Lego Movie, The (2014)

Director:  Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Cast:  Chris Platt, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Will ArnettElizabeth BanksCraig Berry
Plot:  An ordinary Lego minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Genre:  Animation / Action / Comedy
Awards:  Nom. for 1 Oscar - Best Original Song
Runtime:  100min
Rating:  G for mild action and rude humor.

“Come with me if you want to not die.”

Do build one Lego brick of expectation at a time, because although it has been receiving very, very rave reviews, and has topped the North American box office with a stunning US$70 million in its opening weekend, The Lego Movie is not a particularly exceptional animated feature. 

It is well-made, well-envisioned, and I must say, well-intentioned despite naysayers prophesying that this will flop big-time.  Still, it feels slightly overrated, and I think it cunningly hides its faults under its conceptual skin, a skin glazed with the most wondrous of colours and some witty play on popular culture.

The Lego Movie is like your childhood come true, a feeling similarly evoked by 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph.  It plays to the tune of nostalgia, though strongly rooted in the world of today. 

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary construction worker who follows instructions.  Until he is inexplicably thrust into the spotlight as the MasterBuilder who can save the world from a nasty bad guy called President Business (Will Ferrell), who is hell-bent in destroying the world using… glue.  It is a straightforward tale, of one man’s need to believe in himself to save the world.  Like Neo. 

The animation is interesting.  It is not realistic, just Lego-realistic, which is actually quite fresh to look at.  This is the world of Lego as we know it, populated by characters both familiar and unfamiliar.  It is the characters that make the movie a fun watch. 

It is not just fun, but chaotic.  There are so many characters, and when the action starts, and things explode and fly around, you see a total mess.  A beautiful mess, some might argue.  And indeed, I think part of the fun (and expectation) of watching The Lego Movie is to have a rollicking good time in the theaters and surrender oneself to what’s on the screen.

Directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the directing duo that brought you A Cloudy Chance of Meatballs (2009), and you won’t see this coming, 21 Jump Street (2012), The Lego Movie marks a good start to what is going to be a happening 2014 for animated features. 

The true test of the movie’s sustenance comes early 2015, when we will know if it will be nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.  Will voters remember a February release?  They might, but will the movie be competitive enough then?

Verdict:  Chaotic fun while it lasts, this is a good time in the theaters, but not a particularly exceptional animated feature.


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