28) The Lego Movie [8.5]

The original 3D computer animated story follows Emmet (Chris Pratt) an ordinary, rules- following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.(2014)

I imagine most people would not expect much out of The Lego Movie besides frequent product placement. This is how I felt as well until I saw the first trailer. Then, once word of mouth began building, I became anxious to see if Phil Lord and Christopher Miller really pulled off something unexpected again (like their surprisingly excellent remake of 21 Jump Street). I’m happy to report that The Lego Movie lives up to the hype and exceeds it. With a simple but strong message, humor for both children and adults alike, and a very sharp script, The Lego Movie may be one of the better computer animated films I’ve seen.

Chris Pratt is going to be huge soon. He’s already my favorite part of Parks and Recreation, but with the upcoming Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and another Jurassic Park movie in the future, it’s just a matter of time before Pratt is a household name. His childlike glee and sweetness always feels authentic. He’s the perfect actor to voice the character of Emmet, a fairly normal construction worker who wants to fit in with everyone and follow all the instructions. The Lego Movie challenges him (and the young audience) to start coloring outside the lines and to be okay with not following the rules all the time.

As computer animated films began coming out more and more frequently, the list of famous actors replacing old school voice actors became more prevalent. Most phoned in their performances (sometimes literally), simply cashing a large paycheck from a booming part of the industry. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here– both Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman have some of the funniest lines and deliveries, and put in a good effort overall Will Arnett is perfect as Batman, and the filmmakers do a great job of poking fun at the mythos and occasional absurdity of the dark knight. Also, Jonah Hill as a fanboy-ish Green Lantern is just perfect.

The third act has a really interesting revelation that makes the themes of The Lego Movie even more poignant. Though I’d usually put Will Ferrell in that aforementioned category of money-grabbing voice actors, he does better dramatic work at this point of the movie than I’ve seen from him in previous (and far more serious) efforts. The Lego Movie sets itself up for a sequel in an interesting way, and I really hope that movie comes sooner rather than later. I should probably wrap this review up, as I now–for better or worse–have an insane urge to play with some Legos.

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