Legos are a cultural phenomenon with a following that spans generations. However, it is not just bricks anymore – movies, video games and theme parks have all spawned from buckets of the multi-colored bricks.
Popular culture has been set in plastic with themed sets and special edition “minifigures.” Architectural icons have been re-imagined for anyone to
construct and entire new universes have been created.
Amid the organized chaos, it is easy to forget Lego’s power was forged in creativity and the imagination, one
of the most prevalent themes in
“The Lego Movie.”
Emmet Brickowoski, voiced by Chris Pratt, is an ordinary Lego “minifigure” with no special or distinguishing features apart from his unwavering enthusiasm and overuse of the word “awesome.”
He lives life by the book and strives to fit in, make everyone like him and be happy. Emmet is mistaken for a prophecy fulfilling “MasterBuilder” by almost literally stumbling upon the “Piece of
Resistance” and is joined by the notably more unique Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and seemingly all-knowing Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). Emmet is then forced on a journey to put a stop to Lord Business’ (Will Ferrell) plans to freeze all of the citizens of the Lego universe where they stand.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the same talented minds behind 2009’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” shine again in another immensely clever and witty movie that can be enjoyed by a range of audiences.
The jokes are never forced, but natural, relatable and at times pleasantly subtle, with enough variety for there to be something funny for everyone.
The film often makes fun of itself and the audience with such honest innocence and originality it is hard not to laugh.
The film plays out like a brand new box of Legos with a story as simple, nonsensical and brilliant as anything an imaginative kid might come up with.
In the film’s universe everything from the water to the mountains are made of Legos. A combination of stop-motion cinematography coupled finely with CGI creates a world that moves like Legos with a little extra action and contains all of the awesome tiny details only stop-motion can provide.
At times, fingerprints are visible on the reflective strips of Emmet’s construction worker jacket, a very slight and hardly noticeable example of the human power that gives life to Legos.
The use of surreal and vivid colors, a running theme in Lord and Miller’s films, helps to build on the world that can truly only exist in the imagination. Several favorite and memorable characters
from Lego’s sets and a list of star-studded voice actors make brief appearances, such as Channing Tatum as Superman and Shaquille O’Neal as himself in
Will Arnett steals the show as the voice of the bombastic LEGO Batman and Liam Neeson lends his voice expertly to Bad Cop, and hilariously to Good Cop as well.
Lego sets, especially their licensed and themed ones, always come with instructions on how to build whatever is on the front of the box, and “The Lego Movie” plays off of that idea.
The instruction booklets, featuring the little arrows and numbered steps, comically control Emmet’s life. Everything from his job to his morning routine is dictated out on easy to follow pages.
The film shows that while you can follow the written instructions, the greatest creations come from your imagination, and anyone is capable of becoming a “MasterBuilder.” It revives the idea Legos are not just something to collect, but something to create with.
“The Lego Movie” touches on topics from what it means to be original to the importance of friends and family. It brings to life why people fall in love with Legos in the first place with an upbeat and timeless story as well as classic Lego originality that is hard not to enjoy.
In the simplest terms “The Lego Movie” is a sure hit and a definite classic because, as the song says, “everything is awesome.”