The LEGO Movie Review: Suitable for All Ages

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The LEGO brand is never going to die. A staple in every household for decades, the tiny bricks have evolved from just that to video games, TV shows, and now a feature length movie. And a very funny one at that.

The film strikes a youthful and lively tone, almost like a dream student film backed by Warner Bros. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary construction worker who follows the directions to do everything and loves the radio hit “Everything is Awesome” that blasts throughout his workday (which, despite its purposeful badness, you will be singing on the way out of the theater).

But it turns out he may be the savior of the whole world when he touches the “Piece of Resistance” and meets WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks), who introduces him to the master builders (including Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Abraham Lincoln, and Michaelangelo, both the artist and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle). They are trying to defeat Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who plans to use super glue to make the world the way he wants it to be, essentially making it impossible to build the LEGOs in a different way.

That’s really what the film comes down to, will you be a person who follows the instructions or will you think outside of the box and create something no one else would or could ever think of? The LEGO Movie takes a page from Toy Story by reinstating that childlike imagination that can put LEGO versions of Batman and Gandalf in the same story (I can speak from experience as Batman and Luke Skywalker were frequent collaborators in my playroom when I was seven).

But what knocks down The LEGO Movie from the Toy Story realm is the approach to the story from a more juvenile standpoint. The LEGO Movie feels like a kid is still playing, whereas Toy Story feels wiser and more engaging. Emmet doesn’t hold a candle to Woody or Buzz, but this film does give us the first big screen appearance ever of Batman and Superman together. This film may be the best celebration of geek culture yet.

So even though audiences older than 14 will roll their eyes at a few jokes, most of them land incredibly well. The in-your-face obviousness of it all works because this is still, first and foremost, a kids movie. But it still takes some surprising and wonderful turns, especially in the third act. It is too bad that it replaces potentially iconic characters with actual iconic characters, but without it the film would lose half of its humor.

But if you let go and ignore the fact that this film is going to have your kids asking for LEGOs for the next couple birthdays (something I’m sure the company had an inkling about in the pre-production stage), this animated flick is a barrel of laughs and surprisingly poignant. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty


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