Movie Review: The Lego Movie


Every once in a while, a film needs to come around that alleviates all of your worries and reminds you that everything is awesome. As the main song suggests, “The Lego Movie” is exactly what you are looking for.

“The Lego Movie” is the movie that I had no idea I was waiting for. Even after waiting a week to see it, the hype does not tamper its impact at all. “The Lego Movie” proves that you don’t have to be Pixar to create something that is both great for kids and the annoyed parents that they drag with them to the movies.

Here’s the thing: I fall into neither of those categories. I am not young enough to be a child or old enough to take care of one. I am in the state between childhood and adulthood, which is why “The Lego Movie” was perfect for me.

The greatest trick “The Lego Movie” pulls is making a 90 minute Lego ad that doesn’t feel like one at all. Maybe that’s because nobody needs to advertise Legos anymore; at this point, the word is basically a part of the English language. Therefore, making a Lego movie is much more than just a blind cash grab.

Yes, “The Lego Movie” has a real story. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker and a fairly boring dude. He only likes the pop song that everyone listens to (“Everything is Awesome”) and the most popular sitcom (“Where’s My Pants,” which just reeks of “The Big Bang Theory”). He is an empty vessel, to hilarious effect. That is until he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who wins him over because she is a really hot Lego. He also finds out that he is the “chosen one” who will lead the Resistance against President Business (Will Ferrell) and reunite all of the Lego worlds. This is how the movie is able to bring Batman (Will Arnett) into the story. Will Arnett, by the way, might be the best Batman to date.

“The Lego Movie” is infectious. Try to watch it and not have a great time. It is packed to the brim with jokes, like it is trying to throw as much as it can against the wall. Basically all of it sticks. It crosses different pop culture zones with such ease while everyone involved also seems to be having a blast. This is the best opportunity you will get to watch some really respected actors basically making fun of themselves. Liam Neeson gets to play a tough cop loosely based off of his “Taken” persona, while Morgan Freeman gets to play the sage, but with much less useful advice.

Animation is probably the greatest way to boil down a complicated world view into something both simple and farcical. Hey, life itself is pretty cartoonish, and “The Lego Movie” is the cartoonish thing it deserves to imitate it. “The Lego Movie” is all about the goods that we consume everyday with such ease. What does it say about us that the song “Everything is Awesome,” the only song that DJs play on the radio, is so damn catchy?

But “The Lego Movie” is not a pop song, it is pop art. I feel weird for saying that, but it is true. “The Lego Movie” comes from the minds of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The two of them also collaborated on “21 Jump Street.” They have a rare talent for taking a really bad idea and turning it into a really good product. Originality is rare today in Hollywood, and most remakes and movies based on toys are immediately shunned by the press, even if they do well at the box office. There really is something great to be said about taking something dusty and stale and turning it into something exciting and new. Lord and Miller actually respect the source material that they work with.

“The Lego Movie” not only makes the toy-based movie good, but also movies in general. It follows the typical movie structure basically to a T. If you know movies, then you will see that it hits basically every important plot point at just the right time. Yet, it takes all of those and hits the biggest high note possible. There is a big speech, but it is actually a good speech. It has a big third act twist that could have been disastrous, but it ends up giving the film its heart. Basically, “The Lego Movie” restored my faith in formula.

Despite playing by the rules, “The Lego Movie” is also about anarchy. It is about the power of drawing outside the lines and using your imagination. What Lord and Miller are doing with their career is playing the Hollywood game, but doing it the way that they want to. “The Lego Movie” is like watching a really creative kid who is on his way to being a really smart kid playing with his toys. “The Lego Movie” is like reliving your childhood, but with much better lighting.

Brain Farts From The Edge (Some Spoilers Follow)

  • Not that the series needs any help, but Lord and Miller deserve their own “Muppets” movie.
  • Little kids will watch Unikitty (Alison Brie), but probably not find her funny until they are much older.
  • I’m calling it now: “The Lego Movie” is this generation’s “Toy Story.” There, I said it.
  • Yes, this brought tears to my eyes at one point. When father and son hug, it is just such a sweet moment. The fact that I got this emotional over two characters that are barely in the movie says a lot about how effective “The Lego Movie” is.
  • I love how the little sisters’ lego blocks are those big ones they gave you because you were two young to handle the little ones. Just a nice little detail.
  • Is there a better on screen pairing than Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill? Their Superman and Green Lantern deserve their own spinoff.
  • Speaking of which, in terms of that whole controversy of “The Lego Movie” stealing the Superman joke from Jerry Seinfeld: I think that Jerry might have been joking around with those Tweets. Comedians do enjoy sarcasm. If he isn’t, then he should really back off. Jerry, I think you’ve got enough money. Let them have this one. They earned it.