Sunday, February 10, 2019

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part - Everything Is NOT Awesome!!!

When The LEGO Movie first dropped in 2014, the movie turned out to be surprisingly good in spite of its early previews. Though a sequel was inevitable, two spin-offs had been released in the interim in 2017, The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, the former of which I also enjoyed and the latter I skipped and turned out to not do too well with audiences. Upon the release of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, the box office returns opening day didn’t give me high hopes for the overall quality of it, however I did at least expect it to be an enjoyable film, if not closer to the original in entertainment value. Upon actually getting to see the movie, it unfortunately wasn’t that hard to see why it was failing.

After the end of the original movie, Emmet (Chris Pratt) makes a peace offering with the DUPLO aliens, however this offering ends up getting destroyed. Five years later, Bricksburg has become Apocalypseburg, where everyone tries to avoid building cool things lest they attract the attention of the DUPLO aliens. Emmet, who somehow manages to remain optimistic in the post-apocalypse, builds a house anyway. This attracts the attention of General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz), who destroys the house and takes away Wyldstyle, Unikitty, Benny, Batman and Metalbeard. Emmet then rebuilds the destroyed house so that it can fly and chases after General Mayhem, along the way trying to figure out to toughen up because of something Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) said.

The animation is still impressive as it was in the first LEGO Movie, evoking the feel of stop-motion as well as exploiting the potential play patterns of LEGO for all they’re worth. That said, much like The LEGO Batman Movie, a number of special effects that the original cleverly recreated in LEGO are instead rendered in particle effects, which seems to stray a bit from the whole point of the LEGO aesthetic, though I suspect this may have been done solely to save time on rendering. I was, however, impressed by the animation of the character Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi, as she constantly and seamlessly changes her appearance while still retaining the same color pool of LEGO bricks.

Aside from the voice acting, this is about the highest praise I can give the movie. To clarify, the story wasn’t too bad and it has some really good messages, however the execution was a little lackluster; out of a group of myself and three other family members, I was the only one who managed to successfully resist the temptation to fall asleep. The humor is well-paced and there are some chuckle-worthy moments, however compared to the first one, the humor was a bit more on-the-nose, as were a number of forced cameos and references, and overall it felt like the sequel was trying too hard in capturing lightning in a bottle a second time. The film also features an attempt at having its own “Everything Is Awesome!!!”, the appropriately named “Catchy Song”, as a plot point; while the song is, indeed, catchy, it didn’t stay in my head the same way “Everything Is Awesome!!!” did.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part isn’t a terrible movie, however you should not go into this expecting the same magic as the original. The animation is spectacular, especially concerning one of the more important characters, however the story was bogged down by a number of things that made it more boring than it should’ve been. If you do, however, still wish to see this film, you are free to do so, so long as you watch The LEGO Movie first. Also, some throwaway dialogue confirms The LEGO Batman Movie as canon, meaning we now know where The LEGO Ninjago Movie stands in the franchise.

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