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I don’t usually start a review like this, but this movie deserves an exception. The Lego Movie was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Drop whatever you’re doing and go see it. Right now. Seriously. Go and see this movie immediately. Stop eating dinner and get in line at the theater. More on why I feel that way in a moment. The movie is about an average Lego construction worker named Emmett who is mistakenly believed to be “The Special,” a messiah-like chosen one who will save the Lego universe from the dastardly schemes of Lord Business. Chris Pratt, who is best known as Andy from Parks and Rec, plays Emmett, and Elizabeth Banks plays the female lead Wyldstyle (not even kidding, that’s how you spell it). Will Ferrell — who is absolutely hilarious in this movie — plays the evil villain Lord Business. There are so many other Hollywood stars in this film — from Liam Neeson to Channing Tatum — that you’ll have to visit IMDB.com after you see the film just to see the lengthy cast list.
Sexual Content: None.
Violence/Gore: Lego pieces flying everywhere! Just Lego violence — if you can even call it violence.
Language: None. It’s all gosh, darn, heck — which actually adds to the innocent, nostalgic humor of watching a movie with zany Lego characters. It’s as if Tim Tebow reviewed the script beforehand and replaced every word of exclamation with his cleaner version.
Alcohol/Drug/Smoking Content: None.
Frightening/Intense Content: Some of the Lego minions of Lord Business might be a little frightening to smaller kids. There are some intense Lego action scenes and special effects that might also be a little much for the wee ones. Basically no kid under six should see it. My wife offered this litmus test: “if a kid could handle Wreck It Ralph, then they can handle this movie.”
(Review continues below)
Before this movie, Toy Story 3 reigned (in my mind) as the King of Animated (or Stop-Motion) movies as far as film craft and entertainment value is concerned. Without a doubt, The Lego Movie is as good if not better than Toy Story 3. The entire theater, which was filled with mostly adults at the showing I attended, was roaring with laughter from beginning to end. My side hurt. It’s just a wonderfully clever story with brilliant comedic writing in both the dialogue and the timing of visual gags. Speaking of the visuals, the magnificence of the special effects and cinematography is a delight to experience. It’s one of the most colorful, painstakingly detailed visual treats I’ve seen in a long time of any movie genre. Reportedly, the filmmakers used a very tricky blend of stop-motion capture with real Lego figures and CGI. And everything — from the clouds and water to the lasers — are made of Legos. It’s incredible to watch a vast, churning ocean made completely with Lego blocks. Other moments, like seeing the obvious Lego parts used to create the effect of lasers shooting, just added to the hilarity. Watching the bright Tron-like futuristic colors was like witnessing a Pop Art piece by Andy Warhol come to life on the big screen. The visual richness also reminded me of Wreck It Ralph, which — coincidentally — also channeled 1980s nostalgia with its immersion in the 8-bit video game world. You could watch a double feature of Wreck It Ralph and The Lego Movie, and they would go together perfectly — though the latter was much more hilarious, zany, and thought-provoking, which leads into the next category of this review.
Many people will not be expecting anything deep from this film, but it actually has some profoundly meaningful content artfully stacked and snapped into its layers of Lego fun. This is one of the reasons why I am giving it such a five-star “go see it now!” review. Not only is it fun and clean for the whole family, it packs a thoughtful punch. I actually can’t say too much about the movie’s “redemptive value” without moving into spoiler alert territory, but the film has an overarching theme that has some very wise, Biblical lessons for both parents and their kids. Even if you’re not a parent, the movie provokes some deep thinking about how we relate to people. The film also asks some thought-provoking questions in its subtext: are we really perceiving others how they are and approaching them without self-focused motives or are we seeing them the way we want to see them? Are we really paying attention to each other and seeing the truth or are we just projecting ourselves onto others and fashioning our own vision of people in our minds?
The film also provides a razor-sharp satire of our shallow, conformist popular culture. It’s not pretentious or lecturing, however. It’s all done in a persuasive, side-splitting hilarity. It’s wonderful. It also works as a fun parody of all the epic “chosen one” type movies like The Matrix, Batman Begins, Superman, and all the other epic mythologies that our culture loves.
I walked out of the movie theater with a smile on my face, still laughing and talking about the movie long after it had ended. I’m sure you will too. You might even have a sudden urge to pick up some Lego packs at Target and build something when you get home!
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