be the figment of a young (live-action) boy's fertile mind.All that's happened — the use of Krazy Glue as a weapon, the God-like power of Morgan Freeman's Vitruvius, a kitchen-sink ensemble that also includes Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — has happened because the boy, a basement-playing child named Finn, took the ordinary and turned it into the stuff of epic storytelling.BEST MOVIES OF 2013: Turan | He's inspired by the boy's stern father, referred to as the man upstairs in the animated section because he, of course, lives upstairs. At the film's end, the man (Will Ferrell) comes down to the basement and lets the boy have it for playing with his Lego kits, though the two eventually find common ground.




It would all be as if, at the end of "Gravity," Sandra Bullock turned to the camera and said she had imagined the whole space adventure and has been on Earth the entire time.Noting as inspiration the series finales of "St. Elsewhere" and "Newhart" (both '80's shows ended with the suggestion that all that came before was the product of someone's imagination), Lord and Miller said they believed that their ending played directly to the film's message."The kid is making connections that adults aren't making," Lord said. "He's making connections you can't make as you get older and your thinking gets more rigid. And we couldn't really set up that dichotomy without including the last scenes." He added, "It just seemed intrinsic to the concept."Audiences have certainly responded — they gave the movie an "A" CinemaScore and turned out in droves to see it again last weekend, ensuring that it won the box-office crown for the second weekend in a row. The film has collected a whopping $146 million in just 12 days of release.




PHOTOS: Memorable TV series finalesThe numbers may be validation for the filmmakers' approach to the ending but, during post-production, studio executives weren't convinced. They wondered if the surprise was too meta for kids and the twist too jarring for everyone else, according to a person close to the production who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue. But Lord and Miller held their ground, the person said, and the studio relented.The ending had an unusual beginning. Dan and Kevin Hageman, the project's initial writers and the men who sold the Lego company on the concept of film, also included a switch to live action at the end of their script. But their draft didn't include, as Kevin Hageman put it, an "epic meta twist." Instead, the story shifted to real-life people without suggesting that all that came before was in the mind of one of the characters. When Lord and Miller came on, they upped the ante and introduced the rug-pull."It's such a jarring twist, one of those things that can turn super-schmaltzy," Dan Hageman said.




"But it also is what the movie is about, this idea of childhood and adulthood, of fathers and sons, which is why I think it works."Shooting the ending required a very different use of the film's actors. Ferrell was already cast, playing the voice of the animated movie's antagonist Lord Business. Lord and Miller then found a child actor named Jadon Sand to play Finn; his wide-eyed innocence and dark-haired curls suggested a boy who might mentally create the adventures seen in the film. Ironically, Sand had worked previously as an unseen voice in animated films, including "Wreck-It Ralph" and "Frozen." Seizure Led to FloJo's DeathHis 104 scores make his caseRestaurant review: South Beverly GrillBrutal Murder by Teen-Age Girls Adds to Britons' ShockComaneci Confirms Suicide Attempt, Magazine SaysStill courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture The Lego Movie had so much going against it. First off, it’s a movie inspired by a system of interlocking plastic blocks. Second, it’s a branded entertainment—an ominous category if ever there was one, all but guaranteeing a clamorous action infomercial shoddily intercut with a formulaic “human” story.




I’m going to level with you: I went in hoping at best for something intermittently amusing, not too visually and sonically assaultive, and over soon. But Chris Miller and Philip Lord, the creators of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, along with the highly regarded but short-lived animated series Clone High, have gone and done it. They’ve made a clever, vividly imagined, consistently funny, eye-poppingly pretty and oddly profound movie … about Legos. Miller and Lord do not grovel before their corporate overlords, and at times even appear to be conveying the subversive message that, when it comes to Legos, less may be more (or at least that a random bucket of unsorted blocks may be preferable to a brand-new boxed set). The Lego cosmos as envisioned in this story is divided between two sets of principles. On the one side, there’s order, conformity, and stasis, as embodied by the perfection-obsessed, freedom-stifling President Business (voice of Will Ferrell).




On the other, there’s chaos, individuality, and change, represented by the rebel movement that’s attempting to find a mysterious lost object called the Piece of Resistance, which will stop President Business before he can unleash the Kragle, a weapon that threatens to freeze the dynamic Lego universe into a perfected but lifeless tableau. But the majority of the inhabitants of the eternally-in-construction city of Bricksburg live their lives blissfully unaware of this ideological divide: They’re interchangeable molded-plastic working stiffs, square pegs in square holes. Squarest of all is Emmet Brickowski (voice of Chris Pratt), a go-along-to-get-along construction worker who’s naively psyched to repeat the same dull day over and over again, building the same brick towers while obediently bopping to the same state-mandated No. 1 pop song (Tegan and Sara’s irresistible ode to vacuity “Everything Is Awesome”) and buying the same overpriced cups of takeout coffee. (A running gag about the ever-rising price of that commodity is one of the movie’s many jabs at consumer culture.)




When Emmet accidentally comes into possession of a strange item that seems to come from outside the Lego universe, resistance member Wyldstyle (a sort of Goth biker-chick minifig voiced by Elizabeth Banks) becomes convinced that the thoroughly unremarkable Emmet is the Special—a long-awaited figure of prophecy, who will be “the most important, most interesting, greatest person of all time.” Half against his will—though he is, understandably, bewitched by the tough and glamorous Wyldstyle—Emmet gets swept up in the rebels’ plan to disarm the Kragle and take down President Business’s reign of spontaneity-crushing terror. Joining Emmet and Wyldstyle on their mission are Vitruvius, a glowing-eyed wizard figure voiced by Morgan Freeman, whose dubious nuggets of wisdom and muttered expressions of annoyance are priceless sendups of the long Morgan Freeman-as-shaman voiceover tradition; the square-headed pink kitten Unikitty (voice of Alison Brie), whose bubbly optimism conceals a deep well of repressed rage;




a blustering pirate figure (voice of Nick Offerman); and a chipper ’80s-era spaceman slightly dinged from wear (voice of Charlie Day). When he can drag himself away from his Star Wars buddies, they’re also joined by Wyldstyle’s boyfriend, Batman (voice of Will Arnett), hilariously conceived as a post-Christopher-Nolan “bad boy” bent on impressing the world with his death-metal songwriting and brooding cool. But President Business—who, as the minifigs’ journey takes them through a sprawling Lego multiverse Emmet never knew existed, reveals himself as the even more diabolical Lord Business—has some fierce allies on his side, including the fearsome Bad Cop/Good Cop (voice of Liam Neeson), who enacts both sides of the familiar law enforcement dichotomy simply by rotating his head to alternate between scowling and happy expressions. All this precisely orchestrated silliness unfolds against the background—or sometimes, given the crisp-looking 3-D, in the foreground—of a lovingly imagined, insanely detailed, and kaleidoscopically colorful universe made up entirely of Lego pieces.




Nearly 4 million unique bricks were used in filming, and though the stop-motion animation is liberally augmented with computer effects (to a degree that it’s impossible to tell where one technique leaves off and another begins), there’s a chunky sense of real-world volume to the moving shapes and figures onscreen. There’s also a lot of Lego-based humor that you don’t have to be a 10-year-old collector to appreciate—gags, for example, about the inefficiency of those C-shaped claw hands, which can clutch only cylindrical foods like chicken legs or sausage links. The overall sensation (enhanced by Mark Mothersbaugh’s playful electronic score) is one of being whisked from one trippy Lego environment to the next—the trippiest of all being Unikitty’s homeland, a conflict-free pastel Shangri-La known, in what I’m going to wager will be the only Aristophanes reference in a toy-based movie this year, as “Cloud-Cuckoo Land.” The last 20 minutes or so of The Lego Movie contain a big conceptual twist, one that threatens at first to drag down the zippy kinetic energy of the film’s first hour.