the lego movie 2 setting

Everything is not so awesome in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. The sequel to the acclaimed 2014 hit transforms the cheery Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic wasteland — and screenwriters Phil Lord and Chris Miller reveal that this was for more than just a Mad Max reference. The drastic transformation of The LEGO Movie 2 setting was an intentional nod back to the viral song from the first movie that everyone, apparently, misunderstood.

“Everything is Awesome” was a viral earworm that encapsulated The LEGO Movie‘s ironic, meta humor. But the song itself is pretty simple, and that simplistic message was mostly taken at face value. But Lord and Miller wanted to turn that message on its head in The LEGO Movie 2, which they co-wrote but did not direct (directorial duties go to Mike Mitchell this time).

Lord and Miller revealed to Syfy that in a rewrite of draft for The LEGO Movie 2 in 2017, they changed the opening setting of the film to a dystopian wasteland called “Apocalypseburg.” And that was very much a reaction to the current political environment, Lord said:

Well, when we were writing it, we were definitely conscious that the first movie presented a song that was meant to be ironic, but was kind of taken literally, called “Everything Is Awesome.” It’s a wonderful song but kind of lacking in nuance. And you know, we’re thinking about the world today and how it’s not really true that everything is awesome.

But there are some things in life that are awesome, and I think it’s a choice that we can make to have that attitude, that we can still make things more awesome, and that’s something that we need to have, and I think that’s why the movie feels relevant today, and I think it will stay relevant going forward.

That new settings of the film also very much boils down to the difference between the aging older brother and his little sister, Lord and Miller said. With The LEGO Movie 2 they double down on the reveal that the LEGO world was created by an 8-year-old boy who was playing with his father’s “perfect” playset. But now that boy has grown up to be a 13-year-old “who’s obsessed with sci-fi dystopian hard-edged time-travel-type storyline tropes,” Miller said. It’s the clash between the brother and his 8-year-old sister that creates the conflict of the story and “seeing those worlds colliding and melding into one super-imagination is part of the fun,” Miller added. “And then [the LEGO characters are] due an existential crisis when they don’t know whether they have any say in any of it.”

The LEGO Movie 2 hits theaters on February 8, 2019.

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