Warning: the following contains some very mild spoilers.
This original computer animated story follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.
When I first heard that Warner Bros. was developing a feature length LEGO movie, I laughed at the notion. Despite being a longtime fan of the franchise, I never thought that a big screen adaptation would work, especially since most “toy films” are hit-and-miss. However, I was sold on The LEGO Movie with its impressive animation, all-star voice cast, and a creatively fun premise. My anticipation grew as time went on, particularly when the movie was received with near unanimous acclaim from critics. And after seeing the film, were my expectations met? Most certainly.
The LEGO Movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a comedy throughout, and a good one at that. The majority of its jokes are just hilarious – from humorous references to Batman’s dark nature to a priceless scene with Harry Potter‘s Dumbledore and Lord of the Rings‘ Gandalf. The fact that the comedy elements work should be no surprise, as directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord are known for succeeding in the genre with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street.
Another thing The LEGO Movie uses to its advantage is the fact that everything is made of LEGOs. This aspect has been missed in other animated LEGO movies, such as the LEGO Star Wars television specials, making them just CG animated films that happen to be influenced by LEGO. However, The LEGO Movie is almost like a 95 minute long stop-motion production, and it creatively uses its source material. Everything from explosions to water is made of LEGO bricks, making it hard not to admire the amount of detail that went into the project.
The LEGO Movie boasts a highly impressive cast, featuring a number of A-listers and upcoming stars. Chris Pratt, who will likely be a household name after this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015’s Jurassic World, is excellent as the “ordinary” protagonist, Emmet. It’s easy to root for the character, who is attempting to live up to the expectation of being “The Special” and save the LEGO world from Lord Business’ diabolical plan. Speaking of which, Will Ferrell does a bang-up job as Business, and it’s hard to imagine somebody else filling the role. Elizabeth Banks is perfect as Wyldestyle, while it’s always a treat to hear the voices of Liam Neeson (Bad Cop) and Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius).
Yet another memorable element in The LEGO Movie is the inclusion of characters from well-known film franchises. From Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars, it’s a delight to see LEGO versions of fans’ favorite characters on the big screen. Most exciting, however, is the addition of a few DC superheroes. Obviously, Batman (voiced brilliantly by Will Arnett) has the most screentime, having a meaty supporting role. 21 Jump Street stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have hilarious chemistry as Superman and Green Lantern, respectively. Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders) doesn’t have much to do, only having a few lines. The Flash also makes a very brief appearance, which was already shown in a television spot for the movie.
It’s hard to point out a single flaw with The LEGO Movie. Its execution is flawless, its characters are lovable, its story is strong, its voice cast is perfect, and its animation is spot-on. It has all the right ingredients for an animated classic. Thanks to its critical acclaim and an expected big opening at the box office, a sequel is already in the works, laying the groundwork for a new family friendly franchise.
In conclusion, The LEGO Movie is a brilliantly crafted adaptation of the iconic toy franchise. Filled with memorable moments from start to finish, it is a hilariously fun movie. It is Toy Story for a new generation, essentially. I can’t recommend it enough, to both the younger and older audiences. See it as soon as possible.
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