There’s way more going on in The Lego Movie than initially meets the eye. This is a high-energy, smart, and surprisingly touching family film that truly delivers something for everyone – and maybe even more so for adults. What could have been nothing more than an annoying product placement film (strangely enough, it never feels like such a thing) is an insightful movie about being yourself and sticking it to the man. Hardly new material, but rarely has it been done this well. Kids won’t fully understand the subtext at work, but it will hardly matter since there is a breakneck pace and lots and lots of colorful stuff flying around everywhere.
We meet Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) as the film opens. He’s a happy-go-lucky Lego construction worker who’s always following the directions to a T. He’s an efficient worker, but blends in with the crowd and doesn’t have many friends. That all begins to change when he’s deemed “The Special,” a particular type of Lego MasterBuilder (one who can create new things on-the-fly without instructions) who is the Lego universe’s only hope for survival as the evil President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) is plotting to glue everyone into place.
With wall-to-wall action and excitement, The Lego Movie rarely pauses to take a breath. Warner Bros. has dipped into their own well for appearances by many of the studio’s favorite characters (Batman, Green Lantern, etc.) and even with so many characters, it all gels. The screenplay more often than not hits the target in its oftentimes socio-political humor, not to mention the usual slapstick. Perhaps what’s most surprising is the emotional chord struck in the third act. Details will be spared for spoiler purposes, but the “twist” is wonderful and equally touching. This is a film with heart, soul, and an authentic feel for a child’s mind and imagination. All of the voice performances are superior, lead by Chris Pratt as the hyper and overwhelmed Emmet. Will Ferrell is superb as the villain, playing up the ridiculousness of it all.
The Lego Movie is the first great film of 2014 and a must-see for all ages. It’s a pure visual treat, seamlessly melding modern computer animation with elements of stop-motion. It’s very unique and inventive. While not quite in the realm of the Toy Story trilogy, The Lego Movie comes close. It certainly has the imagination and wonder of the latter, and the brilliant third act only cements its place as a future classic.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Length: 100 Minutes
Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor.
Theatrical Release: February 7, 2014
Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Written by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Cast: Chris Pratt (voice), Elizabeth Banks (voice), Will Arnett (voice), Will Ferrell (voice), Morgan Freeman (voice)