Monday, February 10, 2014

The LEGO Movie

Format: Carmike Market Square 10.

So like everyone else this weekend, I packed up the kids and went to see The LEGO Movie. The movie itself is an absolute delight. It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s smart, and it has one of the best endings I’ve come across in ages. The theater experience, though, was not a good one. The oman sitting next to my older daughter dropped her soft drink on Gail’s shoes. A number of parents were the type who don’t actually control their children as evidenced by the young child who spent the movie jumping up and down the stairs in the back. The adult man who sat behind me apparently thought that this was the funniest movie he ever saw, which caused me to miss probably 15% of the dialogue. I expected this, but that doesn’t make it less troubling.

Anyway, after an introduction that introduces us to the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell), the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and an artifact called The Kragle, we get to our main story. Our hero is Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt), who is completely average as a LEGO minifig. He works in construction, which in the LEGO world consists of putting together LEGO bricks according to a set of instructions. In fact, Emmet lives his entire life by a set of instructions in a desire to fit in completely. Did I mention that this is entirely in a LEGO world?

One day at the end of work, Emmet loses a set of instructions and when he chases them down, he sees someone in the construction yard looking for something. When he tries to investigate, he loses his footing and discovers something called the Piece of Resistance, the only thing capable of preventing Lord Business (now President Business) from using the Kragle to destroy the world. A prophecy indicates that this means Emmet is a master builder, someone capable of building anything out of LEGO without instructions. Unfortunately for those who want to stop Business, Emmet is clueless and is also attached to the Piece of Resistance permanently.

This makes Emmet the most sought after person in the LEGO world. President Business and his associate Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) want him because he’s the only thing that can stop the plan. The woman Emmet saw earlier turns out to be named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who takes Emmet to meet Vitruvius with some assistance from Batman (Will Arnett) and a few others to attempt to save the world.

I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it does make perfect sense within the context of the film. Additionally, when we get to the third act, everything makes perfect sense, and it makes sense for a reason so wonderful that I dare not offer it here. This is not something that should be spoiled, but needs to be experienced because it is a plot twist of such perfect that I would feel terrible in spoiling it for anyone.

Beyond the entertaining plot and the perfect plot twist, this is one of the better screenplays I’ve witnessed lately. The writing is consistently good and frequently funny. There are consistent jokes that will go completely over the heads of most of the kids without being risqué or “adult” jokes. It’s wildly entertaining all the way through. I can’t imagine someone not finding vast parts of this film screamingly funny.

In terms of performances, a few stand out above the rest. Will Ferrell is great throughout and in every aspect of the film he is in. It’s one of his best roles, and even with some of his clunkers, that’s saying something. Will Arnett makes a fantastic Batman and also has a number of great moments. However, the movie really belongs to Morgan Freeman, who has both the gravitas to pull off the role of a wizard/herald and the ability to make almost every line worthy of a laugh. He’s by far the best thing in a movie filled with great things.

It’s difficult to write a glowing review because glowing reviews aren’t that fun to read. If I have a complaint here, it’s the timing of the release. If this was released in November of this year, it would be a lock for several Oscars. I wonder if come next January if Oscar voters will remember it. I hope they do, because they definitely should.

Go see this. It’s fantastic.

Why to watch The LEGO Movie: Because it’s the best time you’ll have in the theater this month.
Why not to watch: You’re soulless and sad.


  1. I concur with every single thing you said. My favorite movie of 2014 thus far (granted, I've only seen one 2014 movie thus far, but still...).

  2. It's pretty awesome. I'm kind of surprised I liked it as much as I did.

  3. I'm going to see it soon and will be back to read your review then. :-)

  4. Everything is Awesome (in this movie).

  5. Agreed. I even went back and bumped my rating on Letterboxd.

  6. Wow. That was fantastic. Just wonderful on every level.

    We also had a less than optimal theatre experience. The sound wasn't right. You could hear the dialogue but most of the incidental sound volume was way too low. It really bugged me and my son but we were in the middle of a crowded row and I was enjoying the movie so much that I couldn't bear to leave to get it fixed. Yes, this movie was so much fun I couldn't leave to get the sound fixed.

    With so many generic screenplays being made into movies, it's a real treat to come across one that's funny without being condescending or mean and whip smart.

    Can't wait to see it again.

    1. As was pointed out to me by Nick Jobe (first commenter on this review), the directors have a track record of taking properties that look like they might be terrible at first glance and turning them into something really entertaining. So far, everything is apparently awesome.