The LEGO Movie is a genuinely entertaining film from start to finish. Perfect for families, and hitting a solid target with young boys, The LEGO Movie will also have a strong following of adult fans whose nostalgic curiosity will drive them into the theaters in droves. None of the aforementioned will be disappointed.
The first-ever full-length theatrical film about the cherished toy bricks, The LEGO Movie follows the life of a pretty generic little guy, Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), as he goes about his happy daily life as a construction worker. Emmett cheerfully follows his society’s rules to the letter, until his simple ways are shaken to pieces when he is mistaken as “The Special,” a master-building savior of sorts who is prophesied to save the world.
Though Emmet feels he has neither the talent nor the skill to really be “The Special,” he falls for a rebellious girl LEGO, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). In a car chase scene reminiscent of the one between Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy in Taken, Emmet is dragged kicking and screaming into the plot to defeat the villainous Lord Business (Will Ferrell), a tyrant who wants ultimate control over the LEGO universe. Later on his journey, Emmet also teams up with the seer, Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), a begrudging Batman (Will Arnett) and a whole host of other LEGO characters who try to help or hinder Emmet on his quest.
The animation is a combination of stop-motion and CGI, and it is incredibly fun to watch. The filmmakers obviously took great care to keep everything bona fide LEGO appropriate, and even the laser bolts, fiery explosions, rushing waves and fluffy clouds are all comprised of actual LEGO pieces. The opening traffic and cityscape scenes are spellbinding stuff, like watching a doll’s house come to life on a magnificent scale. The LEGO Movie also benefits from being seen in 3D, not merely as a gimmick, but as a true artistic tool that adds to the enjoyment of the film experience.
Though the themes of the story are familiar ones of nonconformity and believing in oneself, the film is not boring. That can be attributed to the vision of the directing and writing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, probably best known for the two Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs films.
But, the two key components that keep this film fresh and delightful all the way through are the LEGO animation and the LEGO characters themselves. There are so many wonderful LEGO performances going on, some actually outshine the main storyline. In particular, the Good Cop/Bad Cop character (Liam Neeson) is hilarious to watch, as is Unikitty (Alison Brie).
The LEGO Movie may not elicit the same timeless emotions as, say, the Toy Story franchise, but it is a wonderful trip into a limitless childlike imagination, and it will inspire creativity from children and recall years gone by for adults.
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writers: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman
Release Date: Feb. 7, 2014