I just watched two amazing movies. One was The Lego Movie (and the stupid song is now stuck in me head. ARRRGH!), and the other is The Rise of the Guardians. (FYI… this is sort of a follow-up to my former post about Chosen Ones…) Now, as different as these two movies seem at the first glance, they really both operate on the same premise. Both movies are about a newcomer joining The Team of Fame and Fate to save the world. In both movies, the protagonist (Emmet and Jack Frost, respectively) must find their place on the team and in their world. Both movies suffer from a bit of a Deus Ex Machina at the end (I will explain later.) Both movies are (marginally) more satisfying, in one way, than Kung Fu Panda, and for one reason only.
Because I felt that, even before the darkest hour and the subsequent rallying cry, the two protagonists brought something new–something special–a fresh perspective–to the team.
In Rise of the Guardians, the Guardians’ duty is to protect the innocence of the world’s children, to keep them safe, maintain their wonder, hopes, dreams–basically all-around protecting the hope of the future. However, the Guardians have, just a little, lost touch with their roots. They haven’t actually spent time with children in a very long time when the movie takes place–and on the other hand, Jack, who only wants to be acknowledged–to be seen–to be believed in–has been spending all his time around kids in the hopes that someone, some time, will believe in him. This same wish of Jack’s–to be believed in–later becomes a weakness exploited by the villain, yet at the same time it is a strength; it provides a path to the movie’s resolution.
Jack helps the Guardians to re-connect with their roots and re-connect with children. This later proves to be crucial in the movie’s climax (hey, no spoilers! :-P)
In The Lego Movie, Emmet is the prophesied Special, who, if you look at him, is actually not particularly that special at all. He must join up with the (way more awesome) Master Builders in order to fight for freedom. (Freedom Friday! But still on a Tuesday! 😛 Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)
Now, the Master Builders are each brilliant, and Wyldstyle’s skills (along with Emmet being a dork) are what originally facilitate their escape from the semi-villain Bad Cop. (Did I mention that Liam Neeson pulling off a Gollum-Smeagol act was probably one of the most awesome bits of the movie?) But each Master Builder is unique, to the point of disparity. They can’t work consistently together–and Emmet notices this early on, though he doesn’t try to say much about it. He just squeaks a little… 😛 Eventually, though, when the clashing attitudes and skills of their Master Builder team almost cause their death, Emmet pulls them together, which gets them most of the way to victory. (I’m not spoiling the ending for my darling readers–noooo way!)
Oh, and I should say, Emmet’s rise to AWESOMENESS is quite unlike any other originally-wimpy guy’s. While he is a good chunk of the comic relief all in himself, he isn’t as flat as some characters of the sort tend to be; he’s a sweet guy, just a little dorky. He’s very compassionate; he doesn’t really want recognition, per se–I think he just wants to help people and be a good friend. He doesn’t fantasize about having far more epicness than he does; he’s very humble, and I found that refreshing. Like Olaf, he’s an old stereotype breaking new ground. Also, the movie is funny–relics such as the Cloak of Band-AIIIIID, the cotton-swathed Scepter of Q-Teep, and the Polish Remover of Naiiil (if you don’t get the joke, I will hunt you down and kick chairs around your house!) make for great humor, as do some Bat-puns (bad puns? Get it!?), and other puns, such as Machine Gum, make the movie a treasure-trove for those who watch for the funny little things. Seriously, if you have not yet seen The Lego Movie, go check it out at your library and watch it tonight! Well, what are you waiting for?!
On the other hand, Kung Fu Panda, while a marvelous movie, doesn’t seem to have Po being proactive up until the Five are defeated and he is given the impetus to find his inner warrior. I must admit, Po being more than a funny, loveable punching bag at that point in the movie would have been slightly out of character, but still, it’s slightly disappointing next to Rise and Lego Movie.
So, what do we want? More Chosen Ones who bring more than just behind-kicking and world-saving! Specials who contribute to the team before they begin to be really cool! Protagonists who bring something a little more solid to the team than just vagaries of chosen-ness!!!
Oh, you wanted to hear about the double Deus Ex Machina in minor, didn’t you? Right. Well, this will involve SPOILERS, so read at your own risk!!!
SPOILER ALERT!At the end of Rise, we had no idea how our heroes were going to win against Pitch, despite having the children on their side. Though the few remaining believing children were keeping the Guardians from breaking down entirely, we didn’t know that the courage of the children could actually transform Pitch’s black Nightmare sand back into golden Dreamsand. And we certainly didn’t know that their actions could restore Sandy to life!
After the Kragle is disarmed in Lego Movie, how were the people who’d been Kragled released from their epoxy prison? Suddenly, Lord Business has the antidote (Glu-removing Mineral Spirits!), which I had no idea even existed at all before watching the movie. So, everything’s okay… but there’s a relic that’s not accounted for there! Though, I suppose it’s easy to explain away, given the dual-world (the world of Legos, and the world in which Legos are toys) of Lego Movie.
Thanks for reading, and God Bless!