The Daily Stream: The LEGO Movie Shows Us That Everything Is Awesome When You Make Time To Play

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(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching, why it’s worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie:The LEGO Movie

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: I preemptively apologize for getting the song “Everything is Awesome” in your head. It’s been almost a decade since “The LEGO Movie” came out, which is hard to believe. It has spawned a bunch of films to add to the LEGO brand parodying the entire world, both real and fictional. So many of us spent hours clicking together LEGO bricks as kids, playing Batman or house or My Little Pony or fairy tales or race cars … our imaginations were the only limit. (Well, other than your little sister chewing up all the flower petals and stealing the clear bricks so you couldn’t make windows. I’m still not over it.)

In “The LEGO Movie,” we enter a world made of LEGO, with happy mini-figs going about their routine. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do, the same thing every day. If this sounds like the beginning of “Free Guy,” that’s because they start in exactly the same place. Regular wake-up routine, check. Expensive coffee, check. Heading out to do what you did yesterday and will do again tomorrow without questioning the nature of your existence? Check. Our hero Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) is doing his thing, the same as yesterday and every day before that, in a happy fog, while the song “Everything is Awesome” plays. Then, he inadvertently discovers an item called the Kragle (the cap of Crazy Glue with some letters scraped off), setting him on an adventure that will change the LEGO world. 

Why It’s Essential Viewing

As it turns out, an evil businessman, Lord Business, (voice of Will Ferrell) is trying to glue all the LEGO bricks together permanently, killing creativity and imagination. Emmet is found by the minifig Wyldstyle (voice of Elizabeth Banks), who is certain that he is the “Special” of prophecy, the person who will use the Kragle to stop Lord Business. Seems like a pretty simple concept, but it’s a framework that holds up a commentary about keeping things the same and letting them stagnate, the power of creativity, and the importance of keeping childlike wonder alive, even as we grow up. 

If you’re like me, you spent a ton of time with LEGO sets, imagining worlds where Batman and a unicorn cat could live in the same place. The stuffed animals in the house were giants stomping their plush feet over a village of mini-figs, and worlds were not limited by which playset or fictional universe something belonged to. 

The film reminds us that this is always how children have played. Batman (voice of Will Arnett, who now hosts the delightful reality show “LEGO Masters“), who is dating Wyldstyle because, of course, he is, is in the same film with Lando Calrissian, Gandalf, Dumbledore (they’re not the same wizard after all, and different from the wizard Vitruvius, voiced by Morgan Freeman), Milhouse from “The Simpsons,” Wonder Woman, C-3PO, Unikitty (a combo of a cat and a unicorn voiced by Alison Brie) and so many more. 

Everything Is Awesome

There is an underlying reality to this LEGO world, and while I won’t spoil it here, it’s very much the embodiment of the theme. It’s a wonderful message, but that isn’t even the best part of this film. Like all LEGO ventures, it’s the ridiculous jokes. It’s the fact that everyone is very aware that they’re made of LEGO bricks, yet unaware that they’re toys. It’s Batman’s delightful grumpiness that spawned a separate film with the song “Untitled Self-Portrait.” It’s the frenetic speech patterns and non-sequiturs that are so indicative of playing with kids that make it wonderful. 

Oddly enough, it was playing LEGO with my nephew recently that reminded me of how much I love this film. We were putting together a Star Wars LEGO set when he decided to bring in a card from the Exploding Kittens game. For a moment, I had the thoughts of a Star Wars purist in my head. These things don’t match at all. Then I realized that I was sort of the evil Businessman for a moment and just went with it. 

With everything going on in the world right now, it’s very easy to forget about joy and creativity while trying to live our lives. Creativity is often the first casualty of stress, but it’s also the thing that might help us solve our problems. Even if all it does is give us a break from reality, it’s important to remember that just because things are a certain way doesn’t mean we can’t change them or come up with something new. The world doesn’t have to be “a highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system.” It can just be fun sometimes.

Read this next: 10 Times South Park Was Ahead Of The Curve

The post The Daily Stream: The LEGO Movie Shows Us That Everything is Awesome When You Make Time to Play appeared first on /Film.

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