The Lego Movie is family fun, but it isn’t the game changer some adults hoped for.
It’s hard to enjoy a movie that is rated PG if you go during opening weekend. For starters, a majority of the audience is under the age of 10 and they talk-laugh-shout throughout a majority of the movie. If you’re lucky, the child behind you will only kick your seat for half the movie, and if you’re really lucky, their parent/guardian will tell them to stop before the previews end. Worst-case scenario: the kid next to you, who of course has some kind of cold, takes a swig of your drink without you realizing it.
With all that said, and against my better judgment, I entered the jungle to see The Lego Movie this past weekend. I generally don’t have high expectations for a movie that is marketed to children, however, it seemed like The Lego Movie was for all ages, and the diverse line at my local theater confirmed that.
The plot is pretty simple: a computer-animated himbo named Emmet (Chris Pratt) is tasked with saving the universe from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Despite lacking a noteworthy skill, Emmet must stop Lord Business from unleashing the “Kragle” (Krazy Glue with some letters smudged out) on the Lego universe. He is being pursued by Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson), but is aided on his quest by two “Master Builders” who are capable of creating anything out of Legos: the wise Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and a “tough on the surface” woman named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks).
Basically, it’s the plot of the Matrix except with Legos. There is an unexpected turn towards the end which I quite enjoyed. The message it sends, while simple, is compelling and resonates with children and those who are a child at heart.
The computer-animation was very well done, especially when combined with stop-motion effects. One scene in particular, where everyone was out in open water, made me feel like I was eight-years-old again. The water was made entirely of Legos, and I was mesmerized by the current.
The voice acting was top-notch. I really enjoyed Will Arnett’s version of Batman, and the handful of lines that Jonah Hill had as Green Lantern. Pratt voiced a convincing nitwit, and both Freeman and Neeson weren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, which I found enjoyable. The music captured the essence of the various settings, and the sound effects helped bring the Lego world to life. The sound of the bricks coming together brought me back to a simpler time.
However, despite its star-studded cast, the unflagging attempt at being a self-parody wears thin after a handful of laughs. Sure, I laughed at various times throughout, but each scene played out like the one before it, just in a different setting.
The pace of the movie wasn’t ideal. There were too many scenes that advanced a plot that the audience was already familiar with. When the movie made an unexpected turn at the end, my attention had already waned. The self-parody style of the movie gave way to a cliché ending, which while heartwarming, seemed to befit one of the films that The Lego Movie sought to mock.
In the end, it’s all about where your expectations are. It’s a fabulous movie for the family, and one of the few that you can take your teenager and your grade-schooler to, and they’ll both enjoy it. If you’re old enough to drink and you love Legos, then you’ll probably really like the movie. If you’re expecting to laugh so hard your back hurts, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.
I’ll be honest; I missed the first 10-15 minutes of the movie because I was waiting in the concession line. I was told later that the funniest parts of the movie were during that stretch… great. I thought The Lego Movie was good, but everything wasn’t awesome. If only the workers at the theater could have followed the instructions as well as Emmet. If they did, I might have laughed for an extra 10 minutes before I started thinking about all the things I could build with a million Legos.
+ Great family movie
+ Fantastic voice casting
+ Well done animation
- Repetitive plot