Friday, February 7, 2014

Everything is Awesome in The LEGO Movie

The cast of The LEGO Movie (Clockwise l-r) LEGO® characters Unikitty
(ALISON BRIE),
Benny (CHARLIE DAY), President Business (WILL FERRELL),
Metal Beard (NICK OFFERMAN), Emmet (CHRIS PRATT), Wyldstyle
(ELIZABETH BANKS),
 Batman (WILL ARNETT), and Gail (MELISSA STRUM.
Photo: 
Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and Lego System 

You would be hard pressed to find a movie that didn’t have a stronger brand tie-in than The LEGO Movie and having skepticism that a film like LEGO could be anything more than one big commercial for the product is warranted. While the company will no doubt profit greatly from the feature, the story is so much more. It is a celebration of childhood and creativity. It is also one clever film. It appears to be a simple story at the beginning but it grows into something with a lot more meaningful and heartfelt due to a plot twist near the end.

LEGO starts out like a silly, obnoxious Cartoon Network-type toon. While the children in the screening I went to were quite fine with this, I began to wonder if this would be a very long 90 minutes in the theater. To my surprise and delight, the film gets better and better as it goes on. The humor and storyline is very clever. It makes use of puns sparingly and doesn’t offer up any inappropriate jokes. It features a good message that everyone can relate to, not just children.
Except for the occasional Band-Aid or pencil eraser, the entire cast and set pieces are made up of LEGO figurines. These extra items appear to be out of place in the story, but as it goes on, their appearance makes sense.

Created by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street), LEGO is a computer animated film with the look of stop-motion animation. It is similar to and yet different from the animations found in the LEGO video games and the LEGO-themed animated TV shows.

LEGO opens with the daily routine of Emmet Brickowoski (voice of Chris Pratt) who is a very by-the-book sort of guy. He works for a construction company that tears down and then rebuilds buildings over and over again. His favorite TV show is “Honey, Where’s My Pants?,” his favorite song is “Everything is Awesome” and his favorite beverage is over-priced coffee. He’s not alone. These things are everyone’s favorites. Life is good but predictable until it is announced that President Business AKA Lord Business (Will Ferrell) will bring the LEGO world to an end as they know it on Taco Tuesday unless he and his minion Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) is stopped. Mistaken as “the special,” Emmet is sought after by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and Batman (Will Arnett) to help save their world. Let the fun begin.


The LEGO Movie is full of pop culture references and celebrities via LEGO form including Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), Superman (Channing Tatum), Shakespeare, Gandalf, Abraham Lincoln, Shaquille O’Neal, and even Lando and C-3PO voiced by Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels. It is a movie that everyone can appreciate and most will find funny. The kids will enjoy the adventure and parents will say “Ah…” in the end. It even features a catchy theme song. No song since Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World” has been catchier than “Everything is Awesome” which will stick in your head for weeks to come. Though there is a lot of violence and explosions, no LEGOs were harmed in the making of this film. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to build something as soon as you get home.



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