Take an all-star voice acting cast, mix in the timeless usage of stop-motion filming, a dash of CGI, an unexpected pinch of live-action, and an overabundance of the most classic toy of all time. Piece them together and behold: The LEGO Movie. (Be still, my childlike heart!)
Released in the U.S. on February 7th by Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, I immediately bought tickets for the first LEGO movie ever produced to witness history in the making. I initially assumed I would experience a typical, feel-good, cutesy animated film, which I was willing to endure due to the star-strewn cast. With names and voices equally recognizable, the picture includes movie icons Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Farrell, and Will Arnett, which guaranteed an above-average film at the least. However, I soon learned I should leave my expectations in the lobby.
Indeed, the film begins like every other feature…but immediately accelerates from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds. From the epic, over-the-top introduction to the jaw-dropping surprise ending, the creators rev up the fast-paced plotline to entertain even the most skeptical of movie-goers. There is so much happening all at once, with such colorful and creative mastery of LEGO animation, it is impossible to do anything but smile and hold on to your seat.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are geniuses like that. The directing/writing pair responsible for “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” and “21 Jump Street,” Lord and Miller realized every child’s (and , secretly, some adult’s) dream by unleashing numerous, impressive, all-too familiar LEGO worlds for their debut on the big screen. The duo continues to surprise by fabricating an equally impressive storyline to link each unique LEGO world together in a new twist on the age-old theme of saving the world.
The story revolves around Emmett (Chris Pratt), your average, straight-laced, law-abiding citizen. Mistaken as “The Special,” Emmett is prophesied to be the “most extraordinary person,” holding the power to acquire the “Piece of Resistance” which will save the LEGO world and its citizens from utter destruction. By one uproarious stroke of fate, our unfortunate hero is erroneously recruited into a ragtag team of Master Builders whose mission is to stop the evil President/Lord Business (Will Farrell) before he unleashes his secret weapon (the “Kragle”) to destroy every LEGO world and their inhabitants. Emmett sets out with his new comrades on a journey that is as sporadic and eyebrow-raising as it is heartwarming and hilarious.
An easy 100 minutes in length, The LEGO Movie is suitable for all ages. The humor is clean and classy, and the moral of the story is very relatable. For concerned parental units, ParentPreviews.com has kindly outlined reasons for the movie’s “PG” rating. I, personally, attended the movie twice, once with kids and once with adults as my accompanying posse; everyone loved it. Well worth the cost of today’s pricey movie ticket, one can’t help but laugh at the outrageous antics of the often-clueless animated minifigures as they make their way from world to world on their quest to defeat President/Lord Business.
As if the clever story and likeable characters weren’t already enough to make me a sucker for this movie, the surprise ending twisted my heart and flat-out blew my mind (no spoilers, don’t worry). In an era dominated by CGI cinematography, it is refreshing and exciting to see that a hybrid of old and new filmmaking techniques can result in spectacular inventiveness, which proved to be a blockbuster move for directors/writers Lord and Miller.
Each piece of the movie (oh, the puns!) is premeditated and orchestrated with precision by a group of fun-loving boys-with-toys for the most original animated movie to date. There is action, comedy, romance, adventure. There is a catchy theme song that will wedge itself deep into your brain for days. (Don’t believe me? Click here.) There is an absurd and side-splitting use of French accents in every pronunciation of a human “artifact.” There is undeniable attention to detail in such a tiny setting [e.g. an ocean of beautiful and dangerous LEGO waves, flecks of dust (dandruff?) on the streets, even gargantuan human fingerprint smudges are visible on the LEGO minifigures].
It is fun to get caught up in the ridiculousness of a movie every once in a while, laughing and snorting and forgetting that I’m supposed to act like a respectable adult while out in public. I felt like a kid again; a loud, 6-foot-tall kid. As a whole, The LEGO Movie fortifies itself as the must-see movie of 2014. Two, yellow, U-shaped LEGO-hands/thumbs/whatevers up!