The comedy filmmaking team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller are on a roll…and they definitely know it. They can make live action (21 Jump Street) or animation (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) funny, so it’s logical that they blended both in their film, The LEGO Movie, which will continue into a film series as well as the spin-offs of Batman and Ninjago – a new wave of marketing movies that further established brands without insulting their fan base and general audience intelligence. It’s not an extended commercial for LEGOs. Audiences can enjoy a real story among the antics and “wild styles”.
Adults can laugh just as much as the kids thanks to endless references, sight gags, and hilarious jokes. The constant action can overwhelm at times, but the ending results satisfy on many levels. A unique band of “master builder” heroes combine forces throughout an equally unique narrative that has a pleasantly surprising twist near the end.
A construction worker named Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt (TV’s Parks & Recreation) lives a normal life until he finds Lucy/Wyldstyle rummaging through his site. Soon he is caught in a whirlwind adventure where the protagonists (Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Benny the astronaut (Charlie Day), Unikitty (Allison Brie), and wise elder Vitruvius, (Morgan Freeman)) face off against Lord Business, voiced by Will Farrell, and Bad Cop/Good Cop, voiced by Liam Neeson. This voice cast impresses with incredible work and precise timing among the satire and imaginative scenarios.
Lord and Miller keep the seemingly frantic plot under control with Dan and Kevin Hageman. Their impressive balance doles out perfectly punctual life lessons (think for yourself, believe, etc.) with memorable dialogue, funny one-liners and endless references to practical items and pop culture that create a bridge to a truly genius development in the film’s second half. The colorful design, set pieces and fluid CG all enhance a basic phenomenon that already had mass appeal.
Filmmakers did not have to do much, but did so much more. Should have got an Oscar nomination for animated feature and original screenplay, but got it one for Tegan and Sara’s infectious song “Everything is Awesome”, which is prominently featured as Emmet introduces his world to the audience. An entertaining blast for all ages, The LEGO Movie comes highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) and is rated PG for action violence. The sequel is currently set for a 2019 release.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler