Friday, February 7, 2014

[Review] The Lego Movie

When first hearing about a Lego movie, 'straight-to-DVD' came to mind. But when details emerged that Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street) were behind it , intrigue sparked. Then, the amusing trailer released, revealing an all-star cast, and an abundance of clever gags. I thought, "This has the chance to be something special, or maybe it's just a big, messy pile of crap." Now that the film has arrived in theaters in all of its vibrant and snappy glory, The Lego Movie proves to be one of the best animated films of the last 10 years, and it accomplishes the difficult task of greatly satisfying both kids and adults.

It begins with Emmet (Chris Pratt), just an average LegJoe, if you will. When described by his acquaintances, "nothing special about him" comes to mind. One night, he stumbles upon a magical artifact and is mistaken as the chosen one to save the world from the hostile reign of President Business (Will Ferrell). Emmet is joined by a rebel warrior named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), and they team with a wise wizard named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and a large handful of others, which include Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and even Gandalf. The list goes on, but I'll omit the cast names and characters for the sake of surprise.

The animation is immediately unique and glitchy, providing a feast of color and texture that utilizes every inch of frame, and the art design takes full advantage of the Lego universe. No Lego is left behind. Each detail is charmingly vivid; if you look close enough you can see fingerprints and scuff marks on the pieces. It all manages to be busy and eye-popping without being overwhelming.

While the story is a fittingly fast-paced free-flow of ideas, the action sequences are packed tightly and all of the jokes connect with precise timing. The script is stacked with joyous slapstick, as well as witty and referential humor, making it a fun and high-powered comedy on all fronts.

The Lego Movie is an underdog-to-hero tale at the center, but it's also more substantive and intricate than expected--working as a postmodern jumble of cinematic icons, a deftly aware culmination of blockbuster tropes, and a sly critique of consumer culture. It delivers a genuinely heartfelt message that embraces imagination and deconstructs the confines of society. Emmet's journey of self-discovery is profound and resonant, and there's a twist that might leave a lump in your throat.

Everything is awesome about The Lego Movie. Now I can't wait for it to come out on DVD.


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