CGB Review of The LEGO Movie (2014)

There’s no other way to begin this review except by saying…

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!¬† ūüėÄ

This is my review of The LEGO Movie!

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Emmet (Chris Pratt)¬†is just your average, ordinary…LEGO person or piece or whatever you call him.¬† Anyway, Emmet lives a pretty unremarkable life as a construction worker amidst a sea of yellow faces.¬† When a strange piece called “the piece of resistance” gets stuck on Emmet’s back, he is whisked away by oddball characters such as a pretty tough gal named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks)¬†and the prophet Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman)¬†on a mission to stop the evil Lord Business from freezing the entire LEGO world using the Kragle.

This plot is so ridiculous and nonsensical, which is why I love it so much!

The Hits
This movie is so gosh darn creative!  I was laughing so hard when I saw that the lava in the opening scene is made of red LEGOS!  I love how even the water is made of blue LEGOS.  The animation is truly something to behold.  Rich colors, smooth movements, excellent camerawork, the level of detail is astonishing and you can tell that a lot of thought and precision went into making everything just right.
For being a boring everyman…LEGO…being thingamajig, Emmet is a pretty endearing character.¬† They don’t make him clumsy or any other everyman (or everywoman) character trope, but they don’t give him special powers or any quality that would make him stand out.¬† He’s just¬†a bland, likable¬†guy with a kind heart (and a face of yellow)¬†who ends up truly being the hero that¬†the city needs.¬† Wyldstyle is pretty funny and with Vitruvius, you can tell that Morgan Freeman is trying so hard not to laugh with each line of dialogue he says.¬† Also Will Arnett’s Batman had me rolling on the floor laughing.¬† Batman¬†sure does¬†bruit a lot, doesn’t he?¬† I know that’s¬†one of his signature qualities, but seen in a satirical¬†form really does put perspective on it.
This is the kind of movie that should not have worked, but makes itself work with awesome results.¬† What makes this ridiculous concept work is its self-awareness.¬† The script knows that it is a laughable idea and, instead of trying to make itself more epic than it actually is, it embraces the nonsense and comedic possibilities. ¬†Self-important prophecies, the chosen one narrative and pop culture are satirized to great effect.¬†¬†The voice actors do a great job at taking things seriously when it is needed, but they aren’t like characters in a Christopher Nolan film where EVERY. SINGLE. LINE. OF. DIALOGUE is treated as the most important thing ever said.¬† The tongue-in-cheek quality is why this movie is so hilarious and¬†a real blast to watch!

The Misses
The action is so fast-paced that it is hard to see at times.  Viewers with sensitive eyes or who are prone to getting headaches from watching fast motion with neon colors might want to close their eyes during the action sequences.

Everything is awesome with the LEGO Movie!¬† This surprise hit from 2014 is a brilliantly animated gem that both kids and adults can enjoy.¬† Top-notch animation, an impressive cast, charming characters, and a clever use of satire and cheeky humor all culminates to the LEGO Movie being…just so darn…AWESOME!¬† ūüėÄ

Saint Isidore the Farmer, pray for us.

CGB Review of Zoolander (2001)

So when can I enroll my future children into the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good?

This is my review of Zoolander!

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Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller)¬†is a superstar in the world of male modeling.¬† However, after winning Male Model of the Year award three years in a row, he finds himself going downhill.¬† When he is bested by hot newcomer Hansel (Owen Wilson), Zoolander searches for new meaning in his life.¬† A second chance comes in the form of Mugatu, an eccentric fashion czar who offers Derek a shot at a comeback by making him the face of his new “Derelicte” clothing line.¬† However, it turns out that Mugatu has a far more sinister plan for Zoolander, which involves using him to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The Hits
The most important question when reviewing a comedy is this: “Is it funny?”¬† Even though this movie came out fifteen years ago, it had me on the floor, dying from laughter.¬† The premise is ridiculously hilarious with creative jokes, perfect timing¬†and¬†is easy to¬†get invested in all thanks to Ben Stiller’s whacky performance as the¬†moron with a heart of gold.¬† Derek Zoolander is a great example of how to write a lovable dimwit correctly.¬† He is dense but not annoying,¬†strangely innocent and na√Įve¬†without becoming childish,¬†and I like how the only thing he is good at is modeling.¬† If he was a failure in everything, then it would make him an incompetent protagonist.¬† I also appreciate how he has never been late for a show; his commitment to his craft is believable and makes him the best person to guide us through the bizarre narrative.
Will Ferrell’s Mugatu is an excellent comedic villain!¬†¬†A self-absorbed fashionista with an off-the-wall hairdo and bulging eyes, Mugatu serves as a foil to Derek¬†Zoolander; where Derek is a good-natured halfwit, Mugatu is a shady designer with guile.
I like Christine Taylor’s Matilda Jeffries as the film’s straightman/woman.¬† An outlandish story like this needs an Average Joe character to balance out the weirdness.¬† Matilda is professional without being standoffish, inquisitive without ever becoming intrusive; she is a great everywoman and a good friend to Zoolander.
The idea that male models were designed to be assassins is really funny.  When this bit of exposition is revealed to Derek and Matilda, I went into a laughing fit.  I love how it is explained in a way that makes the notion somewhat believable while still emphasizing how insane it is.

The Misses
Okay, can we talk about the whole “Derek can’t turn left” part of the story?¬†¬† I’ve watched this movie twice and both times, I saw Ben Stiller turning his head left to talk to other characters the entire time.¬†¬†Seriously, this is kind of a big continuity error.
I really like Mugatu and I kind of feel that we didn’t get to see enough of him.¬† I’m not saying that he needed to be in every scene, but we see him for a few minutes in the opening scene, then he’s in a handful of other scenes and then he kind of disappears for a while until the climax.¬† It would have been nice to have given the main villain a little more screen time.

Zoolander is an offbeat delight!¬† The characters are lovable, the tone is clear in its absurdity and the costumes and makeup are the best I’ve seen since last year’s Cinderella film.¬† I will definitely be watching this again and am looking forward to Zoolander 2!

Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.