'The LEGO Movie' triumphs as a block-buster

All-star cast, comedy, heart keep film from falling to pieces

At first glance, “The LEGO Movie” appears unimpressive. The film is basically a grand display of product placement — blatant, continuous, in-your-face product placement. But despite the film’s shortfalls, it’s hard to deny that the “The LEGO movie” is awesome — really awesome — and won’t easily be forgotten.

When the movie begins, we are introduced to Emmet, a construction worker LEGO, who is unaware of how unspectacular his life is. When he goes about his daily routine singing the movie’s theme song, “Everything is Awesome,” Emmet proves that average can be exciting with enough enthusiasm. Long after the credits roll, you will find yourself singing along to the song more than you ever thought possible.

The computer-generated imagery for the LEGO pieces is superb, providing some of the best animation I’ve seen in years. Many times throughout the movie, Emmet and his crew construct automobiles, weapons, or, in one instance, even a double-decker couch — so everyone can watch TV together as buddies. The end result is a fantastic world for the audience created and recreated from nothing more than LEGO pieces.

With appearances by Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Will Arnett, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Jonah Hill, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman, “LEGO” has no shortage of star power. More specifically, there’s no shortage of talent, as the all-star cast masters the comedic and emotional beats. Pratt and Banks play the leading man and lady, but the two most notable performances are those of Day and Arnett as LEGO characters Spaceman Benny and Batman. I couldn’t refrain from laughing every time their characters spoke.

PG movies face the challenge of appealing to both children and their parents, and in this way “LEGO” excels. There was ample comedy for young and old audience members alike, particularly in the double-entendre style à la “Shrek”. Without sharing any spoilers, I’ll admit the movie’s emotional capacity gut-punched me more than a few times.

Whether you see the movie on your own, with a friend or with a loved one, you’re going to have a good time. It’s impossible not to. “The LEGO Movie” is fast-paced, fun and surprisingly thoughtful — succeeding far beyond the efforts of most children’s films.


Published February 18, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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