Like most people, I played with Lego sets as a kid. I got hooked on the ‘Lego Adventurers’ theme and managed to convince my parents to get me some of the nicer sets in that line. Johnny Thunder and Dr. Charles Lightning and I had some really good times tricking Baron Von Barron into falling into the mummy’s tomb over and over again. I’m sure the same goes for many of you. So it should come as really no surprise that The Lego Movie, out this weekend, seemed so appealing to me. The story follows Emmet (Chris Pratt), your regular run-of-the-mill, easy-going, “normal” guy. Appropriately, he’s a construction worker. He stumbles upon a “piece of resistance,” which had been prophesized by the Master Builder Vitruvius (so appropriately voiced by Morgan Freeman) to be found by the Special, who was the only person who could save the Lego universe from destruction. Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) attempts to escort Emmet and the piece of resistance to where the ultimate weapon, referred to as the Kragle, resides at the top of the evil Lord Business’ tower. Along the way they run into a few DC superheroes, get lost at sea in a double-decker couch, and Emmet himself is transported through a void to… well, I won’t spoil it.
Having played several of the Lego video games, I’m familiar with their brand of cheeky humor. There’s plenty to entertain the adults with in what is obviously otherwise a movie targeted at young children. (As an aside, if you are a parent going to see this, don’t be that person with the stroller in the theater. Don’t be that guy, please. That guy is the worst. Babies don’t belong in movie theaters. You know better). The voice acting all-around is awesome, but they’ve got an all-star cast from top to bottom. Pratt is just as charming as he is on Parks and Recreation in the main character slot, though I fear he’s being typecast as the doofy lovable loser even in animated roles. Will Arnett voices a perfect Batman, almost to the point where I’d want to see him do that role in other places. Will Ferrell is Lord Business, and he’s mastered the art of playing a smarmy weasel over the years. Sometimes you hear a little bit of Mugatu sneaking in there, I’ll be honest. Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Liam Neeson and Charlie Day are also featured voices. Even the most minor of appearances got A-listers – Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill voiced Superman and Green Lantern, respectively, and they had some of the best gags in the whole film. The whole voice cast is awesome, basically. I can’t say it enough.
The one thing that I had to take a little bit of issue with is this weird, anti-consumerism message that the movie is broadcasting via the fact that they decided to name the antagonist “Lord Business.” But then at the same time, the movie itself is a 100-minute product placement for Lego sets. Very weird.
Overall, I’ve got to say, this will easily be the first big hit of 2014. High-quality animation paired with high-quality voices is always good, but add in a whole lot of witty humor with enough to keep even the retired “builders” like me entertained and you’ve got a solid box office hit. Just as a fair warning, though: the movie goes from cheeky and funny to ripping out your heart and shoving it down your throat during the film’s climax for a brief moment. This movie was oddly affecting in the best of ways, and they’re apparently already moving forward with plans for a sequel. If you want some good laughs (and maybe a good nostalgic cry), go see The Lego Movie.
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