Review by-Jarrett Leahy
Looking around my Friday matinee showing of The LEGO Movie, it became quite obvious that I was the only adult in the crowd that didn’t have a minimum of two overly excited little youngsters in tow. Family films, especially animated ones have become big business in today’s cinema landscape; a studio having even a moderately entertaining one usually means a jackpot at the box office. The LEGO Movie is Warner Bros studios latest attempt at cashing in on this money train, recruiting the likes of Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Channing Tatum, Chris Pratt, Jonah Hill, and Liam Neeson to help bring this skillfully created world to life on screen.
Emmet Brickowoski (Pratt) is a standard, run of the mill LEGO figure who is mistakenly believed to be the long prophesized Masterbuilder sent to stop the evil Lord Business (Ferrell) from using the dreaded “Kragle” to glue their beloved universe together. Enlisted to join a group of LEGO superheros that include Superman (Tatum) & Batman (Arnett), it quickly becomes apparent that Emmet is not quite savior that the great Vitruvius (Freeman) has predicted. However, Emmet uses his “unique” ideas to help aid in protecting their LEGO world.
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, the writer/director team previously responsible for the animated film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, playfully borrow from past action franchises such The Matrix and Lord of the Rings to mockingly give Emmet a clueless Neo/Frodo “The One” type character. Adding to the satirical humor is the film’s irreverent depiction of a society so devoid of any original thought that they can only function with the aid of daily instructions on how to live their lives. Sixty five years of toy making has led to a plethora of LEGO sets, and The LEGO Movie adeptly takes advantage of this diverse toy universe, jumping from city settings, to the old west and high seas, even using LEGO’s relationship with Star Wars to have a humorous cameo from a galaxy far, far away complete with a LEGO Millennium Falcon.
The highlight of the film lies in the final 15 minutes, with a surprise plot shift that helps tie the story together. Inevitable comparisons to past Toy related animated films such as Toy Story and Wreck-It Ralph are fair, however I’d personally rank The LEGO Movie below those previous efforts. If I had one complaint, I found the LEGO movement animations got a bit repetitive, although I’m not sure there is much that could have been done differently. Overall however, it appears Warner Bros. Animation finally has a hit animated film on their hands. What they were able to create is a sweet, humorous and action packed family film that has enough smart, subtle satire to keep the adults entertained while the kiddos are having a blast.-JL