The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

I genuinely enjoyed this film and will definitely buy it on DVD when it comes out. It was funny, heartwarming and had an incredibly well-crafted script that is suitable for children and adults. If you asked me during the first half of the movie my response would have been the opposite. I was kind of bored, the jokes were mainly from the trailer so were ones I’d heard before, and the songs were only okay. That songs gripe might not have been the film though, it is possible that the way the cinema set it up was the problem; the background noise and the music was louder than the lyrics so you couldn’t make them out clearly.

So yeah I was not a fan of the opening, it felt not quite as sharp as the first movie, and it sidelines a lot of the characters. Princess Unikitty for example was one of the highlights of the first movie and is not really in this one. The same goes for almost all of the characters from the first one with the exception of Emmet, Lucy, and Batman. This would be fine if the characters who replaced them were as good, and whilst there is nothing really wrong with them they just miss that spark.

One other issue is reality. In the first movie the fact that it was a kid playing with lego didn’t really matter until the very end of the movie. In this it goes throughout, which is both better and worse. It does mean that since you’re constantly aware that it’s kids playing with toys, your brain always thinks “ok, this is what’s happening in the film, now what’s REALLY happening?” so you can’t really get invested in it. The upside is how beautifully it ties into the ending. The final third of this film is amazing and WOULD NOT work without the reality subtext. It’s genuinely genius what it does, and what it means. Yeah this film is about kids playing with toys, but it’s about HOW they play with them. It’s the first film I’ve seen which kind of takes aim at the notion of everything having to be dark and gritty, that phase which every teenage male goes through where they feel everything they like has to be grown up. The idea that films they watch have to be dark and fully of guns. A concept which causes people to try so hard to appear to be mature that it comes off as juvenile. This film takes aim at that notion, and does so wonderfully. The way that reality bleeds into this film is a work of art and I commend it.

So yeah, go see this film, see it twice if you have to. It may not start great but it does achieve greatness when you stick with it. Has a few niggles, and there’s one live action moment which drags longer than it needs to. But it’s very funny with GREAT voice performances and is just as loveable as the first one

Why We Love…The Lego Batman Movie

To put it simply; it’s very very funny. In fact I’ll go as far as to say that even by the end of the year I’ll still consider it one of the funniest films of 2017. That’s kind of a weird thing to say really, I mean, if you had told me five years ago that one of the funniest films of 2017 will be The Lego Batman movie I’d have thought you were insane (I’d also wonder why you travelled back in time just to tell me about The Lego Batman movie instead of telling me something useful). I remember when The Lego Movie was first announced and everybody was cynical, saying it will be a stupid merchandise-driven film that will lack originality and wit. Then it was released, and all those fears were smashed into oblivion, it was funny, heartfelt, and had genuine warmth. Safe to say, expectations were high for The Lego Batman movie, and thankfully this matches, and exceeds them. From the opening narration:

“Black. All important movies start with a black screen. And music. Edgy, scary music that would make a parent or studio executive nervous. And logos. Really long and dramatic logos. DC. The house that Batman built. Yeah, what Superman? Come at me bro. I’m your kryptonite”

That sets up exactly what type of film you’re about to watch; a film that’s very silly, and gloriously so. It then gets sillier, there’s an odd faux-mance between Batman and the Joker which culminates in Joker teaming up with Voldemort, Sauron, Godzilla and King Kong.

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Yes, this film is silly, but it also has so more nods and winks than a flirtatious mute. If there’s a reference to previous Batman films to be made, this film will make it. You can tell that whilst the film-makers are making jokes about Batman and the mythos, they do have a genuine love for the character and his world, they’ve clearly done their research. References to not only previous films, but also very very obscure villains (who’d have thought that Condiment Man would finally make an appearance?).

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The story is really good too. There’s a tendency in comedy films to think the story isn’t important, this is very very wrong. Perfect example of this is Airplane, that film only works because of the story, yes the jokes are funny, but they’re funny within the context of a serious situation, the story itself isn’t comedic, but it has comedic situations in it. My rule of thumb for determining whether a comedy films story is good is this: would the plot also as a serious film? I think this one would work, it’s a story about a lonesome superhero dealing with his isolation whilst also maintaining a mutually destructive rivalry with the Joker (which is also one of the themes from the seminal piece The Killing Joke). 

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Now if only this could have been made with the same love

Since I saw it I’ve been trying to think how to sum it up in one sentence, and I think I’ve finally found it. The sentence which best describes everything about this film, so here it is: this film is basically Deadpool for children. And we all know how great Deadpool was.

How We Got Through…January 2017

Let’s face it, this year has not got off to a good start. Not even a month in and we’ve already lost John Hurt, our governments have been so devastated by that news that in tribute they’ve decided to turn the world into a fully interactive version of 1984 running 24/7  . In times of crisis we have two options; we can either 1) Help solve the problem. 2) Ignore the problem and lose ourselves in film, television, video games and music. Obviously we did number two. So here’s how we got through the first month of this year

Film

A Monster Calls

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This is not an easy film to watch on an emotional level, one of the few films I’ve seen lately that seeks to emotionally blackmail the watcher. Definitely the best looking film I’ve seen at the cinema this year (note: it’s the only film I’ve seen at the cinema this year). One of the few downsides is Sigourney Weaver’s English accent, which is slightly uneven throughout. Reminiscent of a mix between Pan’s Labyrinth and a Neil Gaiman book, can be best described as a modern day fairy tale. Bayona did a fantastic job of directing this, whilst the Liam Neeson tree is telling stories (it’s an odd film) the film switches visual styles so it almost becomes a living watercolour painting, it’s awe-inspiring and genuinely new, never seen anything that was done like this (the closest is when Hermione was telling the stories of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter and the style switched to a weird animated one). The only previous film I’ve seen of his was The Impossible, and that was in 2012 so can’t remember too much about it, but I can remember being really impressed with the way he directed certain moments in it and was really good at creating visual tension, which is a good sign for his next film; the Jurassic World sequel.

Tyrannosaur

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Whilst A Monster Calls is bleak, it cannot hold a candle to this. A film which begins with someone kicking a dog to death, gets progressively bleaker, and then culminates in the lead character decapitating a dog and sitting there with it’s head in his lap, with tales of domestic abuse and rape in the middle. If you know someone who is annoyingly optimistic and happy, show them this film, you will break them. Still a major disappointment that Olivia Colman didn’t win a BAFTA for this, didn’t even get nominated which is a shame as I truly believe she’s one of the best British Actresses around at the moment, nobody can wring emotion from a story like she can.

The Lego Movie

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This was mainly to recover from Tyrannosaur. Brought for £5 from Morrisons and I feel like I cheated them somehow by getting it so cheap. The film equivalent of a rainbow emanating from a bowl of skittles and raining sunshine and joy onto people below. One of the few films this year which has made me genuinely laugh out loud multiple times, which takes some doing as I’m a miserable bastard.

Books

Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

Slightly too anvilicious in it’s environmental message, but otherwise it’s fantastic literature. Brilliant characterisation as well, the series is basically about somebody becoming a hero over the course of 8 books, and he was very evil in the first book so it was a long journey. A tale of growing up, a tale of greed, and a tale of humanity. One of the the best children’s book series I’ve ever read, it’s basically Die Hard with fairies, if the lead character was Light from Death Note. A film adaptation directed by Kenneth Branagh is hopefully on the way, and he’s a director who I feel can really do it justice.

TV Shows

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

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I know, I go on about this all the time, but there’s a reason for that; because I love it so much. Funny, heartbreaking and with songs so catchy it’s almost suspicious.

Insert Name Here

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An odd panel show on BBC (previous episodes available on iPlayer) about people. Basically they answer questions about historical figures and celebrities who all share the same name. Each episode focuses on a different name, so, for example, the episode this week was based on Charlie, so you had the teams answer questions about famous people called Charlie. Hosted by Sue Perkins, with Josh Widdicombe and Richard Osman From Pointless (to give him his full name) as team captains. A show which I can’t imagine working on any other channel than the BBC, and which wouldn’t be made by any other country than this one. Very very funny, and you learn a lot too.

 

 

Music

Lonely Daze – Kate Tempest

Completely different from what I imagined Kate Tempest would sound like, but oh so good. A wonderful piece of lyrical storytelling that you can just put on and lose yourself to.

Stars – Nina Simone

I first heard it in Bojack Horseman, and it has stuck with me ever since. Beautifully emotional, like proper tears and angry shaking emotion. The kind of song you’d drink yourself to death to.

 

So that’s how we got through this month, what did you use?