Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The LEGO Movie - Movie Review

Starring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller.


Everything is awesome about this movie on so many levels. The message, the humor, the subtext, the characters, the creativity... All of it works.

Chris Pratt, who plays the guileless Andy on NBC's Parks & Recreation, brings that same dim-bulb wonderment to the voice of Emmet, a construction worker in Legoland. Emmet is chirpy, positive, and part of a team, a team that Reads The Instructions and builds buildings. The movie has this shrewd animation style that looks like it's a combo of stop-motion and CGI (I'm guessing it's more CGI than stop-motion).

This Lego universe is run by President Business (Will Ferrell), head of the government and most coroporations. Behind closed doors, he's Lord Business! (Think Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious). Lord Business is determined to control everything, and he has a doomsday device called the Kragle which will allow him to usurp freedom forever. Ah, but there's this prophecy that someone called the Special will come forth with a Piece of Resistance and stop Lord Business.

Emmet accidentally stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance, and he becomes the unwitting fulfiller of prophecy. An underground resistance movement hails him as the Special, even though he's not smart or unique in any discernible way.

This movie isn't left- or right-wing, it's probably the most centrist pro-liberty movie ever made. It celebrates community not conformity, knowing when to break out and when to be safe, respect for yourself and others, and above all, it's good to let your imagination run wild.

Part of the freedom of this movie is how much it's able to borrow from others to create something new.  Characters from Star Wars and Harry Potter pop up, and one of the main supporting characters is Batman. The evil micro-managers that serve Lord Business look and behave an awful lot like the squid-robots from The Matrix. (Micro-managers! Ha! Surprised there weren't two henchmen named Sarbanes and Oxley).

It truly is a "whole family" movie. Plenty of laughs for kids and adults. Surely the front-runner for Best Animated Film of 2014, the other candidates sight unseen.

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