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“The Lego Movie” Clicks

I fully admit I watched The LEGO Movie convinced of its greatness before the first brick clicked into place. It had me in it’s pocket from the moment we saw the teaser trailer last summer. We’ve loved the humor found in LEGO Wii games, and it looked like the silly irreverence would transfer easily to the big screen. Could they pull off 100 minutes of Minifigs striding around, saving the world? Would it rely too much on gimmicks? Not every movie has such universe of characters at its disposal. Basically, would it become ridiculous because Abraham Lincoln, Gandalf, Batman, Shakespeare, and Shaq are together again for the first time?

Well, no.

There are so many more legendary figures that I want to tell you about but I don’t want to wreck it. A sign a movie is awesome? The review doesn’t want to give away too much because the reviewer is picturing you, delighted, laughing because you weren’t expecting that or that or that.

The LEGO Movie continually surprised me. It was fast-paced, with twists I didn’t see coming and cameos I won’t forget. I actually got teary twice. Not expected, at all.

The main character, voiced by Chris Pratt, is an affable fellow named Emmet Brickowski. He’s the most interestingly forgettable average Minifig in existence. Emmet finds himself a reluctant rebel against the orderly safety of a vanilla existence, where everyone loves the same song, drinks the same coffee, follows the same directions. Through an accident, he finds himself teamed with an underground ragtag rebel force headed by a blind wizard named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and a tough Master Builder heroine who calls herself Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). No, she is NOT a DJ. Later, they are joined by hyper-happy Princess Unikitty (Allison Brie) and a 1980s astronaut who simply wants to build a spaceship spaceship spaceship. Everyone but Emmet is a Master Builder. They are Minifigs imbued with the ability to see the possibilities in every brick. Emmet is, quite literally, a blank slate whose greatest creative idea is a double-decker couch. But wow, he can follow instructions perfectly.

Can unbridled creativity join forces with stodgy order to save the world from Lord Business’s dastardly plan?

The bad guys are deliciously evil and over-the-top, like all good villains. President/Lord Business is voiced by Will Ferrell, who is absolutely full of surprises as the seemingly benevolent President. In the opening scenes of the movie, he announces a nationwide Taco Tuesday. What could he be up to? His main henchman is Bad Cop/Good Cop, voiced by Liam Neeson. Listening to his twee Good Cop voice is worth the price of admission alone.

If you think “The LEGO Movie” is just for kids and you’ll go along because it’s that or the laundry, you’re mistaken. A lot of the storyline and humor is aimed squarely at adults, but not in a wink-wink way. For example, Batman is prominently featured. He wrote an emo song about darkness. Kids don’t get why he’s brooding and depressed all the time, so his song might not make sense to them. But to people who have the backstory, it fits. There are also knowing nods to the power of pop culture in shaping behavior and an indictment of inane entertainment.

I took Tommy, Beatrix, and Archie to the screening. All of them gave it big smiles. We exited the theater singing the main theme “Everything is Awesome” and then rehashed our favorite scenes as I drove home. You don’t do this if a movie is a stinkbomb. It left the kids inspired to build and create. Yeah, it could be the world’s longest toy ad, but I didn’t care. If it’s well done, it’s well done.

In the lobby at the screening, a Lego builders club set up displays of their handiwork. It was really cool.

The LEGO Movie is rated PG. The saltiest bad word is darn. Violence is cartoonish. If you feel bad for the LEGO you step on in the middle of the night, rather than for your own devastated foot, you are probably too sensitive for this movie.

It opens on February 7th, 2014. Watch the trailer here.

(Fun fact: Years ago, I got to spend a day learning about a LEGO video game. I learned the proper way to refer to LEGO is to write LEGO—all caps, no “s” because LEGO is one brick or one billion.)

1 comment to “The Lego Movie” Clicks

  • Excellent. I’m happy to know I won’t be wasting my money. Not that I would get out of taking the kids anyway. But you know. The excitement builds.

    And it’s it LEGO, all caps, because that’s how it’s trademarked? Similar to Kleenex versus tissue or Dumpster vs trash bin?

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