Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the minds behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, have created another vivid and cleverly delivered movie… about Legos.
The big trend in Hollywood this year will be and has been world-building (see: franchise making hits). The two filmmakers are no strangers to this idea, as they have produced sequels to their previous efforts. With that in mind, the Legos Universe envisioned by Miller and Lord is eye-catchingly dazzling, consistently funny, and an all-around enjoyment to watch on screen. Last week, VIBE had the pleasure to attend at screening in New York City’s Times Square, where adults and kids were alike for one night only to watch the story of a generic Lego mini-figure become the savior of the universe.
Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is a construction man who lives a lonely but happy life in the heart of a generic Lego city. He is convinced that the people and things around him are interested in what he has going on. He quickly realizes that he is unimportant when he stumbles upon the “one brick,” that convinces a band of rebels to think that he’s “the Special One”. His high profile allies rank and file as some of Legos best selling items, as Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and the sage mystic Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) all count on Emmet to fight against the perfection-obsessed President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). The Lego Movie captures the imagination, delight and frustration that comes along with playing with the interlocking plastic toy. Even though the visual environments are computer generated, they move as if they were created by hand-guided stop-motion. Smoke, sand and water are all made out of Legos, as are the cities, ships, mountains and a free-form fantasy land called Cloud Cuckoo Land.
All in all, 3,863,484 pieces were used to create this film and, as advertised before the credos began, can be purchased to recreate one’s favorite scenes.
The story is a mixture of order and chaos, as the rebel movement hopes to stop President Business with a mysterious lost object called the Piece of Resistance. This item, which in the film is strapped to the back of our construction man hero, is supposed to stop President Business from unleashing the Kragle, a weapon that freezes Lego citizens in their perfected place. As the mini-figures’ journey takes them deeper throughout the sprawling Lego multiverse, Emmet learns more about his plight through self-discovery and experience. Meanwhile, President Business reveals himself as the even more diabolical Lord Business and sends his ally, the fear-inducing Bad Cop/Good Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson) after the rebels to stop them from corralling his plans. Neeson hilariously enacts both sides with some great comedic timing.
In fact, all of the principle characters get their own shine time throughout the movie. Whether it is Wyldstyle creatively putting together a vehicle to save the day, Batman cooly showing why he rocks at every turn, or Morgan Freeman’s Vitruvius offering some comedic sage advice — The Lego Movie is oddly profound when it wants to be. The Warner Bros. backed project is billed as a PG movie, but does skew a bit left with visual and scripted references that would be picked up by an older audience. Returning back to the story, with insane chases around the multiverse, hectic brawls and shootouts, it is designed to satisfy all those who are fans of big-budget family entertainment. The calculated silliness, the “Everything Is Awesome” dance number, and vividly detailed world of Legos makes it hard to tell where the computer effects end and the real-world stop-motion begins. But the overall sensation, which is enhanced by Mark Mothersbaugh’s score, makes The Lego Movie worth the price of admission.
The last act of The Lego Movie does contain a conceptual twist that dilutes the frenetic energy of the film’s first hour. Lord and Miller manage to set themselves and this project apart from others with an impressive array of narrative and thematic changes that dazzle throughout the picture. The overall concept of the picture centers around playfulness, originality and creativity, which despite starring one-and-a-half-inch-tall mini-figures is intrinsically human and heartfelt.
Watch the trailer for the film below:
The Lego Movie also stars Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Will Forte and is currently in theaters.