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Review: 'The Lego Movie' is made of awesome

The Lego Movie
The Lego MovieWarner Bros. Pictures

The Lego Movie

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An upbeat family film about the power of belief, teamwork, and self-expression that’s somehow not corny and has laughs for grownups as well as kids, the "The Lego Movie" delivers a good story with fun animation and a surprisingly subversive subtext.

In the very beginning we learn that the evil Lord Business has a superweapon, the Kragle, which he wants to use to destroy the world. Next we flash to our hero, Emmett, a happy-go-lucky construction worker living a routine life in Bricksburg, a highly organized city under the corporate rule of President Business. In this world, everyone rocks out to the same song, watches the same TV show, and eats the same food, because “everything is awesome when you’re part of a team.” Emmett follows instructions to the letter and tries his best to fit in, but never quite clicks with those around him. Brushed off by co-workers, he falls down a pit and without meaning to, becomes The Special, the one who is destined to save the world.

This is a well-executed movie. The animation is blocky enough to convey the sturdy feel of legos, but fluid enough to convey nuance. The story is thoughtful and sprightly, moving smoothly from one adventure to next and deftly setting up the jokes and references. The cast is full of excellent choices, from an up-pitched Alison Brie as an anime cat-unicorn, to a classic Morgan Freeman as the group’s spiritual guide, to a growly Will Arnett as a comically self-centered Batman.

Maybe the most impressive thing about the movie is that, targeted at kids, the writers could have slacked on the story and phoned in the inspirational speeches and still achieved box office and product placement goals. But the story is compelling, and the speeches are genuinely moving. Which, of course the ones by Morgan Freeman’s character are, because he’s got that weirdly convincing voice, but the ones by other characters are fresh and authentic also. Believe you’re special, and you can be. I know it sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true.

Worth seeing. Afterwards, the blooper reel is really cute too.