Movie Review: The LEGO Movie

AMC Theaters did it to me again. They managed to entice me to see Frozen by offering a free Olaf pin with each ticket purchase. While I was inclined to see the movie, I would have been content waiting for it to be released on Blu-Ray, but the promise of gifts pushed me to pay the ticket price. This time, AMC offered a free LEGO mini-figure with each ticket to see The LEGO Movie this weekend. As I can be easily bribed, I quickly made plans with the wife to hit the theaters.

So was the LEGO Man worth the price of the tickets?
Simply, yes. It's hard to put into words the greatness of The LEGO Movie because of how different it is from classic animated films. It's fantastic to watch because the entire thing looks so real; despite the seeming stop-motion animated look to the film, it was mostly comprised through CGI, with a few stop-motion touches here and there. It's remarkable to watch, as well as somewhat jarring at times. The filmmakers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs fame, show their full range of cleverness when it comes to animating a LEGO city, with special attention to the effects. water is represents by the small, translucent blue one-pieces and used in such a way that large bodies of water are amazing to watch. A similar effect is used for smoke, which comes into play often with all of the explosions.

The movie focuses on Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), a regular ordinary guy who follows the rules and tries to be friends with everyone. Emmet stumbles upon to prophesied "Piece de Resistance" (spelled as it's pronounced) which would allow him to thwart the plans of the nefarious Lord Business (Will Ferrell). It's an effective enough plot to put the movie into motion and manages to create a fun story. As the story progresses, the film introduces a plethora of other LEGO-flavored characters like Vitruvious, Wyldstyle, and Unikitty (voice by Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, and Alison Brie respectively). A Will Arnett-voiced Batman also plays a significant role in the movie, as well as offering a number of hilarious punchlines.

Many successful animated films try to include a smattering of humor to appeal to adults, something to break the doldrums of having to take the kids to yet another cartoon. The LEGO Movie doesn't do that yet it still manages to be funny without resorting to childish humor and fart jokes. Instead it relies on irreverent humor which really hit home with me but may not resonate as well with everyone. There were times when I was the only one in a nearly packed theater laughing. Maybe I was the only one who got the joke; maybe it says something about my intelligence. Either way, the comedy here isn't universal but the excitement and story more than makes up for it. I also enjoyed the running gag of the movie's theme song, "Everything is Awesome". While it is a catchy ditty, having it stuck in your head as an earworm for the rest of the day was less than awesome.

But humor isn't the only thing The LEGO Movie offers viewers. It also contains a pretty obvious message, one of self-expression. Lord Business wants to make his world uniform, unchanging. He wants everything to fit into his ideal mold of how things should be. But Vitruvious and Wyldstyle are part of a clan of "Master Builders", those who can create anything their imagination can come up with. As the idea of imagination permeates the movie, it's meant to imply that free-thinking is better than conformity. That everyone is special in their own way as long as they want to be. While I loved the majority of the movie, from the story to the humor, the moral just came off as heavy-handed.

The LEGO Movie is little more than a 90-minute commercial for the building block sets, featuring many of their popular franchises, like the DC Super Heroes (who take more than center stage for the film), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Ninjago. But none of that bothered me at all because what movie aimed at kids isn't looking to move a few million units of movie tie-in toys? The only difference is that the LEGO sets aren't going to flood the shelves of Target for three months before disappearing into obscurity. LEGO is loved by kids and adults and won't be going away any time soon.

It also has an amazingly fun, interactive promotional standee.


  1. It makes me happy to be able to recommend this to anyone, and just know that they'll have a wonderful time. Good review Michael.

    1. Thank you for the kind words! If you get the chance to see it, I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did.


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