Toy Story 2 (1999) vs. The Lego Movie (2014)

I have a back log of movies to review after yesterday and after watching such similar yet completely different movies I felt this would be the best way to explain my impressions. Toy Story 2 has already established characters with personalities and are all different and interesting. The Lego Movie has… more characters than I can count… some of them have personality, most of them don’t. In Toy Story 2, the jokes are wittier and not so in your face. You know that the movie is made for kids but it still attracts an adult audience. I might add that I also laughed during this movie and I liked the part when they where trying to cross the street under the cones. Good stuff.  The Lego Movie has the absolute worst “jokes” I have ever heard in my life. When Emmet sees Wyldstyle for the first time and he makes that terrible noise for like 15 seconds I wanted to punch him in the face… I almost turned off the movie at that point. Yelling spaceship over and over is NOT a joke. It is not funny, there is absolutely no reason to laugh at that. The jokes were so bad I felt insulted that anybody expected me to laugh. In TS2, the voice acting is top notch for pretty much everyone involved. Plus they had Newman be the bad guy… you can’t go wrong with Newman.  In the Lego Movie there were tons of good actors, and because it’s lego they had to legofy their voices to sound like kids sounding like adults. It was really annoying and honestly, with the whole premise of the movie, I don’t think it was even necessary. If we’re meant to be watching a kid playing with Legos, how was Lord Business already sounding like Will Ferrell? The real life dad wasn’t even in the movie at that point. The decision to do the voices like this was just wrong for a feature length movie. It would have worked in a short 5m clip on Youtube, but not here. In TS2 the script knows what it needs to say and what it needs to SHOW the audience. The dialogue is realistic and believable so it lets you get into the world where Toys are alive. In LM, the script narrates every thing the characters do and what everything looks like. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t have my instructions!” We get it, you like instructions… we got that from the first 10 minutes and it’s fully ingrained into our heads. How about just saying “I don’t know what to do” and not spoon feeding us everything. I feel like the director stopped the movie, turned to the audience and explained the whole scene to us in every damn line. Let the movie speak for itself!

Both these movies are originally made for kids, but the LM feels like it was written by a kid too. You can go ahead and argue that the LM is done this way because it was about a kid playing with Legos but there is no excuse for sloppy, repetitive writing. The writers did a TERRIBLE job of adapting this idea to film. I felt like I was watching somebody playing legos. The fun of lego is not watching OTHER people play, it’s playing yourself. Maybe I should have said this earlier, but I was a kid once and I did play with legos. I’d watch a VHS in the basement and play with the family box of legos. I would have my favourite little lego people, and build them houses and all that crap. I remember what it was like and was receptive to the idea. I even had this lego pizza delivery game which was pretty cool at the time. This movie did not make me feel nostalgic about my childhood at all. They missed a great opportunity here, especially with the success of the lego games. I guess I haven’t talked too much about Toy Story in this post, but that’s because it was a good movie. It had great animation, as expected, great music, story, characters, pacing. I don’t have too much to complain about it. I always remember TS2 specifically for the fact that I never got to watch it as a kid. I had Toy Story 1 on VHS but never the 2nd one and I always wanted to see it. The LM I will reluctantly give credit to its animation, but in 2014 I don’t know if I even should. Animation these days is spectacular and that should be the standard so it’s nothing to write home about anymore.

Toy Story 2 Verdict: 8/10

The Lego Movie Verdict: 5/10

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