[UPDATE – FEBRUARY 7: I’m almost finished with my review of The LEGO Movie. It’s taking awhile because when it comes to this movie… everything is awesome. In the meantime, let me send you to Christianity Today to an excellent review by Jackson Cuidon, and to The National Catholic Register for another excellent review by my good friend Steven Greydanus.)

It’s one of the toughest challenges that film critics face: Fulfilling our promises to refrain from posting our opinions about the movies we see in advance of opening day.

That’s especially difficult for me to do when a movie inspires intense feelings (positive or negative) or a surge of strong opinions. I just can’t wait to encourage people… or warn them.

I’ve just seen The LEGO Movie, and I’m not allowed to tell you what I think of it until opening day.

So let me instead encourage you to revisit a short list of movies you’ve already seen before you go watch the LEGOs this weekend.

Why? Because these movies will set your mind on questions and themes that may enhance your experience of The LEGO Movie. I’m not going to go into details about why. Instead, I’ll just give you titles, and a hint about what to consider.

1. The Truman Show – A man lives his life in a seemingly perfect world, where everything is in its right place, everything coordinated for his happiness. But then one day he begins to suspect that something is just a little too manipulated, a little too perfect.

2. Stranger Than Fiction – One day, a man begins to hear narration about his own activities. Is he a character in somebody’s story? Is there a Master Storyteller somewhere who is directing his life?

3. The South Park Movie – South Park has almost nothing in common with LEGOs. Well, wait… it is about little blocky people whose range of motion is extremely limited. It’s also a whole universe of characters with funny voices. And the big screen film was a huge surprise: a sensational musical, thoroughly entertaining, and thought-provoking  for adult audiences. Is it possible, then, that The LEGO Movie might be similarly surprising? Can a film about little factory-produced people have more on its mind than most live-action movies for grown-ups?

4. The Simpsons Movie – How can a movie based on an extremely popular pre-existing property satisfy its fan base when there are so many pieces of the big puzzle available for the show? Can anybody come up with a story that encompasses the vastness of this imaginary world that has grown over many years?

5. Toy Story 2 – What happens when toys meant for children become the property of business-minded adults with control issues?

6. The best Star Wars movie – Because… well, just trust me. It matters.

And anybody who spoils this film’s big surprises it for you is a Class “A” Jerk. Avoid reading reviews before you see it. Avoid even reading the names of the people who did voices for the LEGO characters.

I’ll post a review this weekend.


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