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The Lego Movie Review: Everything is Awesome

By Agent Bedhead | Film Reviews | February 7, 2014 | Comments ()


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Whoever you are out there (yeah, you), you’re gonna adore The Lego Movie. I don’t care whether you’re a carefree child, a hipster college student, or a (begrudgingly) responsible adult. There’s something for everyone in this film, and I’m not even talking as a mega fan of Lego toys. My sister usually snatched all the Legos and hid them in her closet, and of course my parents always took her side. My childhood wasn’t nearly as grueling as Dustin’s was, but we all have scars. *sniff*

Even though I don’t harbor a huge Lego attachment, I can appreciate a the hell out of a finely delivered movie that is both sharp and sophisticated. The Lego Movie treads a fine line between promoting actual Lego toys and delivering a compelling set of characters to execute its story. It’s impossible to build a movie about childhood toys that doesn’t directly tie in to promoting the very subject of the film. That’s unavoidable, but Lego tries very hard to elevate itself to something higher. This film isn’t just about toys and their adventures. It creates a bonding experience that manages to unite young and old through their shared love of a common childhood past time that hasn’t changed all that much. Legos are a bit more intricate these days, but they haven’t been given a sexy makeover like, say, Strawberry Shortcake. They’re not thinner and sleeker like My Little Ponies. (Edit: There is a Lego Friends line? My bad. 2012 is out of the scope of my daughter’s Lego experience.) There are no opportunities for slo-mo boobs as with the Transformers franchise. Legos are the perfect ingredient for a nearly perfect nostalgic experience.

For the most part, the actors don’t stretch too far in their given roles, but their familiar schtick suits the movie. Will Ferrell is once again playing an eeeevil entity named Lord Business while Morgan Freeman checks in to voice a benevolent authority figure, a wizard called Vitruvius. Lord Business transforms himself into President Business and seeks to control the citizens of Bricksburg by not allowing them outside their neatly designed boxes. No mixing pieces between playsets! Everyone plays their rule with no deviation. Pres. Business dreams of executing a plan that would Kragel (Crazy Glue) all of the Lego buildings together — so no one could ever break the rules with their terrible imaginations ever again. The movie also features a godlike presence called The Man Upstairs, whose role is indispensable.

Fortunately, Vitruvius predicts how a Master Builder will someday influence the Lego world and free its citizens from the Business rules. That mythical figure may be Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker who, at first, is content to blindly follow along and not buck the tide. He builds buildings according to prescribed convention and does so while singing the Bricksburg anthem, “Everything Is Awesome.” Everything changes when he falls in love at first sight with a Lego-goth named Wyldstyl (Elizabeth Banks). One thing leads to another, and Emmet finds himself in possession of the Piece of Resistance that will, ideally, aid him in leading a revolution. It all sounds quite predictable the way I’m describing it, but the story moves from there into unexpected territory.

Since this is a children’s movie which requires voice work, Will Arnett must be involved. He plays Batman and has a lot of fun digging at the Batman persona and, um, singing a heavy metal song. Jonah Hill pops up as Green Lantern, and Charming Potato voices Superman. Those last two can’t stand each other, which is suitably delivered. Many other characters step into the fray, including C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Shaquille O’Neal (himself) from the NBA All-Stars set, Unikitty (Alison Brie) and a pirate called Metal Beard (Nick Offerman). All are a cleverly subversive surprises to witness.

All of this sounds frenetic and like too much is smashed into the movie for the sake of it, but that’s just part of the plan. The Lego Movie is built for excess and pulls it off marvelously. Most importantly, the film does not follow the prescribed animation tropes. Not only does this movie look fantastic, but so much care went into the script that I have to bow down just a little bit. You don’t get this kind of unexpected satisfaction very often in the realm of kiddie flicks. The Lego Movie is not only surprising because it’s not a let down but because it celebrates the sense of surprise. Go forth and build.

Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • TacoBellRey

    The worst part of this movie was at the end when you walked out you realized you weren't 10 years old anymore.

  • Maydays

    We all LOVED it! I'm so glad none of the surprises were spoiled, because I really had no idea what we were getting into. My 5yo is quickly working towards Master Builder status, and it felt like we just got to live inside his brain for 2 hours. Really funny, visually amazing, charming...I had no idea it would be so good.

  • oilybohunk7

    I'm not very into animated movies or "kid" movies, I wasn't even as a kid, but when I saw the trailer for this I thought it looked great. I will see it at some point!

  • Jifaner

    The H and I took all the kids to see this today. First showing of the day and it ended up completely sold out. We were two rows away from the screen which normally I loathe and avoid at all costs, but the movie was so fun I didn't care. Now all three minions are walking around singing "Everything is Awesome" which I'm sure will soon be annoying, but for now I feel like joining in. Really great movie.

  • foolsage

    I am completely sold on this. But then I'm the target audience (putting age aside).

    Anyone who's on the fence about whether LEGO films have potential (or anyone who likes Marvel superheroes, or anyone with a sense of humor, for that matter) really REALLY ought to watch the Maximum Overload short film series:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Cannot.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    I find it interesting that in the US you call multiple LEGO bricks LEGOS. In the UK we just call it LEGO - you have a lot of LEGO, I have a shit-ton of LEGO, Timmy has swallowed all his LEGO.

  • jollies

    Also "sport/sports." When I watch the news on tv in the US, they report on "sports." While in Europe, they report on "sport." Do you like sports or do you like sport? Never really thought much about this until now.

  • Batesian

    Yeah, the plural is, in fact, "LEGO" (and it's always spelled in all-caps, to boot). We Americans are lazy and bad at following directions -- probably why we have pieces left over when building Legos.

  • Renton

    It's just a bummer that it's not actually Lego - it's all CG, isn't it? I'd have preferred a totally stop-motion film.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I think you are probably free to make one then. Have at it.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    I imagine that Ben Wyatt is already working on it.

  • Will Arnett ... plays Batman ... singing a heavy metal song.

    SOLD.

  • It's worth the price of admission, really.

  • Stu Rat

    When I was a kid most of my LEGO had white stripes down the middle between the pegs. Because back in those days, stores would glue together some sort of display for the holidays. And after Christmas was over, my dad would go into the store and talk them into giving him the (now useless) display. He would bring it home and sit there for as long as it took to pry them apart and salvage as many as he could for us.

    So I don't know if I can oppose President Business's plan. I have fond memories of glued together LEGO.

  • Salieri2

    Your dad sounds awesome.

  • Tinkerville

    It was so good. SO GOOD. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard at anything. The jokes per minute ratio was off the charts and they used the Lego world in such amazing ways. I saw it last night and am already dying to go again.

  • JK

    "Legos are a bit more intricate these days, but they haven’t been given a sexy makeover like, say, Strawberry Shortcake. They’re not thinner and sleeker like My Little Ponies. "

    Isn't that kind of exactly what the Lego Friends line is?

  • Alarmjaguar

    The Lego Friends drive me crazy b/c they are skinny w/ boobs (seriously, weird little arms and legs). Right now the only reasons they are still in my house is that my son loves playing with them rather than my daughter, so I feel that I can use them to undermine them. The other really weird thing is that in the Lego friends world, there are no men -- except for the father. I mean, don't real men and women actually live together in the world?

  • Finance_Nerd

    Matt LeBlanc is a Lego? I guess I can see that

  • AudioSuede

    The trailers reminded me of Wreck-It Ralph, which is exactly the kind of thing I want to watch all the time.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    So the Lego movie has a manic pixie dream girl?

  • Jifaner

    She is a master builder and a badass. Unikitty, though....

  • Decidedly not, even if Emmet thinks so for a bit.

  • Sarah Weissman

    I have hope - she seems to have a bit more agency and personality than that...

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