The LEGO Movie was one of those films that caught us by surprise. When I first learned that a film was being made about my son’s favorite toys, I paused, wondering about the story and the characters and how those bricks could come to life in a way that was authentic and meaningful. The film won several awards including Best Animated Film (BAFTA, Saturn Award) and Best Animated Feature (Critic’s Choice Movie Award). The LEGO Movie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the song “Everything Is Awesome” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Five years later, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, picks up exactly where the original film left off. We sat with Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks to talk about their latest roles in the upcoming feature film.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
In the highly-anticipated sequel, the heroes of Bricksburg are reunited in an action-packed adventure to save their city. It has been 5 years since the original film debuted in theaters, and everything is not awesome. The citizens of Bricksburg face a huge threat…LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space have the ability to wreck everything faster than it can be rebuilt. The battle to defeat these invaders and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet, Lucy, Batman, and their LEGO friends to unexplored worlds, including a galaxy where everything is a musical. As they work to save their universe, their courage, creativity, and skills as Master Builders will be tested, revealing just how special they really are.
Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks Talk The LEGO Movie 2
Overcoming the Challenges of Making a Sequel
Filmmakers always take a risk when they endeavor to make a sequel. Fans have a certain level of expectation with regards to where the story will go, and how the characters will evolve. And while Phil Lord and Christopher Miller set the bar high, Pratt hopes “people will walk away with [the fact that] we’ve actually surpassed these really high expectations for this movie.”
“I think the first movie really surprised people. It was a movie about LEGO…and it was amazing. I was just a small part of the collaborative process, but it’s great…it was critically acclaimed. It was commercially very successful. It was innovative and thought provoking, and really, really funny. Chris and Phil are the brain trust, you know, they’re just amazing guys, and they’re going to be around forever doing amazing stuff. So, it was a surprise. But, I think what’s hard in a sequel is you don’t have that underestimation working for you. You don’t have to rise above lowered expectations. You have to hit some pretty high expectations.” Chris Pratt
“I trusted the process…I think everyone wanted to make sure that we lived up to the first movie, and that they had something kind of like fresh to say again. And so, I was never concerned.” Elizabeth Banks
Going “Off Script”
Animated films are typically highly scripted. And yet Lord and Miller trusted the cast, many of who have returned for the sequel, to embrace the spirit of their characters and the film to infuse their personality into it. The process is “really collaborative” (Pratt). “Everything is scripted, but then, there’s a lot of playing. So, there was a lot of, “Try this, try this.” And we were–they were refining jokes until like two weeks ago” (Banks).
“For me personally, I really love that it’s freeing. It’s like being given a roadmap…but you have like an off-road vehicle, and you’re like, “Yes, I know where we want to go. But, I don’t have to take this road to get there, as long as I end up there, and I’ve got 5 seconds. It’s all about what you do along the way.” (Pratt)
The Juxtaposition of Humor and Sentiment
I walked away from the original LEGO Movie with a profound sense of how deep some of the messages were in the midst of a very clever, entertaining film. That juxtaposition was compelling, and I wondered how the filmmakers would attempt to evoke some of that sentiment in the sequel.
“I think one of the interesting things about this movie is Finn, the older brother, is really trying on a lot of different identities. He’s trying to figure out who he is supposed to be. Does he need to be tougher? Is he enough? And I think one of the messages in the movie is about how do you create strategies to kind of combat those doubts in your life? And I think we all have them. I definitely had them. I went and got a perm, even though I already had curly hair. And I spent a lot of my hard-earned money on it, and all it did was make my hair even puffier and curlier than it already was. I also remember [thinking], “Am I going to play sports or be a theater person?” I like to do both things. But for some reason, I felt like I couldn’t–like I had to pick. So I think part of it is [knowing] you don’t always have to pick. Sometimes, you can be like, “Yes, this is the real me. But, today, I want to have blonde hair for a while, and I went through my blonde hair phase and I came back around.” The other thing that’s kind of going on in the movie is this experimentation. I think Lucy is really pushing [Emmet] to grow and evolve. She ends up being kind of wrong, but I think that the process that he goes through is a process that we all need.” (Banks)
“At the conclusion of this film, you realize that you can grow up. You don’t have to become something that you’re not naturally. You can embrace who you are, and oftentimes, we become something out of fear or out of an intention of self-preservation. But, ultimately, we isolate ourselves and become lonely. The older we get, the fewer people we have in our life. We cut people out and we bring that circle in a little bit…until all of a sudden, the only one standing in that circle is ourselves. And it’s like, there’s value to making that circle bigger, even if the people that are inside of it don’t see everything eye to eye with you.” (Pratt)
As a parent to two kids, I really appreciated the nod to sibling rivalry. The filmmakers’ creative approach to depicting the relationship between Finn and Bianca was compelling and evoked the type of sentiment I remember from the original film.
The world of LEGO is expansive, and the opportunity for future stories is endless. See The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part in theaters February 8, 2019. You can get LEGO Movie tickets now by purchasing them online. Be sure to follow The LEGO Movie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the #TheLEGOMovie2.