Stars: Chris Pratt, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day | Written and Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
What do you get when you decide to mix together the people who made 21 Jump Street (and the next 22 Jump Street, which is an ingenious way to advertise for that movie inside the advertisement of this movie) as well as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania? That’s right, you get The Lego Movie, a film filled with stop animation that is sure to make you question all the times you cursed at the piece that you just stepped on with your bare feet.
Stop animation you ask? The hundred minute film is made of a combination of stop motion animation as well as CGI (sorry but Coraline still gets the title for longest stop motion film) that is perfectly shown over a 3D screen making the viewing of the film an experience in itself. We all made those cheesy Post-It flip books so we know how it could end out, but The Lego Movie does an amazing job at mixing in both ways of filmmaking that you are just caught in awe at how it looks – and you’ll want to go home and make your own Lego film as soon as the film is over!
The film starts out with a regular Joe called Emmet (played by Chris Pratt, who is being chased by Liam Neeson’s character as both a good cop/bad cop (which I swear I wrote an SNL skit on before I even heard this movie), who is taking orders from Will Ferrell’s Lord/President Business. Emmet finds help in Morgan Freeman’s befitting God-like character called Vitruvius as well as Wyldstyle (played by Elizabeth Banks) who is Vitruvius’ stepped over prodigy. Richard III anyone? Also, we love the seriously hilarious voice of Will Arnett as Batman, who is Wyldstyle’s boyfriend.
Well now that we met the family, let me tell you that the best voice actor had the smallest on screen time – Billy Dee Williams, who reprised his role of Lando Calrissian. And that has to be one of the best things about the film – the voice characters just keep you guessing. Just how we were surprised to see Stephen Colbert in The Hobbit, you will be just as surprised and bright eyed (eared? Is that a verb?) in this film when you try to guess which one of your favorite actors is behind the voice of the character. Obviously Charlie Day’s voice was no challenge, and you can expect his loveable high pitched voice in this film as well, but it will be harder for you to correctly guess who else in the film, like perhaps guest cameos from Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Will Forte and even Shaq playing himself.
While the story is the average run of the mill cliché love story/midlife crisis kind of story, the movie is still rather entertaining. Besides the fact that most parts of the film look as if they were stop motion (and sight gags are sure to make you laugh for that very reason), the film is so visually enticing that it’s hard to look away in the first place. It keeps you captivated from the very first second that we hear the impossibly eerie sounding 1980s-like techno song “Everything is Awesome” to the end with the credits rolling and real life come into play. (Minor spoiler – we see actual human people, including Will Ferrell playing Will Ferrell playing a serious Will Ferrell… playing a few Lego characters).
Above all, it is sure to entertain kids of all ages, including adults as well. With its well written jokes and closer to life realities, the film proves to be one of the most entertaining and hilarious of the year- so far, and I could venture to say that it would keep that title, for animation at the very least. And as amazing as the film was to watch, it still has a point deep in its core- to not conform to society’s values but instead, to learn to be yourself and let your imagination run wild. The entire film revolves around the idea that instructions are the building blocks for normalcy but being yourself is the true gift that you have, even if society deems you wrong and tries to lock you up for believing so.
Either that, or writers/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are very anti-facists. So, go see The Lego Movie, which is out now, it’s sure to be as fun and exciting for as it will be for your kids.