The LEGO Movie (2014)
The LEGO Movie (2014)

Genre: Action, Adventure, and Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Release Date: February 7th, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller Actors: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Jonah Hill, Will Forte, Dave Franco, Liam Neeson, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum

 


 

L

ord Business (Will Ferrell) and is horde of robot henchmen storm the castle of elderly sage Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to steal a powerful weapon. Before the evil warrior can depart, Vitruvius warns of the ancient legend of a special master builder who will not only save the realm from Business’ wrath, but also be the most interesting and extraordinary person in the universe. 8 ½ years later, Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt), an impossibly upbeat but generic guy, goes through his routines of maintaining optimism, driving to his construction job, and always following the instructions. When he spies a young woman, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), sleuthing around the construction zone, he stumbles down into an abyss, where he finds the magical “Piece of Resistance.”

With the glowing red rectangle permanently stuck to his back, Emmet is captured and interrogated by a rogue Super Secret Police agent (Liam Neeson, hilariously voicing a split-personality enforcer) working for the President of Bricksburg – who is really the paranoid dictatorial overlord Business. The megalomaniac is intent on separating the various LEGO worlds and tracking down and destroying all the master builders (including Wonder Woman, Abraham Lincoln, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Green Lantern, Superman, Cleopatra, Shaquille O’Neal, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Robin Hood, and many others). With his purloined “Kragle” weapon (actually, a tube of Krazy Glue), Business hopes to freeze all LEGO realms to prevent further building, meddling, and change. But with the help of Wyldstyle’s boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), Vitruvius, the pirate Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), Unikitty (Alison Brie), and a retro astronaut (Charlie Day), Emmet just might be able to save the world.

The environments are all various LEGO worlds, brilliantly making use of existing and familiar sets and individual pieces. Traversing the Old West, Cloud Cuckoo Land, Business’ vertiginous headquarters, and even an underwater arena provide countless LEGO sights, especially as everything is manufactured from the classic bricks. All the special effects, including fire, smoke, laser bolts, and more are crafted with LEGO elements, as if through stop-motion animation, while objects are spontaneously built out of the setting itself to aid in escape or instant modes of transportation. Just looking at the Warner Bros.’ logo built out of LEGOs as the movie begins is impressive.

“The LEGO Movie” is also surprisingly action-packed and high-octane. There’s an incredible amount of adventure and destruction, some of it is so fast-paced and hectic that it’s difficult to take it all in, with the bustling LEGO cities (the first of which swarms with cranes, dump trucks, scaffolding, tractors, and wrecking balls) involving countless moving parts. This is a picture that requires multiple viewings to truly absorb all the visual wizardry at work.

But the most interesting thing about the script (and, by extension, the project as a whole) is that it could have made for an amusing film even without the LEGO incorporations. With nonstop visual jokes, family-friendly verbal jests, and pop culture and movie references, the screenplay is thoroughly entertaining, even when it transcends the boundaries of reality and fantasy (in this regard, some parallels to “Toy Story” are drawn, even though Pixar’s masterpiece never stepped beyond computer animation during storytelling) to deliver a preachy but appropriate message of cooperation and creativity. The look and feel of the project is unbelievably clever, even during conversations and activities that don’t specifically signify the popular brand (plus, the theme song “Everything is Awesome!!!” is unusually catchy in its simplicity). How fitting for a movie about the most famous highly sophisticated interlocking brick system.

– Mike Massie

  • 8/10