Fanboy Flick Pick: The Lego Movie Is Pretty Much the Best Thing Ever

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies, Toys
Monday, February 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

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It's funny that part of President Business' resume of evil deeds includes the segregating of Lego worlds into distinct areas (the fantasy realm is called "Middle-Zealand") with no intermingling - that's not just the sort of thing an older brother insists upon, but also what the Legoland park actually does. In effect, however, it's short lived, as Emmet and Wyldstyle bust through universes with sci-fi police on their tail - the result is not unlike the fantasy train sequence at the beginning of Toy Story 3. The difference is that this movie is ALL about the imagined scenario that would be enacted by kids, rather than the reality of the toys when left alone. Though the writing is much, much better than most seven year-olds could manage, it's as epic as something they could imagine, with a third-act turn of events that will floor most parents in the house.

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The writer-director team of Chris Miller and Phil Lord have done it again - from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to 21 Jump Street and now this, they have earned my automatic goodwill for whatever their future endeavors may be (presumably a Lego sequel - though I'm not sure how they can top it with a followup, and you'll understand what I mean when you see it). Their casting as usual is spot-on, with Will Arnett's naturally raspy voice proving perfect for a Bale-meets-West take on Batman, and Will Ferrell's humorous mispronunciations serving him well as the evil President/Lord Business - he accumulates various weaponized non-Lego items you might find on a living room floor, including the paint-removing "Poh-lish of Nai'il." Pratt and Banks have more to work with than you'd think, both playing characters who aren't exactly what you'd expect from first appearances. We've mentioned Neeson's self-parody, but it's be neglectful not to also mention Morgan Freeman as wise old Vitruvius, who's ultimately not nearly as wise as he makes himself out to be. And Alison Brie sounds exactly the way you'd expect Unikitty to sound.

The only significant objection I can imagine someone having to The Lego Movie is that it is basically a big, expensive toy commercial, though one admittedly for a toy that most children automatically own at some point anyway. (From a collector's standpoint, the fact that the movie is literally made out of its own toys makes the tie-in sets the most accurate movie playsets ever mass-produced.) Yes, parents (and toy nerds), you will probably cave and end up buying much of what you see onscreen. I'll put it to you this way - better that for Christmas than 50 more variants of Mattel's Batman in absurd colors. With almost every movie nowadays having ancillary merchandise anyway (including Lego sets in many cases), wouldn't you rather it be something that encourages imagination?

If that's not an issue for you, then, as the incessant and catchy theme song states over and over, "everything is awesome." Be sure to sit through the end credits to hear the faux-grunge "unplugged" version of the song, along with Batman's new signature tune - a thumping bass line over which he yells things like "Darkness! No parents! Super rich!"

Playtime's not over, folks. And a movie like this reminds us that it need never be.


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