‘The Lego Movie’: Comedy and visuals connect in spectacular fashion
By BILL ZWECKER Columnist February 4, 2014 4:18PM
‘THE LEGO MOVIE’ ★★★1⁄2
Emmet Chris Pratt
President Business Will Ferrell
Wyldstyle Elizabeth Banks
Batman Will Arnett
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated PG (for action and crude humor). Opens Friday at local theaters.
Updated: March 8, 2014 6:10AM
It’s usually not fun spending time (uh, wasting time) during those dreary January or early February weeks sitting in darkened theaters. This time of year is often referred to in moviemaking circles as “the dumping ground” — the time when Hollywood studios release their mediocre disappointments that, for one reason or another, did not achieve the expectations imagined at the start of production.
But “The Lego Movie” is not only NOT one of those movies, it’s actually a terrific, fun-packed, well-crafted and outstanding piece of cinematic magic.
I loved this film and was happily entertained from start to finish. Of course, the Lego-crazed kids across America and around the world will love it, but like all really smart animated films, it promises a great time as well for the adults taking youngsters to see it.
The visuals are spectacular, the 3D technology is artfully used and the story is jam-packed with so many funny lines, it’s hard to catch all the jokes that are delivered in rapid-fire succession — constantly tweaking many popular culture icons. The night I watched the film, the audience was laughing so much, I know I missed hearing a number of zippy zingers.
On reflection, not a bad thing to have happen, eh?
Big kudos to directors and co-writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the dynamic duo who earlier brought us “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” — another terrific animated romp.
The same goes to the enormous team of animators and designers who first built this make-believe world out of more than 15 million Legos, before translating it all into a gorgeous, computer-generated adventure.
Top-notch voice talent is key to any successful animated film, and “The Lego Movie” does not disappoint. Chris Pratt is perfectly enthusiastic and rah-rah as the reluctant hero Emmet; Elizabeth Banks throws out edgy wit voicing the action heroine Wyldstyle; Will Arnett is great as the growling Batman, and Will Ferrell is on target as President Business, the order-obsessed leader of this world of Lego. On top of all that, add in the sonorous and dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman (as the aged sage, Vitruvius) and Liam Neeson as the president’s hilarious bad cop/good cop sidekick, and you’ve got quite the crew of great acting voices.
The movie also delivers a nice message about balancing creativity with a follow-the-rules approach to life. We first meet Emmet as a superficially happy-go-lucky, anonymous, super-average Lego minifigure who works on a construction site and never makes much of an impression on anyone. In a sense, the filmmakers are spoofing the real-life world of Legos — and those kits that come with extremely detailed instructions.
Through a chance encounter, Emmet is mistakenly thought to be “The Special,” the unique person in the Legos universe who is destined to save the world. As he zooms around from one Lego fantasy-land to another, Emmet meets a wide range of bizarre and lovable characters.
The most amazing thing visually is how everything — and I do mean everything — looks as though it’s constructed out of Legos. That goes for raging fire and even the wild waves of a turbulent sea rolling under a pirate ship under full sail.
This is a delightful confection — so much fun I can’t wait to go back and see it again!