“Come with me if you want to not die.”
Don’t listen to the little kids you know who proclaim this and Frozen to be the best movies ever. The Lego Movie is a visual feast and superb achievement in animation that’s boosted by some jaw-dropping effects. However, the story is so frenetic that you’re bound to get lost. I have a hard time imagining anyone under the age of eight being able to comprehend a single thing, and I doubt very many out of their teens will find it enjoyable. Picture a youngster fueled on Mountain Dew running through a toy store, losing attention by the next thing they want every twenty seconds. That’s what this feels like. The only saving grace is the ending, as it provides the heart and identity that the movie strives for all along. All the legos in the world can’t build anything substantial with such an unsteady foundation.
Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) is a wizard fighting with Lord Business (Will Ferrell) over possession of the Kragle…which we come to find out is actually a tube of Krazy Glue. Fast forward eight and half years (remember that number, it’s important for the ending) and we meet Emmet (Chris Pratt). He’s a construction worker, yellow just like everyone else, who lives life by following the instructions he is given. After a song during which he proclaims that everything is awesome, Emmet finds himself accidentally fulfilling a prophecy made by Vitruvius. He is the one that must stop Lord Business and save the universe.
There are characters known as Masterbuilders, the best and most imaginative at building, and Lord Business is determined to enslave them in order to ensure a smooth takeover of Bricksburg. Those not yet captured help Emmet to be “the special” and overthrow the evildoer. WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett) date one another, and are the two most involved with aiding Emmet. Lucky for them, Emmet is such a blank canvas and so empty-minded that he can fulfill the prophecy by being the opposite of the Masterbuilders. Sometimes simple is the best option. After a trek through different landscapes escaping Lord Business and his literally two-faced henchman Bad Cop / Good Cop (Liam Neeson), they set their eyes on bringing down the tyrannical overseer.
The technical aspects of this film are wonderful, as we’ve become accustomed to from the outstanding duo of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord. All of the voicework, even down to characters with single lines, is pitch perfect. I knew the animation would be impressive. You expect an animated Lego movie to at least look decent. Instead we’re given one of the most detailed and beautifully rendered animations of late. Everything, from large sets to individual and recognizable Lego pieces some of us have played with, blankets the screen and fills your imagination with vivid colors and old memories of the brick-shaped toys. Yet for as fun as it is to look at, I didn’t find it half as funny or heartfelt as the majority of critics somehow saw it to be. Everything is rushed, none of the story is earned, and not until the last third when a major plot twist is revealed did I enjoy the movie at all.
Even if you don’t like the film, I advise you to stick around until the end. It’s surprising and gives life to a movie that’s been too busy being the Autobahn of storytelling for an hour. The Lego Movie feels like an inferior version of the Toy Story series or even Wreck-It-Ralph. Those brought nostalgia as much as this does, but the rapid cuts and fast-paced storytelling used here is a route that never let’s it sink in with the audience. With some added time to spread out the movie, or an Adderall before seeing it, things probably would have made a little more sense. It’s a shame because an honest and touching message is trying to be conveyed. Sadly it’s sitting at the bottom of a tote, buried beneath a mess of colored plastic bricks.
“The only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that you can be.”
Rating: 3 out of 5