Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Lego Movie Review

The Lego Movie Review
Today, I had certain expectations for a film called "The Lego Movie." As a huge movie guy, when big expectations are met, there is nothing like it in the world. "The Lego Movie" is everything in their trailers, its everything you can possibly hope it would be. But, its also more.

"The Lego Movie" is a pure sugar rush, a big, crazy, extravaganza of an adventure. "The Lego Movie" is also the ultimate family movie. Big family fun that unsuspectingly has something for everyone.

Why is it the ultimate family movie? Well, if you haven't seen it yet, let me tell you. If you get the whole family in the car to see it, the kids will love it. (Especially if your kids are Legomaniacs!) Its a movie that is filled with ninja's, wizards, giant robots, small robots, lasers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, dragons, cowboys, Abraham Lincoln, pirates, robot pirates, cops, knights, parallel universes, space ships, fast cars, song numbers, and the whose-who of the DC Universe! Of course, all of these characters are their Lego counterparts, but that is all part of the fun. If you have children, they will lose their minds over this film. I saw this movie in a packed theater, filled to the brim with excited, happy children. They were yelling, cheering and laughing all film long, and the adults were right there with them, doing the exact same thing.

"The Lego Movie" will appeal to adults because it stabs the grown-up audience with smart humor. They make great jokes about the conventions of Legos, smart jokes about superhero tropes, smart jokes about action movie archetypes, and smart jokes about nostalgia. When Batman discusses why he prefers the color black, its priceless. When we hear a bunch of Lego people "following the directions," absolutely hilarious. Its clear that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller grew up playing with Legos, and they grew up with a healthy dose of pop culture, because they created a kids movie that won't leave mom and dad bored. That's a task that is harder than it sounds, and I give Lord and Miller big kudos for pulling it off so effortlessly.

I also have to say that the last 20-ish minutes were extremely ambitious for a family movie. I do not want to get into big spoilers, but let me just say that a certain "wall" gets broken in the film, and it just works. Miller and Lord created something very unique, very smart and very clever. The final moments of the film get so crazy that the kids will love it and the adults (especially the nerdy ones) are going to love the cleverness the story has to offer.

Tons of big stars lend their voices to the film, and they all do great work. Chris Pratt voices Emmet, our main character. Emmet is just a regular, Lego, everyman who works as a construction worker in Brickville. The film opens with his mourning routine and what he does at work, and in those opening moments there are plenty of great gags about our culture. As he is leaving work, he falls down a hole and discovers something bright and red, and soon he's being chased by Bad Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson) who works for Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who needs this red device for a machine he's building, a machine which will destroy the universe. Emmet is intercepted by Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) and taken to Lord Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman). Emmet learns that he is a "Special" the chosen one from an old prophecy who will stop Lord Business' plot to destroy the universe. The work by Pratt, Neeson, Ferrell, Banks and Freeman is great. I also really enjoyed Will Arnett's Batman and I had a big giggle when I learned Cobie Smulders voiced Wonder Woman. There is also great voice work by Will Forte, Channing Tatum, Charlie Day, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, and Jake Johnson.

Oh, and Billy Dee Williams voicing the Lego version of Lando Calrission? Awesome!

If you didn't catch this film over the weekend, book it for next weekend. Take the whole family, take cousins, take your cousins kids if they have any. This is a movie that should be seen by everyone. This is a very early contender to be one of the year's best films. This film exceeded my expectations and it will exceed yours too. Open your mind and give it a try, you'll be glad you did.

One more thing, the set-up for a potential sequel? Perfect!

FINAL GRADE: A

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