It’s once again been a busy time, so I haven’t stayed as up to date with this as I should have, so to save time and catch up, you’ll get two smaller reviews in this post, one for Spike Jones’s Her and another for The LEGO Movie! Enjoy!
In this unconventional love story, Spike Jones cleverly toys at the idea of how connected we all have become to technology, and the cost it takes on actual human interactions (the biggest sign of this being the job of the main character Theodore’s job, working at a website that writes letters for your loved ones that he makes up on his own, using some general info provided by the customer). If you go out to any restaurant or social gathering right now, you’ll probably find a majority of people on their smart phones, clicking or swiping away at the screens for one reason or another, even when they have another person right there in front of them (not to judge necessarily, because I’ve certainly done the same thing on occassion!). While we have Siri and similar features on our phones and computers right now, Spike Jones takes it to the next level, giving us an OS (Operating System) that is custom tailored to you, and that speaks like a regular person, and learns and grows like one too.
Here is where we are introduced to Samantha (played expertly by Scarlett Johansson), the OS and love interest of Theodore Twombly (also played masterfully by Joaquin Phoenix). While some may be a bit weirded out by this premise, I think this actually makes this one of the most genuine and real love stories I’ve seen. Theodore isn’t falling in love with someone because of any superficial features; all he has is a voice and an accompanying personality. He and Samantha laugh together, argue together, cry together, and even love together (which leads to one of the most awkward scenes in the movie with a “surrogate”). It’s sweet and beautiful in its own bizarre way.
The scenery is fantastic, set in the not to distant future that certainly looks a bit different but still feels very familiar. The fashion of the movie is definitely a bit odd, but somehow also feels right for the tone of the movie. The rest of the cast is also great in this movie: Amy Adams is always a delight and provides a great supporting role in the film; Rooney Mara does an incredibly job in her role, especially considering that most of her story is told through silent flashbacks; even Olivia Wilde in her brief cameo does a fine job. Overall, all the pieces come together nicely to give us an interesting look into what our future could be. Spike Jones puts his trademark spin on it, which I loved, but if you’re not a fan of his films than this one probably won’t change your mind.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 8/10
2) The LEGO Movie
This wonderfully nostalgic yet modern movie reminds us to embrace our inner child, imagination, and individuality. Set in one of many “realms” of the LEGO universe, this movie tells the story of an average guy name Emmet who does everything that he is told to do to fit in and be happy in society; he simply follows the instructions that are given to him and all other LEGO city citizens by President Business, who demands perfection and conformity by dividing all of the LEGO realms. Of course in such situations you will always find rebels, and we are treated to a delightful set of them here because of the extensive variety of LEGO: NBA players, Batman, wizards (including both Gandalf and Dumbledore), Michelangelo (the Renaissance Man and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle), pirates, and so much more! Together with Emmet they fight to restore unity to the realms of the LEGO universe.
The first thing you’ll notice is the incredible and wildly entertaining animation style. A combination of CG and stop-motion animation, seeing the set-pieces being built, destroyed, and rebuilt is fantastic, and is made even more fun when you see other LEGO characters building them! The 3D wasn’t overly impressive, but definitely made a bit of an impact on the film; let’s just say you won’t miss anything by seeing it without 3D. The voice acting cast is also terrific! Chris Pratt does a great job as the lead, and Will Ferrell is always amazing in this field! Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and so many other surprise guests also do a fantastic job! It’s also important to point out that is actually one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in awhile, for kids and adults! I definitely want to watch it again to catch some of the more subtle background jokes!
I don’t want to give away a fun little twist about the movie, but suffice to say when it comes, it will make the whole movie remind you of another classic family film! But basically, in the end, the movie reminds why I was such a LEGO fanatic in the first place, and my inner child was thoroughly satisfied by this film!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS: 9/10