Vitruvius: All of this is true because it rhymes.
THE LEGO MOVIE invites you to take a little trip down the Lego brick road and if you choose to do so, brick by brick, you will surely fall in love with this wonderful gem of an animated feature. While It is obvious that the intentions here are to sell more Legos and energize the interest of a younger audience on these timeless toys, THE LEGO MOVIE successfully separates itself from feeling like just another terrible marketing ploy, simply by being dynamic and original. Some will easily dismiss it, and my sympathy goes out to them for doing so, because THE LEGO MOVIE is the first great film of 2014.
The film’s prologue introduces us to what I guess is the God of Legoland, Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), as he attempts to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from obtaining the Kragle, a weapon designed to destroy the universe by glueing it together. Unfortunately, Lord Business succeeds in his mission, which leads to Vitruvius having a vision. The “Special” (or the chosen one, if you will) will emerge from obscurity and find a way to stop Lord Business from carrying out his evil plan. While this seems feasible, there is one major flaw in this particular vision. Master Builder, Emmet (Chris Pratt), is nothing more than a regular construction worker who is simply mistaken for “special”. Can Emmet save the world, or is everybody doomed? Fortunately for Emmet, he doesn’t have to go at this mission alone.
Emmet is joined by a misfit band of superheroes and random yet exceptional Lego characters, from Batman (Will Arnett) and Superman (Channing Tatum) to the tech-savvy, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and an astronaut from the 80’s named Benny (Charlie Day). The voice talent across the board all do such incredible jobs, adding their own personal takes to characters both familiar and original, which brings writer/directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s (CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS) movie to great heights of hilarity. Ferrell, who has had previous work as an animated villain in MEGAMIND, does it again here, allowing himself to let loose entirely in the role. Other standouts include Tatum, who brings his own priceless twist to Superman, and Jonah Hill as Green Lantern is constantly bursting with joy, bringing the unwanted member of the Justice League to a whole new level. Basically, all the voice work is given its chance to shine and steal the spotlight. That they also all work so well together is a great credit to Lord and Miller’s understanding of what makes a true ensemble.
THE LEGO MOVIE might not work if it weren’t for all the existing copyrights Lego already has at their disposal. Between production company, Warner Brothers, and Lego itself, the amount of popular franchises they own allows the creative team to run wherever they like with their ideas, much like Disney did in the video game world of WRECK-IT RALPH. Seeing the different Lego worlds come together and overlap is a great privilege for geeks and film fans everywhere, from the Middle Earth of the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (known here as Middle Zealand) to popular franchises like Batman, Superman and other DC characters. Now, if all of this sounds like too much to manage all at once, fear not. As mentioned earlier, you are in very safe hands with Lord and Miller. The twosome have proven themselves in both the animation department and in the comedy department as well, with 21 JUMP STREET already under their belts and 22 JUMP STREET coming soon. Having such a strong, dynamic voice at the helm allows the film to pull off laughs that are both mature and childish in humor, as the directors are clearly big kids at heart. In the end, it is perhaps best to describe THE LEGO MOVIE with a quote from a song from the film and just say that “Everything is awesome!!!”