They had me at "1980 something space guy"
June 19, 2013 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Today saw the release of the first trailer for The LEGO Movie, and there are some interesting things to note about it.

First, it should be mentioned that this is not the first LEGO feature length film. Earlier this year saw the release of a Batman direct-to-video movie and in 2010 there was a new character driven movie called The Adventures of Clutch Powers. Both were completely CGI and looked it, complete with minifig limbs bending as if made of rubber and everything looking very polished.

And though there is surely a lot of CGI invloved in this new feature, it seems they have gone with a stop motion appearance that hearkens to all the short films on YouTube made by fans. The movement is slightly jerky and the lighting is more natural. It brings to mind Curse of the Were-rabbit where Nick Park had the animators who did the CGI portions make sure to include random "fingerprints" on the characters and elements that were CGI.

Adding to the homemade "kids at play" feel is the inclusion of characters from many of the different LEGO series over the years (including the licensed ones) appearing side by side. So, yes, we will get Superman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the 2002 NBA All Stars all fighting evil together.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (79 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I watched this trailer and was completely captivated by the faux-stop-mo effect. It really adds a degree of personality and warmth that is usually missing from computer animation, and I hope other filmmakers take cues from this and add more "imperfection" to the genre across the board.

Aside from that, though, this movie is a giant commercial.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:39 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


My kids are going to completely freak out. We're already up to our arses in Ninjago stuff, but a whole movie set entirely in Lego?

Lord love a duck, it's going to be insane.
posted by jquinby at 9:40 AM on June 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


There have been several Bionicle films which are Lego, although not the orthodox lego most people are familiar with.
posted by GuyZero at 9:41 AM on June 19, 2013


Oh my goodness, I am excited about this!

Aside from that, though, this movie is a giant commercial.

That is cool with me as I very much enjoy purchasing this product
posted by Greg Nog at 9:44 AM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have no interest in purchasing Legos anymore (although check back with me when I have kids and I will probably give a different answer) but this still looks fantastic.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:46 AM on June 19, 2013


1980s something spaceman guy is complete with a helmet that's broken the same way they always broke! Nice touch.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 9:49 AM on June 19, 2013 [24 favorites]


See also the Art of The Brick, currently exhibiting in NYC times sq.

Pricey ($20!) but looks impressive.
posted by lalochezia at 9:49 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It stars the vocal talents of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman and Alison Brie, with Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman.

And I was all prepared to "meh" this.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:50 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aside from that, though, this movie is a giant commercial.

So are LEGOs these days, for the most part.
posted by Noms_Tiem at 9:51 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Somebody tossed a shark at him! This is awesome.
posted by BeeDo at 9:53 AM on June 19, 2013


Is this really a real thing? I have trouble telling the difference between fake internet trailers and real Hollywood trailers sometimes.

... checking ... well, if it isn't they fooled IMDB too.
posted by pmb at 9:54 AM on June 19, 2013


Maybe a little too wink wink but the visuals are real nice!
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:57 AM on June 19, 2013


Yeah, this looks surprisingly good. Nice animation, nice sense of humor. Although, as a fan of the video games, I may be predisposed.
posted by brundlefly at 9:58 AM on June 19, 2013


Aside from that, though, this movie is a giant commercial.

Putting aside the fact that most movies (by ticket sales) these days are giant commercials for stuff anyway, the entire movie industry has been a giant commercial for popcorn and soda pop for most of its existence.
posted by Etrigan at 10:03 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I had a hard time following some of the action. I don't think the director did a very good job of blocking the scenes.






GET IT!!!???!?!
posted by Mister_A at 10:07 AM on June 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Also, I noticed Liam Neeson, who was excellent in Krull and Battleship, is in this.
posted by Mister_A at 10:08 AM on June 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, as the parent of small boys, I have been subjected to The Adventures of Clutch Powers so many times that I can quote liberally from it, and it is hilariously obvious in its commercialitude -- virtually every non-licensed Lego genre is shoehorned in to the plot ("Welcome to Lego City, Clutch -- your mission is to go to a space prison and catch a wizard. But first, we need you to fight rock creatures for no particular reason."). The only thing that saves me from total insanity when I have to watch it again is the knowledge that "clutch power" is the Lego term for how well blocks stack together, so I can at least take solace in some actual clever wordplay.
posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I haven't shown my kids yet. I'm going to try and keep it a secret until the movie is about to come out. Also - 80s space guy! I remember him! OMG I need to go back to my Dad's house and find all my old lego...
posted by Joh at 10:09 AM on June 19, 2013


Ahem, as is customary I must point out that there is no such thing as "Legos", Noms_Tiem and Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish.

There is "Lego" the brand and "Lego Bricks". But no Legos.

The movie, when it comes, will presumably back me up on this point.

Ok, carry on.
posted by memebake at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fine, Lego, whatever - bring your Lego stuff into the pool and what do you get? WET LEGO, that's what you get.

CAPSELA 2014.
posted by mintcake! at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I love how "1980 something space guy" has a cracked helmet and his badge is rubbing away. That how most of my space guys looked.

I'm pretty sure the blue space minifig was introduced in 1984
posted by memebake at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Start you shipping engines.

1980s Space Guy/Batman OTP
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:18 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice use of "Take On Me" in the trailer, harking back to both 80's and awkward animation...
posted by The otter lady at 10:18 AM on June 19, 2013


gimme gimme legos!
posted by Mister_A at 10:19 AM on June 19, 2013


*adds Mister_A to list*
posted by memebake at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2013


Yeah, everything about this actually looks really well done. You win, Hollywood/Denmark.
posted by mintcake! at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2013


The attention to detail is pretty amazing. The minifigures actually move like they do in stop-motion animation and for the most part all of the movement is limited to match the actual Lego design. The Michelangelo going into his shell was just perfect, but like apparently everyone else, I was sold just on the 1980-something space guy's helmet.

Also, for a second I thought the bad guy's name was Lord Business Plans, which would have made it even better.
posted by ckape at 10:23 AM on June 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Aside from that, though, this movie is a giant commercial.

As opposed to what, the Google interns movie?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:47 AM on June 19, 2013


For a giant commercial, they sure seem to be highlighting a lot of minifigures and sets that they no longer sell.
posted by ckape at 10:48 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


They're also plugging lesser known hyphenated entities like the Bat-Man, the Wonder-Woman, etc.
posted by Mister_A at 10:52 AM on June 19, 2013


1980 something space guy's broken helmet: perfect

1980 something space guy's painted emblem on his chest wearing off like they Always, INEXPLICABLY FUCKING DID!?!?!?! : sold
posted by ish__ at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


For a big budget movie, I'm kind of surprised they didn't ratchet the stop motion up to 24 fps to make it more lifelike. In fact, I would complain that pretty much all motion pictures have been treading in marginal fps speeds for decades. Things always look slightly choppy in the theaters. Forget 3D, let's push frame rates up to 30 or higher.
posted by crapmatic at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2013


That is cool with me as I very much enjoy purchasing this product
posted by Greg Nog


I kinda want to fly to NYC right now and play Legos all afternoon with Greg Nog.
posted by ColdChef at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kinda want to fly to NYC right now and play Legos all afternoon with Greg Nog.

I can't remember the last time I was so sad about not being able to do something. Also, if that turns into a NYC meetup I will finally have to throw up my hands and admit that NYC is totally awesome.
posted by Stunt at 11:18 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can join me and my son any typical afternoon.

Beware though - my son likes to make conjoined twin minifigs or put their heads on walls.

Then again, I made a centaur out of a minifig and some extra legs.
posted by plinth at 11:19 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


minifig limbs bending as if made of rubber

The minifigs in the various Lego Star Wars (etc) games are bendy also; probably it's much easier to animate them that way. But it always was a reminder that the game you're playing isn't quite Lego. The pseudo-stop-motion here is much more evocative.

Also, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is an surprisingly good -- and sometimes alarmingly surreal -- movie.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:20 AM on June 19, 2013


Legos Legos Legos!
posted by Fleebnork at 11:39 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I can wait til 2014. Maybe if we all held our breath until we turned blue they'd speed up the production?
posted by soundguy99 at 11:45 AM on June 19, 2013


For a big budget movie, I'm kind of surprised they didn't ratchet the stop motion up to 24 fps to make it more lifelike.

Nooo, you don't understand. If you pause the trailer and look at the details, they have spent an incredible amount of effort to make this look like stop-motion-animated lego. If you look at Emmetts hair, there is a very tiny seam down the middle of it (which is what you get on real lego which in injection-moulded). The lighting is very realistic so that everything looks like plastic. If they speeded up the frame rate the effect would be lost.

*also adds fleebnork to the list*
posted by memebake at 11:48 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


People who can play legos at my house:

Not memebake.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


my house

They... they should have sent a poet.
posted by Etrigan at 11:59 AM on June 19, 2013


YES! ::blissful sigh:: Eagerly looking forward to this.
posted by Faintdreams at 11:59 AM on June 19, 2013


Well... I saw Chris Pratt, which means my wife will make me see it anyway. So I guess I may as well .. OH MY GOD THIS IS THE GREATEST TRAILER EVER
posted by DigDoug at 12:11 PM on June 19, 2013


There is "Lego" the brand and "Lego Bricks". But no Legos.
The movie, when it comes, will presumably back me up on this point.


Lego owns the trademark legally, but in actuality all words are community owned, and will be used as they want, and the law is no issue. (If you misuse "begging the question," though, I will cut you.)
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on June 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I introduced my girls to Lego this year (8 and 6). I bought them one of those "Lego for girls" kits that was basically all pink and domestic. Let them play with it for a while. Then, when it got a little boring, I bought them some supplement kits. I think I got a fire engine and an ambulance. That held their attention for a while. And then I waited...waited...waited...

Until the day my oldest daughter came to me and said, "Uh, could we get some more Legos?" And then I brought out the gigantic denim sack with all my Legos in it from when I was a child. They went ballistic! For the first hour, they just ran their hands through the bricks over and over and picked out strange ones (A computer! A spaceship wing! Some sort of horse!).

It was like introducing a child to sugar by giving them a couple of peppermints and then suddenly throwing them into a kiddie pool full of chocolate pudding.
posted by ColdChef at 12:16 PM on June 19, 2013 [49 favorites]


Forget 3D, let's push frame rates up to 30 or higher.

Ugh, no, no no no. Do you like watching 1972 soap operas? No smeary movies, thanks. I was at a friend's where Buster Keaton's "The General" was playing, and I couldn't bear to look at it because the TV had that frame interpolation thing turned on.
posted by scrowdid at 12:25 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gaaaah. My four-year-old has been convinced by the CGI animation versions that LEGO minifies have way-bendy legs. The number of one-legged figs now vastly outnumbers the two-legged figs he owns (you can almost hear him think, "this one for sure", just before you definitely hear the 'snap').

2014? Might be long enough to convince him otherwise, but doubtful.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:29 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was raised on LEGO, I had a under-bed drawers and plastic tubs full of LEGO, I bankrupted my parents in the 80s because of several sets of LEGO castles: I love LEGO. But even after several painful attempts at playing LEGO Star Wars, I have completely failed to understand why anyone would ever want to watch LEGO.
posted by steef at 12:53 PM on June 19, 2013


So this time it's not Ralph who is the hero but Felix?
posted by KMB at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2013


It was like introducing a child to sugar by giving them a couple of peppermints and then suddenly throwing them into a kiddie pool full of chocolate pudding.

I like the cut of your jib, sir.

We should ride bikes.
posted by plinth at 1:09 PM on June 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


As per the themes of Lego sets, I assume they will also be making a movie for "girls", in which the heroine has a bad hair day, but has a great time shopping anyway?
posted by Brocktoon at 1:36 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


80s LEGO Spaceman, you are the Sean Connery of LEGO figures to me and will always be my one true minifig.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:55 PM on June 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have completely failed to understand why anyone would ever want to watch LEGO.

I think what makes me excited about this is that, from the trailer, it looks almost exactly like my experience of playing with legos as a child. Oh, here's normal guy who's working at the gas station and then OH MY GOSH ALIEN ATTACK

"WE WILL DESTROY YOU"
"NOT IF I HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT"
(grabs Batman action figure)
"I'M HERE TO HELP"
"I KNEW I COULD COUNT ON YOU, BATMAN"
(pushes blanket toward figures)
"BUT HOW WILL YOU DEAL WITH... THE TIDAL WAVE"
(holds up old man figure)
"OH NO, ALL IS LOST"
(puts gas station man in little rocket car)
"DONT COUNT ME OUT JUST YET, POPS"
(makes laser noises)
"BUT YOU HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN... uh... OUR MOTHERSHIP WEAPON"
(spends two, three hours building a Mothership)
posted by Greg Nog at 2:28 PM on June 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


80s Lego Spaceman (also not a commercial, no relation to seller, etc.)
posted by argggh at 3:07 PM on June 19, 2013


I think what makes me excited about this is that, from the trailer, it looks almost exactly like my experience of playing with legos as a child.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:10 PM on June 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


1980s space guy is the Citizen Kane of minifigs.
posted by brundlefly at 3:12 PM on June 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I have one of those classic space t-shirts which people rarely recognize. I assume I'm going to get a lot more people recognizing it in the coming year, similar to how nobody recognized my Encom t-shirt when I bought that well before Tron Legacy came out.
posted by ckape at 3:15 PM on June 19, 2013


Wait, is this CG? Because it really does look like stop motion animation. I can't imagine they would do that but, it looks authentic. Those really do look like real Lego.
posted by chemoboy at 3:34 PM on June 19, 2013


I'll just re-post what I wrote on Facebook:

Holy cow. The synposis:

"Emmet, an ordinary guy, is mistaken as being the one who can save the universe. With the aid of an old mystic, a tough female and Batman, Emmet will fight to defeat the evil tyrant bent on destroying the universe by gluing it together."

GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

Also, the cast! Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Allison Brie, and Nick Offerman? Just take my money already.
posted by synecdoche at 3:58 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


This trailer made me so happy, but I wish it was stop-motion and directed by my little brother.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:45 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh holy hell, Lord & Miller are the Clone High guys...this has a shot at being really, really special.
posted by mintcake! at 5:03 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not quite sure how I'm going to see this at the cinema in the necessary mental state, while still responsibly in charge of two extremely excited boys.
posted by wilful at 6:09 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, before anyone looks, there is NO MICHELANGELO (the artist, not the turtle) mini-fig on sale anywhere.

THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MR. GOLD TO ME NOW!
posted by FJT at 6:30 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This may be the loudest movie audience in history. Evahbody gon be screaming with joy.


(extra points for the falling to pieces reaction. I just cant believe how good this is going to be, regardless.)
posted by djrock3k at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2013


It's a movie version of all those Lego video games and that is not a bad thing at all.
posted by JHarris at 6:47 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For a giant commercial, they sure seem to be highlighting a lot of minifigures and sets that they no longer sell.

I assure you that they will sell them by then. They probably realized this is a great way to revive old sets. Blue Spaceman will ride again. Just like all the Toy Story toys showed up after the movie. Lego realized that they could turn their own products into a movie, instead of being entirely dependent on licensing. Now they can do both.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Noms_Tiem: "So are LEGOs these days, for the most part."

I think you have it the wrong way round. Star Wars and Batman have prompted my son to ask for Lego. Lego has never prompted him to ask for Star Wars or Batman stuff. Lego is the product, the licensed franchises it uses are the ads.

Brocktoon: "As per the themes of Lego sets, I assume they will also be making a movie for "girls", in which the heroine has a bad hair day, but has a great time shopping anyway?"

It's not all bad. My son and I are pretty taken by Olivia's Invention Workshop. Emma's Karate Class isn't bad either.
posted by Bugbread at 9:42 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


With the aid of an old mystic, a tough female and Batman, Emmet will fight to defeat the evil tyrant bent on destroying the universe by gluing it together.

That's a great villain motivation, and totally unique! He doesn't want to blow up the universe: he wants to make it so that it can't be blown up (and rebuilt again). And in the Lego world, that's evil.
posted by painquale at 9:48 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think I was about 11 when I arrived at Mom's house for summer vacation to find that she'd stolen all my Legos and used them to make a model of a medieval theatrical pageant wagon, kind of like this one. (She was working on a dissertation at the time and needed a model to show the artist who was doing the illustrations of the wagon for her.)

I got even later, when I went off to college and took all her Beatles albums with me. About two weeks into the semester the phone in our room rang. I answered it and Mom greeted me with "You little bitch, bring back my Beatles albums! I mean, hello, I love you, bring back my Beatles albums!"
posted by Lexica at 9:49 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MR. GOLD TO ME NOW!

I bet Mr. Gold makes an appearance! Maybe he's the villain.
posted by painquale at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2013


ColdChef, I used to have a giant denim bag full of Lego. Then when I was in college, my dad sold it for $20 at a yard sale. All I had left was one lonely yellow 1980's space guy and several mismatched spaceship parts.

Fast forward to last fall, when my son was 3.5. He was into Duplo, and I surprised him by pulling out a few small Lego sets I had purchased over the last 15 years, because I was amused that suddenly they had facial expressions! And Star Wars branding! He was so excited that I started buying him his own sets, and gave him all the ones I had (well, I haven't given him the Star Wars ones yet, waiting until he is a little older to hand those over - for now they are still safely in storage).

But those mismatched bits. They made me sad. I discovered BrickLink and started buying parts to fill in the gaps. Then I started adding other parts i knew were fun to fill the minimum order. During the process, I began chatting with the woman I was buying from, and told her the story of my Lego loss.

When the last shipment arrived, it had everything I ordered - plus two extras. One red 1980's Space Guy (which she sent so my yellow Space Guy would not be lonely) and a classic City policeman on a motorcycle (because I had mentioned my son was really into the City vehicles).

She made my day. She made my son's day. And she gained the kind of customer loyalty most businesses only dream about.

Moral of the story: if your kid has a giant bag of Lego, save it for him/her, until he/she is old enough to decide for him/herself whether to get rid of it. They never really get old, and you never really get too old to help a kid build something.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:10 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Blue Spaceman will ride again.

I hope that, as part of the film marketing, they do make a set with Blue Spaceman. And I hope he comes with broken helmet and worn off logo, because that would be hilarious.

Unsurprisingly, I'm all over this, not because it's Lego but because it looks absolutely charming.
posted by Legomancer at 5:40 AM on June 20, 2013


I used to have a giant denim bag full of Lego.

Back in the mid 80s, I wanted the Lego branded drawstring denim bag. But we couldn't find one. So my stepdad made me a similar nylon bag, roughly 3 feet across. I still have it, and will pass it on to my son. Come to think of it, it will be excellent for Duplo.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:48 AM on June 20, 2013


I dunno. Is this any better than all the (mentioned) LEGO game parodies on YouTube?

Wait, is this CG? Because it really does look like stop motion animation. I can't imagine they would do that but, it looks authentic.

You gotta be kidding.

while I am glad to see one of the greatest pop synthesizer solos of all timeshine again, I am a bit disappointed it's fucking Pitbull. "I only came for the thrilling chorus!" - I suppose the karaoke version is actually better.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:36 AM on June 20, 2013


Also, I was gonna post this fpp a few weeks ago, but never got to it and there are too many lego posts now anyway:

"The number of happy faces on LEGO toy mini-figures is decreasing and the number of angry faces is increasing, a University of Canterbury robot expert says."

Agents With Faces - What Can We Learn From LEGO Minifigures? (PDF)
posted by mrgrimm at 8:38 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few years back, LEGO was selling vintage minifigure sets, so I got one that included a classic space guy AND THE HELMET WAS WRONG. It just had a modern visor helmet just without the visor on. I was so disappointed.
posted by ckape at 8:43 AM on June 20, 2013


Yeah the 80s helmet mold was discontinued long ago.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:35 PM on June 20, 2013


I wonder if you can take the movie apart and rearrange it into different films.
posted by Mick at 12:53 PM on June 20, 2013


Some slightly different scenes here and there in the international version of the trailer
posted by memebake at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2013


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