When it was first announced that there was going to be a LEGO movie, most of us rolled our eyes at such a blatant cash grab. Slowly though, as the cast and directors were announced, it seemed like it could actually be good and then the first trailer hit and it quickly became one of my most anticipated movies of this year. I’m happy to say that the movie blew away all my expectations. From the moment it starts, it’s non stop nerdy joy being injected directly into your eyeballs.
The movie follows Emmett, voiced by Chris Pratt, a boring, normal, non-descript LEGO construction worker who fully embraces the conformity enforced by the evil President Business (Will Ferrell). One night after work, Emmett sees a mysterious figure who turns out to be Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who is looking for “The Piece of Resistance”, an artifact that can stop President Business from destroying the world. Emmett stumbles on the Piece instead and is assumed to be “the special”, a master builder capable of creating amazing LEGO creations. Emmett is far from that but is open to training to possibly become one, but is now the target of President Business’ main henchman, Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). The movie follows the same structure as most “chosen one” adventures like Star Wars or The Matrix but since directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are huge nerds like us, they completely subvert all the tropes of the structure. The backstory and mythology is constantly being ignored by Emmett, his mentor, Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), is completely unhelpful and crazy and he gathers an incredibly motley group of allies that includes Batman (Will Arnett), Uni-Kitty, a My Little Ponyesque character with a hidden dark side voiced by Alison Brie, Benny, a 1980’s LEGO “space guy” voiced by Charlie Day and MetalBeard, a pirate who lost his body in a prior attack against President Business and assembled a new robotic body from various spare parts (voiced by Nick Offerman). There’s also tons of amazing cameos from characters ranging from Superman to Shaquille O’Neal. The cast is pretty much perfect and they all bring tons of energy and fun to their parts.
Lord and Miller completely embrace everything LEGO and it’s an absolute joy to see the world they created using the Dutch bricks. Literally everything in the universe is assembled by LEGOs, even elements like fire, water and smoke are built by bricks. They also reference or actually visit many of the themed sets like Wild West, Space, Medieval, City, etc. They also make the characters move in the limitations of the mini figure, which adds to the charm and makes it feel like a family friendly Robot Chicken. Those limitations don’t hamper the action sequences though, which are all incredibly fun and creative and usually involves the team assembling a vehicle while under an insane amount of fire from Bad Cop and his robotic minions and then usually there’s at least 1 transformation of that vehicle. There’s also a Toy Storyesque layer on top of the universe in that there’s a “guy upstairs” that everyone believes in and President Business has collected various “relics” that include a bandage, nail polish, a q-tip and more and this gets more fully realized during the climax of the movie.
If you’re a LEGO fan, especially of original generic sets, the movie has a kind of interesting stance and is advocating a return to the original, build anything, style of playing with LEGOs. With the newer kits, there are so many custom pieces, and they are so expensive, that it’s becoming more of a niche collector item that is built and then preserved, which is plan of President Business. The Master Builders of the movie embrace the philosophy of being creative and building anything and that’s kind of ultimately what saves the day.
Bottom line, I pretty much love The Lego Movie with every fiber of my being. Every new character introduced and every set piece is so much fun that if you don’t leave the theater with a gigantic grin, you are a souless, dead inside robot. You have to see this movie as soon as possible and, even though it’s incredibly early in the year, I can already see it being incredibly high on my Top 10 list.