‘The LEGO Movie’ Review

Published 10 months ago by , Updated October 17th, 2014 at 9:10 pm,

The LEGO Movie Reviews starring Chris Pratt Will Ferrell Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett The LEGO Movie Review

The LEGO Movie is a fun adventure with heart and originality that everyone (regardless of age) should experience in full, big-screen 3D grandeur.

The LEGO Movie takes place in an actual living LEGO world, where the maniacal Lord Business (Will Ferrell) masquerades as “President Business,” keeping the population complacent and oblivious with a drone-like existence built on generic pop-songs and rigid manuals for team-based LEGO construction. The old and wise Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) tells of a prophecy where a Master Builder (one skilled in the art of LEGO construction) will appear from the masses to thwart Lord Business’s master weapon, “The Kragle” – but no one in the world expected that man to be Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt).

See, Emmet is about as complacent and oblivious as they come in LEGO land – unremarkable in just about every way. But when he finds the mythical artifact that can finally stop The Kragle, Emmet instantly becomes the most important man in the world; although, he’d settle for the affections of warrior Master Builder, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). With help from the likes of Batman (Will Arnett) and other Master Builders, Emmet embarks on an adventure to save LEGO land – before the Master Builders discover that their prophesied hero isn’t what they think he is.

LEGO movie LEGO town set The LEGO Movie Review

Toys and board games have been the inspiration for more than a few movies, but the results of adapting children’s playthings into blockbuster movies with mass appeal can be a real hit (Transformers ) or miss (Battleship) proposition. A movie based on LEGO building blocks seems like a far-fetched premise for a feature film – but thanks to the imaginative powers and heart of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs21 Jump StreetThe LEGO Movie is one of the most clever, original and fun adaptations of a toy or game ever put to screen.

Right from the start, the angle of attack is perfect; LEGO land (as imagined in this film) is an interesting and smart application of the LEGO toy experience, and the directors seem to really know the product well, which allows them to provide great comedic insight about how an actual world of LEGO people would move, function, and reflect our own daily rat-race. The colors are bright, the production design is thoroughly impressive, and the animation style (a mix of stop-motion and CGI) is no less than revolutionary when it comes to creating the (“LEGO-ness?”) of the characters’ movements and the physics of their world.

Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders in The LEGO Movie The LEGO Movie Review

Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders in ‘The LEGO Movie’

The film literally looks like a LEGO set has come to life onscreen – and in this case, 3D viewing is a MUST. The directors use the three-dimensional format in exactly the right manner: an immersive design that pulls you into the visuals while adding the proper “diorama effect” that makes the LEGO figurines and sets feel like the real objects, rather than animated interpretations of the them. In short: If you want the full “living LEGO” experience, you need to pay premium price – but it’s worth it. Each shot is stuffed with so much visual information, Easter eggs, and hidden gags that repeat viewings will be well worth your while, as well.

The only real downside to the directorial approach is that when some of the film’s bigger action sequences take place, the visuals can get a bit complicated to follow, and the animation style can get a bit choppy and break suspension of disbelief. For example: when lasers are flying and six to eight characters are all pulling off combat/building maneuvers against a horde of enemies, it can start to look like you’re watching someone’s impressive stop-motion project, rather than a blockbuster animated feature. But that deficiency is a small one, and admittedly comes with the territory.

The LEGO Movie Action Sequences The LEGO Movie Review

Chris Pratt in ‘The LEGO Movie’

The script for the film was also written by Lord and Miller – with story help from Kevin and Dan Hageman (NinjagoHotel Transylvania) – and it is equally as good as the direction, offering a multi-layered narrative with humor, wit, meta-minded irony and heart, which will appeal to kids and adults alike. The initial character/thematic arc is lifted straight from The Matrix – or pretty much every other “unlikely hero” archetype – but Lord and Miller manage to fit at least two other levels of meaning into the proceedings. While kids are invested in a hero quest, adults will pick up on sly-but-subtle metaphors (corporate uniformity vs. creative freedom, etc.) – and by the third act, when things take an especially clever turn, both kids AND adults can bond over the sort of themes expressed when The LEGO Movie really opens it heart and gets real.

The dialogue, banter, and winking ode to certain iconic characters (like Batman) make the film a highly enjoyable ride, but it is the injection of real-world emotion and some potentially heavy (but deftly handled) dramatic ideas that elevate this film above thin and saccharine second-tier animated features. Lord and Miller are not afraid to push the boundary a bit, including certain sequences that could’ve been too much for kids, but are delivered in just the right way to avoid frightening or offending young minds, resulting in some great comedy and drama at different junctures.

Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell in The LEGO Movie 2014 The LEGO Movie Review

Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell in ‘The LEGO Movie’

The voice cast is also pretty spectacular, and function as a great comedic ensemble in addition to breathing livelihood and personality into their respective characters (not surprising, really, since most of the cast are drawn from a pool of actors who have populated cult-hit sitcoms in the last five years). Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec) and Elizabeth Banks (30 Rock) are pitch-perfect (pun) as Emmet and Wyldstyle. Pratt in particular seems poised for his leading man breakout this year (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is waiting on deck) and deservedly so, judging from his work here. Will Ferrell pulls out his Megamind persona to create a fun villain (his mispronunciation gags still work, surprisingly enough)  - but he’s outclassed by Liam Neeson, who goes for broke voicing the bi-polar henchman, Good Cop/Bad Cop. 

Supporting characters in the Master Builder clan include Will Arnett (30 Rock), doing a fantastic Batman riff; Alison Brie playing up her Community persona as an emotionally fragile “Unikitty”; Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec) as a hardcore pirate, and It’s Always Sunny star Charlie Day as an overly-enthusiastic astronaut. From there it’s just a gold rush of voice-cameo goodness, including Jump Street stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill poking fun at themselves, while everyone from Cobie Smulders to Keegan-Michael Key, Chris McKay, Dave Franco and others show up for a wink and a laugh. There are also some cameos from iconic celebrities that are just too deliciously great to spoil here; keep your ears open, is all I’ll say.

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ALSO: The Complete LEGO Movie Character Guide

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In the end, The LEGO Movie is a fun adventure with heart and originality that everyone (regardless of age) should experience in full, big-screen 3D grandeur. It’s another home run effort from Lord and Miller, who, like their blocky protagonist, may look like the most unlikely of cinematic geniuses, but whose unique imaginations may just hold the key to saving us from generic and formulaic movies.

When it comes to The LEGO Movie, “everything is awesome,” indeed.

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Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5
(Must-See)

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TAGS: lego movie

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  1. Saw this movie a few hours ago. Felt weird being the only adult there not accompanying a child but hey, it’s a great movie so I had to go watch it.

    Hilarious. A must-see. Also made me think about the time when I was 8 years old and wanted all the LEGO City playsets so I could build my own working city and keep it all safe and protected from being taken apart or the wrong parts being added to the pre-existing models.

  2. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are quickly becoming my favorite directors, this review is spot on, I loved this movie!

  3. I loved it, i was cracking up with laughter and the awesome star wars cameo it was brill. Everyone was nearly in it,from harry potter to superman its a great laugh and and a great twist to its an excellent film.

    If your looking forward to batman and superman and star wars get to see this film you can really just chill out and have a blast with this one. I want to see it again and you just might too

  4. Well this movie was just brilliant
    Best animated film for me since How to Train Your Dragon

    Thought Charlie Day as 1980-something space guy was spot on and hilarious – the crack in his helmet was a nice touch
    All the Batman stuff was so good – so many batarangs but gets it on the first try
    Superman and GL were well used

    The whole final act was quite outstanding

    • Agreed. Although I’m not sure Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson would appreciate their depiction of Green Lantern, lol.

  5. At least one movie got the casting right for Batman and Wonder Woman…just kidding (maybe).

    Seriously though, great movie. I saw this with some students (teens) but I could just as easily take the wife and little ones and everyone would walk away happy.

  6. I finally got around to see this movie and it is absolutely amazing, plus the franchise has so much potential! They really found something really cool here. Long live the Lego franchise!

    The only negative thing I can say is that I was not exactly thrilled with the surprise corny ending, but I understand what they did that.

  7. Okay I know I’m voicing out mostly for the films I disliked, but that’s what I feel about this. The movie doesn’t deserve a 4.5 stars. Sure it’s got a brilliant set-up, and is visually a treat, I grew up with LEGO and felt like I was playing with them again, so YES it IS a successful film… however, I really disliked how film lacked in humour. It could’ve gone further with the sort of tone it was establishing. Thinking back to Wreck-It Ralph, which has a similar tone, but a much better execution, was yes in terms of quality a MUCH BETTER MOVIE and much funnier too. It had a human soul.

    The best bit about the LEGO movie, was, fortunately, The god-damned Batman! Even my 5-year old cousin loved the last allusions “He’s the guy you deserve…” and.. that says a lot. WB, if they’re smart, will consider that notion. The Batman has suffered as a character from over-exposure, just like he did prior to 1966. He has taken on a serious approach and has redefined the way that his genre works, but just as all genre-masterpieces, the Batman has sort of become the norm in Hollywood and in pop-culture. The best way to take his franchise now would be to use him as a parody, just like Adam West did in the 1960s — and DON’T tell me that wouldn’t be popular. DC Nation, Batman: Brave and the Bold, the myriad of online-parodies of The Dark Knight all prove that there is an entire fan-base out there who are willing to laugh together and enjoy Batman as a deconstructed parody of the entire superhero genre.

    And that’s the best part about LEGO Batman — he remains a Modern-day Adam West without having the same sort of humour that made the Adam West Batman a success. He is a parody of the Bale-Batman, of the Modern-Batman, NOT the Golden Age Batman, along with the scratchy Bale-voice, the self-referential “I am awesome coz I’m Batman” attitude taken straight out of HISHE — THIS is what the Batman film franchise should go for now.

    SR, you should write an article on THAT.

    • I liked it, I understand what you mean when you don’t like the humor. I think the problem with funny movies is if it doesn’t make you laugh then it’s not good. But sw shouldn’t write an article on that it’s 2/3 Lego batman.