Childish but clever, with mockery and parody joke ingredients that savvy adults can devilishly giggle at. The LEGO Movie is done with stop-motion animation, creating the illusion of LEGO toys moving in seamless sequence. Slyly, the fantasy world imagined is a fascist state distracted by constant dumb-down entertainment and instruction booklet laws. Vanilla guy Emmet (Chris Pratt, voice-by) works daily as a lowly construction worker, living in a bric-a-brac apartment, bopping along to the city anthem “Everything is Awesome,” and is absent of any individuality. The fiendish President Business (Will Ferrell) reigns over all, and so disgusted by nonconformity that he vows to end the world by unleashing the Kragle, a laser-like tip weapon that shoots… well, it’s very much a Bond villain weapon.
The plot is simple enough. Can Emmet rise from ordinary guy status to become the One to save humanity? If you thought that some of this sounds like “The Matrix” and Wachowski movies in general, you are correct. And please note, there is a dash of the remake of “Total Recall” fascist-world story in there, too. Everything though is done with such gleeful, cheeky humor and plastic-breaking action (And lasers! Blast the lasers!), that it’s all in kiddie age-appropriate fun.
Our ineffectual hero gets lots of help from more crusading figures: Batman (Will Arnett), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), Abraham Lincoln (Orville Forte), Superman (Channing Tatum), a white-haired wizard named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman, hilarious in his austerity), and a renegade chick who would be a better One named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). The One is supposed to be a Master Builder, but Emmet, despite his construction background, has no talent for it. President Business’ right-hand man is schizophrenic Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), who hunts Emmet and the good guys in-between western worlds and cloud worlds, and even an underwater world.
There is another remarkable world, too, for a LEGO character breaks the fourth dimension to enter the human world. It made little sense, plot-wise, until I sat back and considered the scene through the eyes of a 5-year old, and I smiled when I found myself using that kind of innocent imagination. Conventional logic is not rewarded here. I ultimately didn’t care though that much of the hero overthrew fascism, in fact, hours later the ending just sort of evaporated from my mind. I laughed hardest during the early scenes best when the movie draws into this very regulated, cog-driven fascist state that placates the people with that catchy-annoying song, designer coffee, and pants (!).
I see hundreds of movies more than the average person each year. “The LEGO Movie” is not going to be one that I will remember wholeheartedly, I will not be able to quote it (except the three lyrics of that whacked song), but if it came on television one day I would probably watch it a few minutes here and there. But I think young kids not oversaturated with too many movies in their brain (like I am) are going to love this movie for a long time. It’s delightful and it has clean humor, which “Team America: World Police” did not. What’s also funny is that it is actually well-constructed, err, well-made.
101 Minutes. Rated PG.
FAMILY ANIMATION MOVIE / GOOFY / WEEKEND FAMILY MOVIE
Film Cousins: “Toy Story” (1995); “The Matrix” (1999); “Team America: World Police” (2004); “Wall-E” (2008).