Everything IS awesome
The first truly terrific movie of 2014 is an eye-popping CGI-based animated film that features beloved toys, iconic film characters and a frenetic and witty screenplay that will enrapture adults as well as kids of all ages. Is it “Toy Story 4” you ask? Not quite.
Though “The Lego Movie” won’t exactly topple the kingdom governed by the folks at Pixar, co-writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “21 Jump Street”) have fashioned a creative whiz-bang of a film to rival any recent animated movie.
There likely are few humans in civilized societies who aren’t aware of the little plastic blocks that have fascinated us for over 60 years and have become more elaborate and intricate with each passing generation. The story of ‘Lego’ capitalizes on the fact that only the imagination limits how the toys can be used, and within the adventurous story is a subtle commentary on the dangers of conformity and mass consumption.
(But parents need not fear any heavy-handed message. See “The Lorax” for that.)
Kids will be caught up by the protagonist Emmet (Chris Pratt), an average, unassuming construction guy to whom following instructions is critical – and who feels completely inadequate when chosen to be “The Special.” It turns out a prophecy, care of the all-wise Vituvius (Morgan Freeman), demands that a master builder is needed to save the world from the megalomaniacal Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Of course Emmet will find his calling, with the help of some pretty hilarious allies including Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), and an inspired, random collection of famous superheroes, Star Wars characters, historical figures and 80s icons. In a gag that doesn’t get old, Lord Business’ henchman is a schizophrenic good cop/bad cop voiced by Liam Neeson.
Yes, the pacing is hyperactive, and enough things are happening onscreen it’s impossible to catch all the references and totally appreciate the incredible detail of the painstakingly created imagery. But there are worse problems to have than a film that rewards multiple viewings. Mark Mothersbaugh (from the rock group Devo) crafts a cool soundtrack; the opening song is unrelentingly catchy.
But there’s a twist to the chaotic mayhem in the film’s final act where the story slows down and offers a gentle cautionary ending, sure to warm the hearts of fathers and sons everywhere.
Considering how long Legos have been around and their profound impact, it is amazing no one has thought to make this movie before. But “The Lego Movie” proves unquestionably to be worth the wait.