“Everything is awesome!”
I was beyond doubtful when I first saw the trailer for The LEGO Movie, convinced it was little more than a glorified toy commercial. “Good grief, they’re really running out of ideas,” I sighed.
I was wrong.
The LEGO Movie is a hilariously wild ride that’s everything one could hope for in a movie celebrating everyone’s favorite interlocking toy bricks. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a generic, ordinary LEGO figure who is thrown into an insane adventure with dozens of of other LEGO characters when he’s identified as the key to saving the world from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferell).
An incredible amount of hilarious voice actors bring life to the characters of the Lego World, including Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and plenty of other surprise cameos. The laughs come faster by the minute, and the colorful animation is amazing—there’s nothing else really out there right now that looks quite like this.
The story may be familiar and full of clichés—because it’s exactly the kind of story any kid playing with LEGO’s would concoct—but The LEGO Movie knows that and even pokes fun at itself for it. Delivering a crazy hour-and-a-half of all your childhood playtime imaginations come to life, it’s the best product placement movie I’ve ever seen. The LEGO’s are all up there on the big screen the whole time, yet it never feels like a sales pitch or a commercial. Never once does it feel like the movie is saying, “see how much fun this is? Buy these toys.” But it’s bound to boost sales tremendously—if you never wanted to play with Legos before, you will afterwards.
If I had one complaint, it’s that maybe The LEGO Movie has TOO much to offer, not giving us enough time to enjoy every little moment and nuance it throws in front of us—weird criticism, I know. But there’s little to complain about here. With its hilarious gags, heartfelt humor, and touching third-act twist, it is truly a film that all ages can enjoy and celebrate together—a delightful story that recaptures the magic of childhood imagination, and reminds us the importance of letting kids be kids.
+ Never feels like a commercial for LEGOs
+ Great voice cast
+ Hilarious running gags and pop-culture references
+ So much creative imagination
+ Not just a regular story randomly played out by LEGO figures: it’s LEGO’s for a reason.
+ Touching surprise ending brings closure
– The frantic, heavy pace may be too much for young viewers (or anyone trying to catch every little joke or reference)
The LEGO Movie is the surprise animated film of the year. Despite all the laughs, the beautiful animation, and the hilarious characters, the heart of the film is what makes it special. The LEGO Movie celebrates creativity and imagination, reminding us why LEGO’s have been so popular with children for over fifty years. Everyone can create something special, despite what the “rules” may say. And that’s pretty impressive for a movie based off a little yellow toy.
The LEGO Movie is rated PG for “action and rude humor.” Your kids will probably come out of the theater asking for twenty different new LEGO sets, but you sort of expect that when you take them to a film called The LEGO Movie.
© Matt Tory, 2014.