For children (especially children with an affinity for interlocking plastic bricks), “The Lego Movie” was a sure slam-dunk. Puns, action, Legos and Morgan Freeman? That’s a blueprint for how to write a successful children’s movie. What surprised audiences, however, was how good the movie is despite its clear target audience. “The Lego Movie” is hilarious and manages to tug at the heartstrings in surprising ways.
The movie’s plot is a cleverly delightful metaphor. In a world (made of Legos) where everyone has “something that makes (them) something,” Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just an ordinary construction worker with nothing distinct about him. He’s perfectly happy with his generic existence regimented by the instructions that come from the evil dictator, Lord Business (Will Ferrell).
But when Lord Business steals the deadly super-weapon, the “Kragle,” Emmett is called upon to save the world.
In the process, he meets a girl named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and a ridiculous wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) who is a cross between a classic comedic relief character and Gandalf. Their journey takes them through a variety of Lego worlds (The Wild West, Knights and Castles, etc.) in a humorous and exciting adventure to stop Lord Business’s evil plan.
There are so many things to celebrate about this movie. First, the animation is detailed and precise. “The Lego Movie” is shot with stop-motion animation, and the artists behind it certainly deserve applause. The characters move fluidly and, often, hilariously. The animators understand that they aren’t working with human bodies, and they take advantage of that by having Lego-people leap incredibly high into the air or swing their arms in unrealistic ways.
The opening music sequence to the movie, “Everything is Awesome,” is an intricate spectacle that reveals all that Lego stop-animation can deliver. It’s worth watching the movie just for that few minutes.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller did a fabulous job with the script. It charms its audience with relatable characters that clash in comical ways. One of the major characters of the movie is Lego Batman (Will Arnett) who, instead of being the hero we all know, is instead Wyldstyle’s jerk of a boyfriend.
Inversions such as this run rampant through the movie. From wizards who aren’t wise to kittens with a dark side, these twists-of-the-norm are unexpected and act as little moments during which viewers can almost hear the screenwriters saying, “We understand how silly the genre of children’s movies can be, so we’re changing it up a little.”
In saying all of this, if puns and deadpan humor are not your cup of tea, you will not like this movie. The script and directing style maintain a childlike spirit that simply can’t be appreciated by everyone.
“The Lego Movie” delivers intense wit and innovative design and is worth seeing, even if only for nostalgia’s sake.
RATING: 4/5 STARS