3 1/2 StarsMy exposure to the Lego brand is limited to some imaginative tinkering during my pre-pubescent years. In the time since, the brand had grown exponentially and acquired the licensing rights to a myriad of other intellectual properties. Established franchises such as DC Comics, Lucas Film, etc. have all been re-imagined through the process of multi-colored plastic interlocking bricks. The fiendishly amusing and lovingly crafted Lego Movie is a blast, this is the first toy/movie cross-over that feels warranted. It doesn’t surprise that Chris Mckay’s name is listed in the production credits along with director Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. McKay’s Robot Chicken program on Adult Swim sports much of he same irreverent humor and dry comedy that is prevalent in this tale.
In the Lego world, a lonely construction worker, Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) discovers a mysterious woman snooping for something on his work site. Emmet confronts the woman named Wlydstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and falls into an abyss that leads him to the coveted Piece of Resistance. Emmet awakens from his hallucinatory trip only to find the Piece attached to his back. This leads to a meeting with the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), who recounts the struggle for control over a super-weapon called the “Kragle”, currently in the possession of the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Vitruvius imparts on Emmet the notion that a prophecy calls for “the Special” to stop the nefarious plans of Lord Business and his dreaded Kragle.
The group is aided by Wyldstyle’s on/off boyfriend, Batman (Will Arnett). Here, the winged avenger is portrayed as a lout with a predilection for selfishness and a weakness for partying. Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) relentlessly pursues the group looking to return to Piece to Lord Business. Without giving away too much plotting, there is a fantastic live-action segment that ties things together in a homogenized fashion.
Watching The Lego Movie, I was reminded for the innocent and wickedly clever children’s movies of my youth, The Sandlot, The Neverending Story and The Indian in the Cupboard are a few that spring to mind. All of these movies celebrate imagination, self-worth, and have the common element of kids being smarter than their adult counterparts. Numerous iconic references and figures pop up repeatedly in this endlessly imaginative family friendly film. The moniker of “family entertainment” has been diluted in recent years, but The Lego Movie is sure to please all members of the your clan. Older audience members can turn “spot the voice cast” moments into a drinking game, although with this plethora of star names and characters it may induce a coma. This is one of the years’ wittiest delights.
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Stars: Chris Pratt, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks