THE LEGO MOVIE (2014) MOVIE REVIEW “ALL HEART AND IMAGINATION, THE FIRST GREAT FILM OF 2014″

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Everyone in their lifetime has at one point or another had played with Lego. The pure simplistic design of Lego and what can actually be achieved with them is beyond extraordinary. You can build the smallest things or can make the weirdest entities, or even build the 7 wonders on the world in stunning detail. The only limit to what you can build is your own imagination. Lego is more popular today than it ever was. There are over a dozen titles for the video game market, there are countless third party licensing agreements for Lego, now Lego is expanding the market even more with their first ever feature film hitting the big screen. Some may wonder if this is a senseless cash grab for only the littlest of children in the biggest product placement film ever. All doubts you may have of this property will vanish, completely annulled from your mind. “The Lego Movie” completely embraces the spirit of Lego, it’s all imagination and heart. The filmmakers creates a wonderful piece of entertainment, that has both enormous amounts of heart, wonderful surprises, and great characters, this is a winner from beginning to end.

“The Lego Movie” follows the story of Emmitt, an ordinary “by the instructions” kind of guy. When he is accidently mistaken as “the special one”, the one that is prophesized to defeat the evil Lord Business and his evil scheme. For this he will have to join up with a fellowship of master builders and try to live up to his name even though he is helplessly out of place and way in over his head but must overcome that in order to save the Lego Universe.

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As I said before, the pure heart of this film is imagination. The world and universe the team of writers and filmmakers have created is nothing short of brilliant and creative. There is a nice mythology they set up for the universe. Much of it feels nostalgic and childish but works completely in its favor. Each world is distinct, different , and unique, none of it is derivative either. You can tell that the filmmaking team had a lot of fun coming up with all of this. This does for Lego what “Wreck it Ralph” (2012) did for Video Games.

The story starts at a fast pace, not wasting anytime, jumping right into the story with Lord Business attacking the wizard Vitruvius ‘s home. It can be jarring at first, causing you to miss the first couple of jokes that are in the opening scene because it is so unexpected. After that opening scene, the pacing stays fast paced but it’s not jarring unlike the first scene which just haven’t any build up to it. You get the rules of the world quickly along with Emmitt. Usually I would say there should be more character development in the beginning but here the frantic style works. There is plenty of character development all the way to the very end.

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The story keeps moving towards unexpected places, making the plot very unpredictable and will move into places you are not expecting. Cumulating with the very surprising and thought provoking third and final act of the movie that will sure to you gasping at the surprise.

Where most of the charm of this film comes from is the characters and the voice cast. This is a case where every single person fit their roles. Chris Pratt voices the lead role as the generic construction worker, Emmitt. Chris Pratt is becoming a bigger and bigger star in recent years. From his supporting role in “Moneyball” (2011) to his lead role in this, and the upcoming Marvel film “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) Pratt leads this role with ease. He is easily likeable and quick witted and has great comedic timing.

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Rounding out the rest of the cast includes Charlie Day, Johan Hill, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, and Will Ferell as the evil President Lord Business. Each one of them added their own dose of comedic sensibilities. There are a few surprise cameos as well here that I won’t spoil here. Will Arnett voices the role of Batman! His style of deadpan ironic humor is absolutely irresistible. Batman is easily one of the best parts of this movie, and I’m not just saying that because I am a big fan of Batman.

The script is incredibly smart. There are a wide range of jokes that can please people of all ages. The jokes do get a little un focused and sometimes can pop up at random moments but that doesn’t change the fact that it is really funny. The humor shows off plenty of pop culture references, slapstick, quick wit, and also some silly but good silly humor. The jokes keep firing away but at the same time the movie has no problem getting serious and heartfelt, to a Pixar level of emotion, which is a tough level to reach.

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The script touches upon some prolific themes. There is a theme of Conformity vs. Individuality. Themes of imagination and creativity, and also there seems to be some social commentary on how mass media affects us and how a Government can actually take advantage of that, for better or worse. Now this all being said the filmmakers might not even attempted to inject those themes into the film. We as human beings like to attach meaning to things that have no meaning. Sometimes a cigarette is just a cigarette. Regardless of it they intended it or not, the script allows for those themes to enter the film and is never preachy about it neither. Fox News has already taken aim at this film, bashing this film for being anti capitalistic. However I don’t believe that this film is anti capitalistic in the least bit, however that’s a different article for a different time.

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Here we have our first great movie of 2014. Not only does “The Lego Movie” feature a sharp sense of humor and great cast, but an enormous amount of heart. Heart that helps elevate this the already smart script filled with great themes and characters development. “The Lego Movie” embraces everything that is Lego, and that is imagination and creativity.

Final Score

9/10

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