'It was very, very loud'
Believe it or not, the best-reviewed movie of 2014 so far is “The Lego Movie.” The Warner Bros. animated feature currently sits at a 98 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, an impressive feat given that franchises based on toy series—see “G.I. Joe,” “Transformers,” “Battleship” or “The Bratz Movie”—often fumble in the story department. (Read Variety’s glowing review by Peter Debruge here.)
Legos, which are owned by the family of its Denmark-based founder, is an estimated $5 billion business fueled by all those play sets, licenses with “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” Marvel and DC Comics, and theme parks. But what will its legions of block-building fans think of the movie when it opens on Feb. 7?
To find out, I took 12-year-old Lego champion Ivan Sanchez to an early screening. Ivan is a member of his 7th grade Lego Robotics league in Brooklyn, and he’s competed at the annual New York City tournament at the Javits Center. His mom, Delmy, who also joined us, is the team coach, and she estimates spending $2,000 on the toys last year. “Ivan builds swords and guns,” she explained. “I should have brought you some samples.”
Ivan, did you like the film?
It was an ok movie. It started off slow. It got better. It was very, very loud.
Can explain the plot?
Pretty much, there’s a person named Lord Business, who is evil and he has the power of super glue or crazy glue. He planned on gluing the Legos together.
Have you ever glued your Legos?
Ivan: Never in my life.
Ivan’s Mom: That is a big no-no.
Ivan: Usually, when they get stuck, it’s because we’ve left them together for too long.
Did you recognize the actors?
I did know Elizabeth Banks, because she did Effie from “The Hunger Games.”
Did you find it funny?
I didn’t get half the jokes. But overall, it was pretty good.
What did you think about the Legos romance?
Ivan: I didn’t really notice.
Ivan’s Mom: 12-year-olds don’t talk about romance.
Is the movie smart marketing?
Yeah, it was a good call on their part. They’re kind of telling people, you can buy this or this or this. I think “Star Wars” is probably the best-selling sets. I’ve noticed everybody has at least one of those. I did see the medieval set with the dragons in the movie.
Does watching the film make you want to shop for Legos?
Ivan: Yeah, I think I might buy a few sets.
Ivan’s Mom: Which one is it that you want? The “Star Trek” spaceship. That costs $800.
How many Legos do you have?
I don’t even know, you lose count.
Do you have a favorite piece?
To be honest, no. I like them all with equal respect.
What part of the film did you like the most?
I have to admit, the building parts. I also liked the part where they falling down the infinite loophole.
Should there be a sequel?
This seems like one of those movies that deserves to stay where it is. They’ll attempt it, probably. It might not be as good as this.
What age range is this movie appropriate for?
6 to 11.
But you’re 12.
I have a one-year restriction on that.
Would you tell your friends to see it?
Ivan’s grade for “The Lego Movie”: an A-minus. “It had a few things that were a little confusing. They could work on that.”