Posted March 17, 2014
By ROXANA MAZA
“The LEGO Movie,” which is the franchise’s first full-length film from both Warner Brothers and Village Roadshow Pictures, takes you on a wild and cuckoo adventure filled with fast-LEGO-building action and humor.
It will leave you singing the film’s chirpy, auto tuned theme, “Everything is Awesome,” well after it’s over.
The movie tells the tale of Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, who is a cheerful but average LEGO Joe who works in construction in the orderly city of Bricksburg.
You learn early in the film that he dreams of popularity and recognition from his co-workers and fellow neighbors.
The film’s main antagonist, President Business, voiced by Will Ferrell, is the monopolizing tycoon who owns Bricksburg and is disgusted by creativity. He desires to make all of the LEGO realms boringly uniform with use of his secret weapon, known as the Kragle.
A chain of events leaves Emmet literally stuck with the Piece of Resistance, which is needed to seal the Kragle, and meets tough-as-nails Wyldstyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks, who is a member of the rebellion group aware of President Business’ plans.
Wyldstyle mistakes Emmet for the “Special,” the person prophesized to save the LEGO world, and takes him on the quest to free Bricksburg and the neighboring realms from President Business. His ruthless henchman, Bad Cop (who also has a Good Cop side), voiced by Liam Neeson, gives unrelenting chase to the group throughout the film.
What makes the film captivating is the vividness, diversity and complexity of the characters, background and its story telling. The main character, Emmet, will strike you as a presumably boring person but, over the course of the film, his uniqueness and creativity develops. His fervent desire to be “one of the guys,” reveals his deep, personal struggle with being forgettable, lonely and average. He may not be unique like the others, but his conformist ways surprisingly result in successful teamwork in the film.
Wyldstyle, who is comically perceived as a DJ by Emmet due to her unusual name, comes off as a tough, fiery person. She is revealed in a scene by Vitruvius, the elderly mystic voiced by Morgan Freeman who prophesized about the “Special,” to have made up different names for herself. This hints at her personal identity struggle and that she is not as sure of herself as she pretends to be.
The wide array of characters also includes Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, whose “dark side” is hilariously exaggerated, such as claiming he only builds pieces in “black or very, very dark grey.”
A comical running gag in the film is the interaction between Superman and the Green Lantern. Perhaps because the Green Lantern didn’t fare well in the box office, in the film, he is portrayed as a klutz-of-a-hero, constantly sucking up to Superman and following him everywhere, and Superman does everything possible to get away.
Other mentionable characters are Uni-kitty, the bubbly, pink hybrid who hides a dark secret; MetalBeard, the pirate bent on revenge against President Business; and Benny, the 1980s-themed spaceman who is obsessed with building spaceships, and many more.
The movie is based in a very colorful world, made up of different LEGO realms, such as The Wild West, Middle Zealand, Cloud Cuckoo Land – which is the secret, creative heaven for free Master Builders – and, of course, metropolitan Bricksburg.
The film always keeps a sense of the fantastical LEGO world within each elaborately designed realm, adding details such as cowboys or farmers carrying their cows in their plastic arms, Emmet’s shower water falling in light blue blocks, and torch flames spiking upwards in a blocky fashion.
Perhaps what is most awe striking is the combination of real-life LEGO pieces and the CG animation, and how well it was executed. According to Warner Bros. Pictures, 3,863,484 total LEGO blocks were used in the film, but if the film were to be based solely on LEGO pieces, it would’ve needed more than 15 million.
What makes the film endearing is the manner in which the stop-motion – meaning the subtle, jerky movements of the LEGO characters and their interactions with their world – is incorporated and gives it a different touch than any other type of animated film. Watching it in 3D was highly entertaining and recommended. It makes it memorable, and makes you want more.
The story telling elements all complement one another and are done well. The story focuses on Emmet and his perspective, but it also doesn’t lose sight of the other characters. In fact, each of the main characters has a shining moment in the film.
The main theme is embracing your individuality; it’s about wriggling out of the strains of conformity and about realizing what makes you special. And looking beyond the LEGO world, it’s about embracing and cultivating creativity and imagination in our society’s youths, not gluing them down to be boring.
- “The LEGO Movie”
- Released Feb. 7, 2014, in the U.S. and North America. Released Feb. 14, 2014, in Europe and Asia.
- Cast: Chris Pratt as “Emmet;” Elizabeth Banks as “Wyldstyle;” Will Ferrell as “President Business;” Alison Brie as “Uni-kitty;” Will Arnett as “Batman;” Liam Neeson as “Good Cop/Bad Cop;” Morgan Freeman as “Vitruvius;” Charlie Day as “Benny;” Nick Offerman as “MetalBeard;” Channing Tatum as “Superman.”
- Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
- Duration: 95 minutes
- Available in 3D
- MPAA Rating: PG
- Film Rating: 4.5/5