'The LEGO Movie'
'The LEGO Movie'

There's more than meets the eye in "The LEGO Movie." It's not only smart and witty but it also explores the essence of LEGO and Master Building and, finally, storytelling in a Pirandello-like way. I spoke with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (at LEGOLAND, of course) about making a subversive movie at Warner Bros. that pokes fun of studios, franchises and safe storytelling.

Bill Desowitz: You've managed to make a subversive studio movie with an anti-commercial message. And as long as it's a big hit, it's win-win.

Phil Lord: Yeah, everybody wins.

And it reminded me of a bigger "Clone High."

Chris Miller: Yeah, for sure. It's like bringing in a lot of weird characters that don't belong.

PL: If you think about it, we haven't evolved at all as filmmakers -- we're just doing the same bit.

But this is a lot more complicated with so much detail.

PL: Yes, we were mixing the movie and we would go...

CM: I didn't remember seeing this in the background and I must've approved it 10 times.

PL: Wasn't it like a pig falls off of the train and then lands on the ground and then explodes into a bunch of sausages.

How many gags are there?

CM: I don't know how many gags per minute there are.

PL: You encourage people to add stuff from their own lives and you just get this big grab bag and everybody's in the pool. And then it really messes you up at the mix because you have to decide what's important.

CM: As long as your eye isn't so distracted, you don't know where to look. But you're definitely rewarded on multiple viewings.

Read the rest of this interview over at Animation Scoop.