When I first saw “The Lego Movie” had received a 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, I just couldn’t fathom how it had happened to earn such rave reviews. Hollywood hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to turning children’s toys and board games into feature-length films. Whether it’s the action-packed and plotless “Transformers” movies or the strategic board game turned alien invasion film “Battleship,” movie studios have had a difficult time adapting the staples of our childhoods into viewable films. After watching “The Lego Movie,” I walked out of the theater knowing there is still hope for future toy-based movies after all.
“The Lego Movie” revolves around an ordinary minifig named Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), a construction worker who follows instructions for every little part of his life. After accidentally coming into contact with the “piece of resistance” (which is actually just a Krazy Glue cap), Emmet must learn to create his own instructions instead of following them, in order to become the Master Builder and fulfill his destiny by defeating the evil President Business (Will Ferrell) before he unleashes the “Kragle,” a powerful weapon (an old Krazy Glue bottle with the “z,” “y,” and “u” scratched off) that will glue everybody in place.
At first sight, “The Lego Movie” can seem a bit overwhelming, as the film covers many different branches of the Lego universe, including minifigs from sets such as “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “Harry Potter.” Like any movie that covers such an expansive universe, the film features an all-star cast, featuring the likes of Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Jonah Hill and even a theme song from Tegan & Sara. Despite its large offering and massive cast, the film’s storyline does an amazing job at tying everything together. Every pop culture reference adds on to each individual minifig’s role within the movie. Each character, no matter how small the part, contributes to the film’s overall story, usually through comic relief.
Unlike previous toy-based motion pictures, “The Lego Movie” has a well-developed plot and consuming storyline that immerses viewers into the world of Lego. Emmet’s adventures correlate with the real-time story of a young kid playing with his dad’s off-limits Lego collection. Since the story is told from a young boy’s perspective, the plot features lots of exaggerated scenes that draw out many memorable comedic moments. One scene where this is apparent is when Emmet is being interrogated by Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson), a double-sided minifig that plays off of the classic technique featured in many buddy cop films. Bad Cop/Good Cop’s vacillating emotions create a hilarious and memorable back-and-forth between the cop and Emmet.
The best thing about “The Lego Movie” has to be its animation. Although computer-animated, the film’s animation resembles that of a brickfilm, a sub genre of stop-motion animation that utilizes only Lego blocks and minifigs. Every minifig, building and landmark in the film looks as if it was physically made, which really helps to bring the audience in closer to the film. What really helps “The Lego Movie” to stand alone from other animated movies are its fight scenes and explosions. Each fight scene was crafted in a way that looks as if it were out of a young kid’s dream. Lego blasters shoot cylinder-shaped laser beams, defeated enemies fall apart into pieces and, best of all, when something explodes, the fire and smoke is made entirely made out of Legos. “The Lego Movie’s” animation “lego-izes” every aspect of a regular animated film, giving it a fresh and unique feel different from previous animated movies.
“The Lego Movie” is a much-needed change of pace in Hollywood’s ever-growing fascination with toy- and board game-based movies. Everything about it, from its look and feel to its comedic-yet-complex and endearing storyline, make it a game-changing and refreshing film that many studios should take note of. The film holds something for audience members of all ages, no matter how young or old. “The Lego Movie” will have kids wanting to go home to their Lego sets, and adults reminiscing about their childhood days.
Rating: 4 stars