Premise: A young man in the Lego universe learns that an evil villain plans to glue all of Legoland together, thus stripping future Lego generations of the ability to create stuff. About: These writers worked in TV for a good 8 years before getting their first big feature break, which was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. When I watch the trailer, it looks like one of those “everything and the kitchen sink” trailers.
Still, I got to thinking and realized we don’t cover the family film genre here on Scriptshadow much, and because it’s such a huge piece of the Hollywood meal plan (read – studios pay lots of money for people to write these things), it wouldn’t be a bad idea to dissect how they’re written. As Emmet tries to come to terms with all this, his mother is kidnapped by the evil overseer of Legoland, Black Falcon!
What they find out is that Black Falcon is planning on using the “Kragle” (which turns out to be short for “Krazy Glue”) to permanently GLUE all of Legoland together forever!
Whereas Toy Story is a meticulously crafted screenplay that marries character, story and theme seamlessly in every minute of its running time, The Lego Movie feels more like one giant ride of cute. Halfway through the read, Miss SS turned to me and said, “Isn’t… that movie supposed to be funny?” “Huh?” I asked. I think with these really big family tentpole scripts, you’re basically trying to write the best Screenplay 101 script you can.
As far as how to write these specific TYPES of films, you’re always looking for your hook, then exploiting that hook as much as possible. I enjoyed the Canary in a Coal Mine script quite a bit – a lot of clever and creative choices with the setting, story, and characters. I still think Carson should have a contest for family scripts- probably the most profitable segment of the market. I have neither seen the movie or read the script, but isn’t it possible that all the early gushing over this movie comes from all the blatant geek bait? They’ve been making Lego videogames and movies in this same vein, with the same humor, for years. You mean like the cutting-edge Matrix gag that had been done multiple time before Shrek did it? This film will take over the #1 spot at the box office this weekend, driven by family tickets.
And you completely gloss over the fact that Morgan Freeman’s heroic character is black. That being said, I think this one will appeal to a broad range of people and do well, justifying the RT score.
We have precious little time on this great spinning cross-promotional marketing opportunity called Earth, and I have chosen to spend a good portion of that time watching movies.
I’ve got 900+ movies waiting for me on my Netflix queue, and the only one I want to see less than Lego is The Stan Brakhage Anthology Volume 2 (Volume 1 was plenty). I find that, beyond making sure their screenplay is written soundly, movies like this have nothing to do with the story. It’s funny to see so many people on here bash it but I bet would give their right (or left) arm to fucking write the thing.
I think most people feel like they’re just not going to be one of the ones contributing to the corporate monster.
If this is the reality of the business, we should enjoy movies like this that actually succeed at being real movies. Adult screenwriters looking to break in, judging a movie made specifically for children under the age of 13, which is based on one of the most profitable toys in the history of the planet?
Welcome to popular artistic forms being mirrored to sell product in a free-market capitalistic society. Personal note: I still have my legos and look forward to sharing them with my children when they are of appropriate age. I’m just sad because my now heightened interest in LEGOs was crushed when I went to the store and found how damn expensive they are.
I know for a fact that many people who make actual commercials have that same level of creative investment.

Regardless of the sincerity of the filmmakers, the studio is still making a calculated decision to develop a franchise-able film based on pre-existing intellectual property with a built-in audience factor and infinite cross-promotional opportunities. The filmmakers know that this is the case, and are very probably committed to making the best product possible within those confines, if for no other reason than that it’s a good career move to make a good movie. And if at the end of it all it means we get a new Coen Bros film (or whatever) and a Masters of the Universe (or whatever) movie that is told skillfully all at the same time, I can’t really call that a bad day. Go to the mirror and look at yourself and ask just how much this internet board means to you.
Can I just be the first to say that Grendl’s cynicism about this movie has me ROFL-ing harder than a laughing hyena?
Even though I liked Lego’s as a kid and played for many an hour with them, Does the world really need a Lego movie? There’s Celtex which is an amazing, powerful screenwriting tool which happens to be free.
LEGO fan, going by username autorazr has recreated a remarkable series of Marvel superhero minifigs. Mixing and matching components from existing minifigs, his collection of more than 100 superheroes include various old and new characters from the Marvel series in their different outfits. Short URLs redirect to a specified link while rendering a GIF preview on Facebook and Twitter.
I guess that makes sense because it’s the Lego universe and the Lego universe encompasses… well, all of pop culture (I’m sure there’s a Kim Kardashian lego figure available somewhere – probably in Japan), but it looks like sensory overload to me. Not only that, but after reading the Lego script, I learned something HUGE about how to pitch assignments.
And his ex-girlfriend, Lucy, who now happens to be a superhero, drops in and tells him that they have to get her back. So Emmet and Lucy get a pirate named Neckbeard (who’s just a lego head – and Lucy’s current boyfriend), Batman (of course), a space lego man named “Benny the Spaceman,” and a half-retarded lego-creature named Duplo.
This is straight down the middle, 3-Act, unabashed Hero’s Journey stuff from start to finish. Seeing things leap in the air, then be turned into something else – that’s cool the first couple of times. Now I have no idea IF this is how the writers got the job, but remember, when you’re a writer, you’re basically rushing around town, trying to win the big assignments, the movies that are going to pay out 7 figures, movies like Legos. Though, speaking for my self, I think ? need to read the script first in order to be able to come up with a title. After all, there wasn’t any gushing for The Green Lantern film or even Man Of Steel, to a lesser extent. Sylvester runs through a screen door, falls in tiny little blocks on the other side, reassembles himself, and continues chasing Tweety. Bunch of middle aged grumpos shitting all over a nostalgia movie like it’s trying to be the next Godfather haha. It wasn’t made to break barriers and redefine narrative structure or challenge us with interesting and complex characters. LEGOs are one of the chief toys of the imagination, and if they make a buck while being that, good for them! That’s wonderful, and there is much great craftsmanship (and occasional artistry) to be found in the commercial world. They would never consider sacrificing a single penny of box office return for the sake of creativity, whether it’s the theme of the film or not.
Not only creepy (creepy in the way I hate watching animals talking as they CGI their mouths to move (just wrong)) but it’ll look ridiculous as well. I liked UP, which kids liked more, but it definitely wasn’t the home run Toy Story was. Legos themselves exist and have helped millions of kids build and develop their imaginations. You see, Emmet’s mom is the chosen one, the one who’s going to save Legoland from becoming boring and stagnant forever!

Well, granted this is not the final draft (I saw Wonder Woman in the trailer, and she isn’t in the script), but it’s safe to say, no it is not. Then it becomes “been there done that.” Then there was the story, which, while well-executed, never got past the amusing stage (at least for me).
It’s no more of a corporate money-grab than turning a comicbook into a movie or trying to capitalize on a popular book by turning it into a film franchise.
I mean, hands up who DIDN’T used to daydream about being the schoolboy hero who saves his nation from evil invaders armed with only a catapult, a pair of old binoculars, and a rusty bicycle. It was made to entertain children for 90 minutes then send them on their way with a heightened interest in LEGOs. We live in a capitalist society where every studio’s (nearly) main objective is to make money.
So in reality, I think there is a great deal more redeeming value in a Lego movie versus your McDonald’s movie (Yes I blame you for even thinking of such a horrific idea.
It could easily have been a gag filled love story or a incoherent mix of every character in the lego universe.
Lego movie!” I see these reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which are like, “Lego Movie makes Toy Story look like Movie 43!” By and large, everyone thinks this flick is going to be awesome.
And then I realized that the first time I had laughed since I started the screenplay was in reference to something outside the screenplay. The studios want Blake Snyder beat sheets for these films, and your job is to be as inventive as you can within that “beat sheet” framework. If you really want to impress producers, find out what their property is REALLY ABOUT, then pitch a STRONG THEME that explores that aspect. Nearly every movie out now is a prequel, sequel, remake, or a character transitioning from a pre-existing franchise. How much of this was you guys writing a story and how much was it Lego pushing a product and wanting to sell toys? You follow rules MOST of the time, then break them strategically in certain spots, in ways that will separate your script from everything else out there.
There was the super-glued-perfect world vs organic-chaotic world idea that tied everything together, and there was the matrix like plot twist that their world was but a daydream in the head of a of a boy and his father. Chris Miller gives a great answer: “Well, we were very clear up front that the only way this movie was gonna succeed was if it didn’t come from the top down. All the legos get scattered, and the characters quickly rebuild the pieces into, say, a helicopter, then fly away. I’ve never seen that before!” And I think if you have a lego movie, you should see some things you’ve never seen before. It didn’t feel like Lego was saying, “We wanna sell these toys, tell a story around them.” It had to feel like it was coming from outside the company. So our writers pitched a movie of a lego world that didn’t allow creativity, that didn’t allow the very thing that legos represent! Yes, I guess, since it made a fortune and spawned another, so that’s all Hollywood needed. And we said, obviously if we’re making something that doesn’t have cool vehicles in it and interesting characters, then we’re not doing our job anyway. And we went to Denmark to visit and see the type of things that they make there and it definitely inspired us from what Lego’s core values are about and the type of things. So the next time you get coveted to pitch one of the big assignments, find out what the property is about, and pitch a story with a strong theme that explores it!
But we were thankfully not in a situation where they were dictating anything to us as far as what we were doing. And sort of reacted to the things we made and thought “Oh yeah, we can sell toys based on this, this and this.” You can read more of the interview over on Slash Film.

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