Family films are challenging for all involved. They walk a thin line between making it fun, imaginative, and simple enough for children without alienating the adult population as well. The Lego Movie walks that thin line like a pro as it works its magic on kids and is funny, creative, and nostalgic enough for all of us big kids at heart as well.

Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) is just an ordinary, average construction worker. He has no friends or social life, and follows his instruction manual to get through the day. Somehow though, he still manages to keep a positive and happy disposition. One night after work, he accidentally acquires the piece of resistance that is needed to stop Lord Business (voice of Will Ferrell) from gluing their universe together.

Together with the very prophetic Vitruvius (voice of Morgan Freeman), Wyldstyle (voice of Elizabeth Banks), and Batman (voice of Will Arnett), they race to stop Lord Business while evading some of his hired guns like Bad Cop (voice of Liam Neeson) and leaping into the unknown. Several character cameos from Superman, Gandalf, Dumbledore, and the Ninja Turtles help out and Emmet proves that ordinary can be just as extraordinary when you put your mind to accomplishing something.

 

It probably took a long time, but directors and writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get it just right. The film pleases on every level. It has genuinely funny moments, characters that are memorable, and a story that’s full of adventure and lessons for all ages. It’s so creative that it’ll make you miss the days when you used to play with Legos and had that ability to create something out of nothing.

It’s also clever in weaving all of the characters owned by Warner Bros. into the film seamlessly and poking fun at them at the same time. It’ll probably be the only movie that will ever be able to combine all these characters into the same universe and have it make sense.

The voice cast is superb, Chris Pratt as Emmet really lets loose with his funny side, Morgan Freeman plays another god-like character with a little side of crazy, and Will Arnett uses his gravelly-voiced Batman to bring us the humor we’ve never seen in any of the superhero’s live-action movies. Elizabeth Banks is the spunky and tough Wyldstyle who keeps Emmet on his toes and Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop is played to great double effect of comedy and sadness.

The Lego world is gorgeous and filled with color and different universes all within its own. Lord and Miller bring the touches they brought to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to life here, but with a lot more pizzazz. There are also theatrics, moments that mock everyday life, and intriguing relationships and moments between the characters.

What makes the film strong besides the comedy and characters are the themes. The fact that Emmet doesn’t think he can do anything worthwhile is how most of us have felt at some point. It’s probably why we gravitate to superheroes, because they do extraordinary things we only dream about. But what Emmet teaches is that inside everyone, no matter how ordinary you think you are, is someone with the ability to do great things and create something out of nothing, even if it’s only an idea at first. That going through the daily grind of life can make us pliant and routine, but deep down we’re all capable of something else, something better. It’s a great message for kids and adults alike.

The Lego Movie is a fantastic and thoroughly imaginative world that will suck you in from the very beginning. It has the ability to entertain, send a message, and engulf us in its universe that we may not be able to let it go anytime soon. The plot moves at a pace you can keep up with without getting lost, the adventure is action-packed, and the film is filled with a sense of humor that it’s able to maintain throughout. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have built a film from their own Lego pieces and have shared it so that everyone is allowed to dip their toes in and be a part of their fantastic creation.

4star

 

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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