The Lego Movie

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Movie Reviews

 

LEGO movie_Chris Pratt

Who among us has never had their lives affected in some way by LEGOs? Even those of us who never had the privilege of spending hours of our childhood on our bedroom floors putting bricks together—–making the ultimate space station or the coolest racecar—–have children, or nieces and nephews, who play with them and pull us to the floor and shove a pile of bricks towards us. Grown adults pour hours of their day into assembling the most amazing brick creations ever seen. Bottom line: LEGOs are immortal. And what better way to celebrate their immortality and their nostalgia than making a feature film paying homage to them?

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 Summary: (No spoilers)

In a city where “everything is awesome” and hunky-dory and everyone fits in perfectly is Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt—–Moneyball), a regular, ordinary guy who lives his brainwashed, by-the-book life just like everyone else; made so by President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell—–Elf). He gets up every morning and follows the instruction book to the letter to get him through the day.

When he suddenly finds out he is part of a prophecy that says he is “The Special” and the savior of the world and that he will defeat Lord Business and his “Kragle” (Krazy Glue with scratched-out letters), he is hurled into the adventure of his life with such characters as Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks—–The Hunger Games) and Batman (voiced by Will Arnett—–Ratatouille), among others including Unikitty and Benny, the 1980-something space guy (voiced by Charlie Day—–Pacific Rim).

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When I first heard they were making an actual LEGO movie, I thought, “Really? A LEGO movie?” and dismissed it from my mind. The film’s trailer looked entertaining enough, but I still wasn’t convinced this was going to be a merited success. It certainly had the look of a film that would attract a younger audience and make a decent chunk of change, but ultimately would come and go in theaters within a few weeks. But, I have to say, it’s actually pretty good!

With something like nostalgia at the forefront of your mind, it’s pretty difficult to not like a film such as this. I am, like millions more, a hardcore LEGO geek. With a wide array of variety to choose from, there’s something there for everyone, from pirates to Star Wars. LEGOs have evolved over the years from the simple brick to some pretty technical and complicated designs. Of course, there are two kinds of LEGO builders: those who are adhere almost religiously to the instructions, and those who like to freely deviate from the original design and construct their own creation. While I’ve always been more the former, I have always held true that creation is the beauty of LEGOs and is at the forefront of their purpose. These two options are both addressed in the film and are the building blocks (no pun intended) of the film’s main plot.

LEGO movie_Chris Pratt, Will Arnett

 What I greatly appreciated about the film is the way in which the characters move and the bricks interact with each other. When objects collide and explode, there is no digital explosion with CGI fire and smoke. The explosion itself is made entirely of LEGO bricks, a tactic used to simulate actual playtime. Everything in the film down to the particles of water is a tangible LEGO piece. This ploy is directly related to something explored in the third act.

With first-class acting talents like Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman lending their voices to the film (including Anthony Daniels very briefly reprising his voice as C-3PO as well as Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian), the film-makers have been able to literally bring LEGOs to life, something that kids have always been able to do in their minds but that we as adults have unfortunately lost the ability to do.

The LEGO Movie has been compared by many to the Toy Story  films as having, they say, much of the same heart and franchise potential. While I can’t say that it compares emotionally to a film like Toy Story 3—–although it does have some, for sure—–I will say that this has more potential for a franchise than even Toy Story. In fact, The LEGO Movie has more potential to expand the world created than any other animated film I have ever seen. And that’s not a statement to be made lightly.

THE LEGO MOVIE

 Throughout its over 50 years of existence, LEGO® has created thousands of characters. While hundreds of these including Superman, Wonder Woman, and Han Solo make only brief cameos in the film, imagine the vast possibilities for future films and the direction they could go. Think of the stand-alone films that could be made: LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Avengers, LEGO Indiana Jones . . . the possibilities are literally endless! The LEGO Movie is the door that has opened the floodgates to a multitude of limitless opportunities of cross-overs, stand-alones, or multi-world films such as this.

In a nutshell:

LEGO® has officially opened up a treasure trove of possibilities. The LEGO Movie was a birth to what will become an incredible multi-film franchise. It was entertaining for both parent and child alike, had lough-out-loud humor, and was just great fun to watch. But perhaps its greatest aspect was something I cannot even fully reveal in this review. But I will say this: It’s quite unexpected and is a pleasant surprise. It’ll make you want to play with a bucket of LEGOs after watching the film.

 

8.5 stars

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