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Five Views: The Lego Movie

February 7, 2014

The Lego Movie PosterThe Lego Movie – A Warner Bros. Release

Release Date: February 7th, 2014

Rated G for mild action and rude humour

Running time: 100 minutes

Phil Lord (director)

Chris Miller (director)

Phil Lord (screenplay)

Chris Miller (screenplay)

Mark Mothersbaugh (music)

Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowoski (voice)
Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle (voice)
Will Arnett as Batman (voice)
Will Ferrell as Lord Business (voice)
Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius (voice)
Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop (voice)
Nick Offerman as Metal Beard (voice)
Alison Brie as Unikitty (voice)
Charlie Day as Benny (voice)

The Lego Movie

Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and Emmet (Chris Pratt) in The Lego Movie.

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The Lego Movie Review By John Corrado

**1/2 (out of 4)

Although The Lego Movie is essentially a feature length commercial for the plastic building bricks, this is an entertaining and at times surprisingly imaginative film that provides fun for those of all ages.  Despite the blatantly obvious title, kids who spend their days playing with Lego will go crazy for everything happening onscreen, and adult fans of the classic Danish toy might just be equally delighted.

The action starts with a prophecy bestowed by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) about a piece of red plastic, which is later discovered by Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary construction worker living in a city built by following the instructions.  But the overly strict Lord Business (Will Ferrell) is trying to permanently stick their world together, with the help of his henchman Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), who can literally switch sides by spinning his head and becoming Good Cop.  Emmet is happy to be chosen as “The Special,” teaming up with Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and her arrogant boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), to find a place for the mysterious red piece and hopefully restore freedom across the different Lego lands.

The film has the feel of something that Lego fans with too much time on their hands could have made in their own basement, which adds a certain charm to watching this colourful world come alive.  Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller do what they did with the amusing Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs back in 2009, delivering a fun animated film that seems more impressive because of the ways they build upon a simplistic premise.  The animation here is often visually striking, with the characters moving in a stop motion style as the nicely plastic vistas unfold in the background.  There are some delightful sequences, including amusing cameos from various classic characters, all brought to life through a good voice cast.

But despite all of these well deserved compliments, The Lego Movie isn’t a reinvention of animation like some of the early buzz has proclaimed, and I personally wouldn’t even use the title of the incessant earworm “Everything is Awesome” as a describing adjective for the film.  There are some contradicting messages about throwing all the pieces together versus following the instructions, the way kids play with toys versus how adults appreciate them, and the sheer amount of stuff happening onscreen sometimes left me cold.  But The Lego Movie does get points for at least trying to have a heart behind all the action, which I suspect will be even more affective for those who actually have kids.

Although for me lacking the warmth and sensitivity of Pixar’s Toy Story franchise or Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, other superior animated films that successfully blended characters from different worlds, The Lego Movie is still fun.  This is a hyperactive and brightly animated film that boasts a sense of imagination similar to what the title toy encourages, offering laughs for audiences of all ages along with an amusingly unpredictable screenplay that even has a few surprises.

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The Lego Movie Review by Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Lego.  It’s a world that most of us have delved into at some point, using our imaginations to create entire landscapes, things, and stories with the bricks and mini-figures.  Some of us have even used the mini-figures as a means to play around with stop-motion animation.  And that’s where The Lego Movie works.  While CG, it has the look of stop-motion, and the feel of a world that we ourselves could have created and made.

I will admit, the trailers really never did much for me – they seemed like a pretty random mishmash of ideas, and the film does have a lot of randomness thrown in.  But it actually works.  The story follows one regular mini-figure (just a classic little Lego man like found in any construction set) named Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt).  Emmet gets up every day, follows the same routine, then goes to the construction site where he works to build buildings according to the instructions.  He works for Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who wants everything run by the instructions and can’t stand any creative ideas that veer away from them.  Lord Business even has a weapon called a ‘Kra-gle” that he wants to unleash in order to force his rigidity.

Enter the resistance team led by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman).  They are looking for a piece that will stop Lord Business from ending the Lego world as they know it, and believe that Emmet is ‘The Special’ – the one foretold to stop him.  Once Emmet gets caught up in all of this, he realizes that his precious little orderly world is a lot bigger and a lot more complicated than he once thought, and he has to figure out whether he really is special, or just the ordinary nobody he always believed he was.  The film takes an interesting turn in the final act, that while not completely unpredictable, provides an extra take on this whole Lego world thing.

What I really liked about the film, was how ‘Lego’ it all felt.  The bricks and textures were very real, the characters moved only as Lego can, and all of the special effects (fire, water, even an ocean sequence) are made of multiple little bricks and Lego pieces all moving simultaneously, but also realistically to their properties.  The animation team did a great job with this one.

Other nice touches were how many mini-figures they threw in here, including a bunch from movie/comic book sets (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Han Solo, Gandalf, etc.), as well as the generic ones such as 1980-something space guy, a basketball team, construction workers, robots, and even a good cop/bad cop (Liam Neeson) who can spin his face around depending on which side he is playing.  All of these guys included provided funny moments, and worked because of the nature for so many Lego pieces to end up in the same set-up together.

In my book, The Lego Movie is not the best animated film I’ve seen recently, but it is a ton of fun, and keeps to the spirit of a Lego world.  While there were a few moments where I found myself getting stuck in the logistics of the third-act twist and what it completely meant, overall I found it to be an entertaining ride that is worth the price of admission.

For Lego fans young and old, The Lego Movie is a surprising hit.

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The Lego Movie Review by Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Everyone remembers playing with LEGO, or still plays with it.  The Lego Movie delves into the world of this timeless toy set.  Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a typical mini figure construction worker.  He follows the instructions of President Business (Will Ferrell), the seemingly friendly dictator of Bricksburg.  But wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) warns about President Buisness in a prophecy, and only “the Special” can defeat him.

Emmet believes he is “the Special” and teams up with freedom fighter Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and LEGO batman (Will Arnett) to stop President Business, and his two-faced minion Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson), from ending creativity with a mysterious substance known as KraGle.  The Lego Movie is surprisingly brilliant.  The CGI animation moves like stop motion LEGO films, in a charming and sometimes jerky fashion.

A clever twist drives home the message about creativity, imagination and thinking outside the box.  The film favours open-ended play strongly over close-minded play.  While there is room for both, The Lego Movie will inspire both the young and young at heart to look beyond preset ideas and create something entirely new.

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The Lego Movie Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Picture getting all your boxed LEGO sets and putting them on display, then take your bucket of individual bricks, shaking it and tossing it among the neat displays.  That’s how the surprisingly entertaining The Lego Movie feels at times.  All kinds of LEGO stuff is put together and somehow a story about thinking outside and inside the box is the result.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a generic yellow LEGO construction figure whose job is to follow the instructions and keep the town of Bricksburg built up and tidy.  Leader of Bricksburg, President/Lord Business (Will Ferrell) likes things to be done according to the instructions and has bigger plans for the town.  Helping him keep everyone in line is his minion Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson), whose dual Irish personality is one of the funniest things in the movie.

Order is disrupted when an intruder on the construction site is discovered by Emmet.  Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a free spirited figure, sets off a chain of events that leads Emmet to discover a secret that will change the course of their world.  At least that’s what the prophecy foretold by wizardly figure Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) says will happen.  Emmet is deemed to be “the Special” who has the power to change things.

Wyldstyle and Emmet end up in a magical world where all kinds of unique LEGO creatures and figures, including her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett) work together to save their world.  The Lego Movie is over the top in terms of nonstop action and energy.  Thanks to some really good CGI, the LEGO figures movie like real figures and the entire set looks like something you could build with LEGO bricks.  If this movie accomplishes nothing else, it will certainly increase sales for LEGO.  It will also give the world another earworm with the song “Everything is Awesome.”

The Lego Movie is amusing for anyone who has ever enjoyed LEGO, no matter how old you are or what building style you prefer.  Watch the movie, then pull out some LEGO and have fun.

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The Lego Movie Review by Tony

*** (out of 4)

The Lego Movie plays almost entirely within various realms of the LEGO universe. Having stolen the cataclysmic freeze weapon known as the “Kra   Gl e” from its ancient bearded guardian Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) has made himself president of a dystopic society of conformist consumers of entertainment and products of his Octan Corporation. According to legend, the long lost Piece of Resistance is the only way to neutralize the Kra   Gl e.

When Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary worker who normally follows the Instructions, stumbles upon the Piece, he is rescued by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) from the president’s two-faced Irish good cop/bad cop (Liam Neeson) and brought to Vitruvius and his band of MasterBuilders and superheroes including Batman (Will Arnett), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), Superman (Channing Tatum), and Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), a pirate in a huge meca suit. The great battle between the ingenious MasterBuilders and the president’s massive conformist forces comes to an unexpected conclusion.

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and written by them and the Hagerman brothers, The Lego Movie will appeal to all ages. The Sydney production company Animal Logic has charmingly used CGI and stop motion to make almost everything from characters to scenery appear to consist entirely of LEGO pieces. The great cast of comic performers has a lot of fun with the child-friendly script full of wit and references that adults will appreciate. Just two examples are Ferrell’s misreadings (as in Megamind) and the relationship between Tatum and Hill (as in Lord/Miller’s 21 Jump Street).

There is even an overall message about the value of free-thinking creativity prevailing over the tyranny of order and conformity aggravated by its own recurring earworm theme song “Everything is Awesome.” Finally, the 3D effects work well here, even though as usual you wouldn’t really miss them if you want to save the surcharge.

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Consensus: Boasting stunning animation that brings this colourful world alive, The Lego Movie provides fun entertainment for those of all ages, with great characters and a strong message about the power of creativity and imagination. ***1/4 (out of 4)

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