Movie Review: The Lego Movie
Seeing as new releases at the theater were scarce this weekend, we’re reviewing one of the most popular movies from 2014 instead. The Lego Movie was written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the comedic minds behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect), Will Ferrell (Elf, Stranger Than Fiction), Liam Neeson (Taken, A Monster Calls), and Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me, The Dark Knight) voice some of the main cast for the film. The voice talents include many beyond that list such as Will Arnett and Charlie Day, and this movie paved the way for such spinoffs as The Lego Batman Movie from earlier this year and The Lego Ninjago Movie coming out later this month.
The movie begins in the Lego world with the villain, Lord Business (Ferrell), securing a weapon called the “kragle” from the wizard Vitruvius (Freeman). Vitruvius attempts to stop him but is blinded by Business’ robots; however, Vitruvius manages to deliver a prophecy about “the Special” who will retrieve the piece of resistance to stop the kragle. The movie then jumps ahead eight and a half years to a construction worker named Emmet. He is the most generic lego man around and lives his life by an instruction manual, which includes listening to the most popular music, buying overpriced coffee, and trying to make friends. After work he discovers a mysterious young woman around his construction site. While investigating, he accidentally falls down a hole and finds the piece of resistance. When he touches the piece, he sees visions and passes out, only to wake up in the custody of Lord Business’ counterpart, Bad Cop (Neeson). When the mysterious young woman named Wyldstyle (Banks) rescues Emmet, though, he finds himself in the middle of “the Special” prophecy and in the battle between the Master Builders and Lord Business.
So, we introduced our parents to this movie over the weekend, and I was reminded of just how cute of a movie it is. It’s incredibly inventive, and the details of the lego pieces and sets are quite incredible. It all comes down to the small details with this film. As they build items, the Master Builders see the numbers of the pieces as they build. The lego people are limited in their movements, as Emmet’s jumping jacks prove. They follow instruction manuals and directions to build constructions. Even the way that smoke and water are built and disassembled still manage to show the fluidity of those things among rigid pieces. It’s truly inspiring to watch as they stay faithful to the capabilities of legos but also infuse all this creativity.
The other defining aspect of this film is the humor. With voice talents in Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and the like, I would expect nothing less. There are jokes about Emmet’s simplicity, jokes between superheroes like Green Lantern and Superman, and multiple hilarious lines delivered by Morgan Freeman’s Vitruvius. The humor ranges from over-the-top moments to understated comments and satire, and it’s that combination that makes this movie so entertaining. I also appreciate the many pop culture references, the Star Wars cameo, and the breadth of franchises they could include through the Lego brand.
The Lego Movie is worth the watch alone because of the creativity and humor, but it is also surprisingly a heartwarming tale. At its heart, it’s a movie about individuality, creativity, and the value of every person. It also features the most addicting song, “Everything is Awesome,” so be prepared to be humming that to yourself for days afterward. The connection between the Lego world and the human world is also surprising and merely adds to the charm of the story. If you’re looking for a family friendly flick to put on over the course of Labor Day, I suggest you revisit the beginning of the Lego film franchise.