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Film Review: 'The LEGO Movie'

Michael Huard |
February 8, 2014 | 6:18 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The LEGO Movie” is silly. The film is pure, unadulterated silliness and it should not be any other way. Why? Because those little blocks that, when stepped on, cause the fury and pain of one thousand paper cuts also give children and adults alike the opportunity to tap into their creativity and imagination. 

Herein lies the premise for one of the most ingenious, well-crafted animated films in years. Piggybacking on the nostalgia of “Wreck-It Ralph,” LEGO takes the simple idea of being unique or special and adding a level of poignancy that attaches itself to adults by the film’s end. 

In essence, a dictatorial businessman/fiery overlord (Will Ferrell) plans on destroying the world, but not before a secret society of “master builders” try and stop him with the help of an average construction worker (Chris Pratt), who must unleash his own creativity in order to save the world. The mythology behind the story is unnecessarily complex, harkening back to the recent slew of superhero films with unintelligible plotlines. But this does not prevent the film from embracing its inner child.

The animation is wondrous. Aesthetically, the film captivates the younger audience members into a trance-like state. Vibrant colors flash wildly across the screen. Explosions and car chases occur every few minutes. There is even a vast array of character types that bring an extra spark. 

The rest of the film, though, is for the adults. 

To enjoy “The LEGO Movie” there is not a prerequisite of having played with Lego toy sets as a child. For instance, you are reading a review from someone raised more on K’NEX sets than Lego. Gasp, you should. The horror! Blasphemy! But the specific Lego-related references that only true aficionados would appreciate are few and far between. 

A base level knowledge of popular culture is required to understand a significant amount of the dialogue, however. With a ridiculous cast, including Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Will Forte, Jonah Hill and Nick Offerman—to name only a few—writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller take every opportunity to insert a reference, joke or self-aware comment. They know how ridiculous the idea of a Lego movie is and want you to join the fun. 

While the bulk of the movie pushes the idea of being unique down your throat, a brilliant twist comes towards the end that brings the whole film together. Lord and Miller successfully use plants (hints) throughout the film that pay off as our hero winds his way through the Lego universe. As a result, the reveal comes as a pleasant surprise just when it seems the finale will fall flat. 

Nothing about the film is aesthetically subtle, but the final message adds some weight to a enthusiastically light-hearted story. Elbert Hubbard and a multitude of others remind us to not take life too seriously. “The LEGO Movie” does the same, but in a flashy, tongue-in-cheek way. Everything about LEGO is indeed awesome. 

Read more by Michael at MHMovieReviews.com.

Reach Staff Reporter Michael Huard here.



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