Today, “The LEGO Movie” opens in theaters, a film so engaging and complex that it is not clear if it is a kids’ movie or a film for grown ups that happens to be kid-friendly. After all, we do live in the era of animated sitcoms and Adult Swim. Even as the credits rolled, I was left with a sense of wonder last experienced when watching “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) and “The NeverEnding Story” (1984) for the first time as a child. And again, I was not thinking this is a kids’ movie. I was lost processing words to related that this is a really, really awesome movie. Its unimaginable that anyone will watch this film without their eyes chasing across every frame of the film to ingest the wondrous and vast animation.
The first feature take on one of the best childhood games, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, whose credits include “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (2009), prove that LEGOs are way more fun than Barbies, GI Joes, and even video games. Unlike revisiting a jungle gym after reaching adulthood, “The LEGO Movie” proves that you never grow out of the amusement of your own absurd imagination and the possibilities of a really, really big bucket of LEGO bricks.
The story of a LEGO fixture named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) who mistaken for The Special, a highly anticipated hero whose arrival signals a savior for the various LEGO universes that are about to fall to a fearless villain, President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). It is not as much as President Business’s love of expensive lattes and mindless music that pushes capitalism that worries the few Master Builders who are working against his reign. Instead, the great fear is for his intentions to unleash the Kragle.
Fumbling his way into an epic journey, Emmet attempts to be more than an unassuming construction worker who stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance that can stop the Kragle. The mindless sidekick, without a friend to play second fiddle to is the perfect LEGO leading man, is a wonderful character that brings together a hilarious storyline. And in following his vacant personality through a world of LEGO Batman and LEGO Superman and a LEGO Pirate, among others, everything amazing about playing with LEGOs comes to life in a story that does not require a strong memory of the blocks to appreciate it.
In fact, the script is amazing for its ability to balance the pentameter of child’s voice with the grandeur of an imagination developed over a lifetime. The directorial team also penned the script, built from a story the pair developed with brothers Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman who are know for their 2012 animated feature “Hotel Transylavania.” With an engaging storyline, awing animation from Animal Logic over scene by the film’s co-director Chris McKay, and a very catchy theme, this is an incredible movie. It leaves you beyond words.
Where it is easy for a film starring Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks and Morgan Freeman to be owned by such heavyweight actors, the project manages to allow the writing and animation the carry the film and allow for a delightful ensemble cast to come second to the wonder of LEGOS.
Given the intense bouts of snow that have overwhelmed New York’s winter, “The LEGO Movie” is an amazing escape to the cozy and sensational regions of everlasting childhood.