This is one of those movies that really shouldn’t work. It’s based off of a toy, and could easily have been nothing more than a long ad. But that’s what not happened. No, The LEGO Movie is a pure delight from start to finish. It’s a celebration of what it means to be a kid, and its self-aware humor will appeal to anyone who has ever touched a LEGO in their life.
I grew up with LEGO’s, as I’m sure many of us did. They were a huge part of my childhood. But I walked into this movie with only a moderate level of excitement. I was certainly intrigued by the animation and seemingly clever sense of humor, however, but I didn’t want to get myself to hyped for a movie based off a toy that could easily flop.
But, from the minute the movie began I was hooked, and the longer it went on, the more I found myself falling in love with it. I know it’s still early in the year, but I honestly believe this is the best film we’ve had yet. Under its colorful animation, quirky characters, and tongue-in-cheek humor lies a poignant story of creativity and adventure that reminds us what it means to be a kid.
And that, right there, is what makes this movie such a joy to experience. Not only will it appeal to the kids out there who crave these bright, funny films, but also their parents and everyone in between. I went to see it with my brother and my sister, and despite the age differences, I laughed just as much, if not more, than they did.
The LEGO Movie stars Emmet, a typically normal guy who fits in with his world a little too much. He obediently lives out his existence with accordance to the Instructions proved by his world’s ruler. He’s likable and happy-go-lucky, but yet he lives in complete blindness to the almost Orwellian landscape he lives in.
That is, until he (quite literally) falls across an ancient artifact that could change everything, turning him from a nobody into the only hope for the world’s survival against the maniacal plans of the obsessive ‘bad-guy’ Lord Business, who is hysterically played by an especially memorable Will Ferrell.
If Emmet hopes to save the world, he has to bring the artifact, known as the Piece of Resistance, to the MasterBuilders, an elite team of heroes who can construct anything from the LEGO pieces that are all around them. While the plot is simple, and relies a bit on the classic “chosen one” trope a little too much, it’s the presentation that sets it above all the others.
It’s self-aware, sometimes even poking fun at itself, and while it follows a typical plot progression, it keeps things feeling fresh with its constantly evolving visuals and explosive action moments. It balances its exciting plot with some spectacular pacing that ensures you’re always laughing at something. While not every joke hits its mark, there’s just so many good ones that it’s hard to care about the ones that don’t.
However, it’s the characters that make this such an enjoyable ride. Emmet is the perfect hero; a normal guy who gets thrust headfirst into a epic struggle against tyranny that could decide the future of the world. Chris Pratt voices the character really well, and while his work isn’t groundbreaking, he perfectly sells Emmet to the audience and, in turn, you totally buy him as the unlikely hero of the story.
One of the most enjoyable features of The LEGO Movie is the sheer number of characters and cameos that show up at every turn. His first encounter with WyldStyle, a spunky, fearless MasterBuilder, is hilarious, and her instinctive confidence pairs surprisingly well with Emmet’s reluctance. Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt share a natural chemistry together and it translates to the screen wonderfully.
There has been much hype surrounding The LEGO Movie’s version of Batman, and while he is very much a supporting character, he has some of the best scenes in the movie. Will Arnett’s voice work is superb, and I found his arrogant, sarcastic interpretation of the Dark Knight to be endlessly entertaining. His one-liners are hysterical, and his constant banter with the rest of the cast never got old.
And while the cast is varied and impressive, sporting the likes of Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, and cameos from Jonah Hill, Cobie Smulders, and Channing Tatum, the focus never shifts too far from Emmet and his individual story. He’s our hero, and everyone else is here to make his adventure that much better.
That really is the best part of the movie, in fact, the cast. No matter how big a part they play, everyone feels natural in their respective parts and their incessant banter with one-another is well-written and clever. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are as much to thank for this as the actors themselves, as their distinctly witty tone and dialogue gives the cast the life to make these characters so enjoyable.
The visual direction is also fantastic, and you can tell it was a labor of love from everyone involved. Every individual character and LEGO piece looks worn and used, giving the animation that extra layer of nostalgia that will especially speak to those of us who grew up with LEGO’s. It’s a subtle touch, but one that really spoke to me personally and only increased the smile that was plastered across my face.
While the stop-motion-inspired animation style took some time to get used to, it quickly grew on me and reminded me of the many adventures I had with my own LEGO minifigures back in the day. Even the plot reflects the playful style of the animation, and I loved how the writers actually found a way to explain how every existing LEGO set exists within the same ‘universe.’ Another subtle yet appreciated touch.
However, as playful and entertaining as the film is, the conclusion did something that I really wasn’t expecting. After all the exciting antics that came before, the film ties itself up with a heartwarming conclusion that I wouldn’t dare spoil for you. All I’ll say is that I was moved by it, and while it went on a little too long, it surprised and delighted me in a way that was really special.
The LEGO Movie is one of those special films that really surprised me. Under it’s chaotic action, colorful visuals, and hilarious one-liners, there’s a heartfelt story of creativty and adventure that exemplifies what it means to have fun. It’s cleverly written, directed, and acted, and I can find very few faults with it.
It might not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it doesn’t want to be. Instead, The LEGO Movie wants to give you a good time, and if you’ll let it, it might even warm your heart. I loved every minute of this movie, and it’s easily my favorite film I’ve seen this year so far. I can’t wait to get back to the theater to experience it all over again.