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Building Chaos – A review of The LEGO Movie
Title: The LEGO Movie
Production Company: Warner Brothers
Run Time: 100 minutes
Director: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Stars: Chris Pratt, Will Farrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson
Summary: There are a number of extremely funny moments throughout the film, but overall, it’s a murkily animated hodgepodge of chaotic imagery that overloads the senses.
I can’t think of anyone in my generation who didn’t have LEGO building blocks when I was growing up. They’re the kind of thing that every kid wanted to see under the tree at Christmastime.
Today, LEGO sets are so ingrained in pop culture. The newer sets include ships and scenes from popular movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars and now, there’s even a gaming craze that features movie tie-ins like Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones.
So now along comes the LEGO movie promising, for all intents, the same tongue in cheek humor that is prevalent in the LEGO games. And all the pop culture references too.
The trouble is, the plot is so enveloped in poor animation and far too many characters that you need a scorecard to know which franchise this movie will violate next.
The story centers around a likable little LEGO denizen named Emmet who finds himself dragged into a bigger story when certain high ranking LEGO figurines think that he’s “The Special”, a god-like figure that can alter LEGO reality.
Along the way, he will meet legendary characters like the ancient wise man Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett), a slew of other DC comics characters and several Star Wars icons.
Since everyone thinks that Emmet is the Master Builder, they tend to genuflect around him until they discover he’s pretty normal. After that, they just drag him along for the ride.
The bad guy in all of this is Lord Business (Will Farrell) who’s trying to overshadow the LEGO world in his own nefarious schemes. There is of course a twist to the entire tale that reveals itself late in the movie. I will not spoil that here.
Chris Pratt, who plays Emmet, has a likable delivery that thoroughly draws in the audience and believably presents Emmet as an ordinary Joe who loves his work and his overpriced coffee. He can even carry it over to the extraordinary when necessary as Emmet’s character develops.
Freeman is one of the better cast characters in the movie. His vocal delivery of Vetruvius carries just the right amount of gravity. Batman could have been cast as anyone given Will Arnett’s bland monotony.
Liam Neeson’s distinctive voice gives life to Good Cop and Bad Cop, a singularly driven henchman of Lord Business. Of course one part of his character will eventually have to be exorcized. I’ll leave you to imagine which one.
And of course there has to be a love interest, in this case Wyldstyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks. She manages to turn a few heads (360 degrees in some cases) with her wavy flowing locks and dark brooding demeanor.
If you keep your ears pealed you might recognize a number of Hollywood A-listers in comedic cameos throughout the movie. Among them are Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. (They play Green Lantern and Superman respectively – but why did they need to include the homosexual undertones in a kids movie, I might ask?)
Also Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels reprise their respective Star Wars character roles as Lando Calrissian and C-3PO. And in an ironic bit of twist casting, Cobie Smulders of Marvel’s Avengers goes to the DC dark side as the voice of Wonder Woman.
Then again, you may want to plug your ears at certain points throughout the movie. The producers have managed to incorporate one of the most catchy, yet cloyingly annoying tunes to grace the entertainment industry since “It’s a Small World”. Rather fitting that it underscores this “small world” but I hate to say it, everything is NOT awesome here.
There are times when I absolutely laughed out loud at this movie and for that reason, I’m not going to give this film a very low rating. But the breakneck pace and the volume of characters make this film nearly impossible to keep up with. I give The LEGO Movie 3 out of 5 stars.