Hilarious, clever, and heartfelt
| Ceejay Bachus writer |
I’m honestly scared about this, but I have to start this review with what would normally be the conclusion. “The Lego Movie” is great. It’s hilarious, clever and heartfelt. It’s one of the best animations to be widely released in a long while. You would be missing out on a treat if you missed it. That’s pretty much it, but, by all means, let’s break it down.
“Lego” is the story of Emmet (Chris Pratt), a relatively plain Lego construction worker who survives, very happily, by simply going with the flow. However, after a routine day at work, Emmet stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance, a fabled object that can stop the dastardly Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from destroying the universe.
With the help of “master builders” like the wizard Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman), his pupil Wild Style (Elizabeth Banks) and her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet has to overcome his follower mentality to stop Lord Business from stripping the Lego multiverse of all creativity.
Bottom line, this film should not work on any conceivable level; at least, not as well as it does.
Writing and directing team Phil Lord and Chris Miller, known for taking a simple children’s storybook, “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” and turning it into a funny, harrowing tale of self-esteem and redemption and taking an absurdly dated 1980s teen soap and crafting it into the acidic, gut-busting “21 Jump Street” reboot, have made a career of defying low expectations. “Lego” is yet another notch in their belt. The script is witty and imaginative and has Lego’s monstrous merchandising power on proud display.
Pratt leads a capable comedic voice cast that includes (but is not limited to): Channing Tatum as Superman, Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman, Shaquille O’Neal, Allison Brie, Liam Neeson, and Billy Dee Williams as Lando freaking Calrissian. Banks and Freeman provide excellent straight-man foil for Pratt’s enthusiastically generic Emmet.
The film’s true gems, however, come in the form of “1980-something spaceguy” Benny (Charlie Day) and Arnett’s Batman. One, a joke that’s told about five times but never gets old; the other, a narcissistic and silly deconstruction of how absurdly dark and brooding the Caped Crusader has become in the last decade.
Animation house Animal Logic, the studio behind “Legend of the Guardians”, has crafted an ingeniously intricate world, including landscapes and explosions, composed of Lego bricks. The story is just silly enough for kids to have a blast, and the script is clever enough for adults not to regret the decision to check it out for 90 minutes.
I hold steadfast to two beliefs: “The Lego Movie” is the kind of movie that inspires a future generation of animators, and it’s legitimately the best time I’ve had watching. The message can’t get any clearer than this. Go see “The Lego Movie.”