"The Lego Movie"

 Was it Raphael that once said that "art is first and foremost visual"? Whatever the case is, many artists focus upon that which they find visually attractive, intriguing and interesting. As such, it shouldn't be the least bit surprising that beautiful women... the female body... sexually attractive women (or in the case of homosexual artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Caravaggio, etc... beautiful men... sexually attractive males bodies) are among the most painted subjects in the whole of art. Sexuality... Eros... the "erotic"... is one of the central themes of all art. If there is a difference in Modern art it is that artists have no longer needed to mask... or "perfume" the erotic/sexual content... to justify it by presenting it in the guise of a Biblical narrative (such as Adam and Eve or Bathsheba) or a Greco-Roman narrative such as Venus and Adonis, Danae, or Diana and Acteon.

All this and I'm about to talk to you about "The Lego Movie", which seems like a highly unlikely candidate to compare with Raphael's quote but it isn't. What directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street) have given us is in fact a visual feast, of course there's nothing erotic or sumptuous about the images presented but it is a great example of what a modern movie can bring with an imaginative vision and real artists at the helm. Lord and Miller have made a movie so loaded with visual pleasure that it will take 2, 3, 4 viewings to fully grasp every hidden upon hidden visual quirk. In fact the plot of the film gets set aside for the sheer visual pleasure of the movie. You can watch "The Lego Movie" on mute and still enjoy it tremendously, which is not to say the dialogue doesn't work, it does. The jokes have an edge and are bitingly written by Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman who both share a screenplay credit.

The plot on the other hand is secondary, you're not buying a ticket to "The Lego Movie" to get engrossed, you're going to the theatre to watch visual imagination unfurl in front of your very eyes. In fact if the damn thing weren't so visually arresting I wouldn't have even given a thought about writing this review. All this to say that yes, the glowing reviews this colorfully subversive film has been getting are all warranted. The artistic process here is very apparent and the work ethic clearly shown. What Lord and Miller's brick-blocked world of a film does is accurately and effectively recreate the creative space that is possible in animated movies, but really just movies in general. It's a landmark in animation that might just change the game and that's really saying something.
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