Before Star Lord hit the big screen, there was Emmet Brickowski.
Chris Pratt lends his comedic voice acting skills to the world of Lego, bringing Emmet Brickowski to life. The blissful ignorance of the slow-witted, forgettable-faced klutz is shattered when he stumbles upon a secret feud between the Master Builders and the ruthless President Business. Pratt is just one member of a well-rounded cast. While rubbing elbows with the likes of Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks and others, Pratt and the accompanying voices of The Lego Movie more than satisfy their audience as they stampede us with action-packed slapstick and anecdotal hilarity.
When Emmet discovers what is referred to as the “Piece of Resistance,” he becomes the subject of a prophesy – that the one who finds the “Piece of Resistance” will stop the ghastly weapon known as the “Kragle.” Emmet is used to living life by the instruction manual. Literally. So when he finds himself in the ranks of the Master Builders, those who can create objects without the aid of an instruction manual, the result is hysterical. Being the “Special” (the figure of the prophesy), much is expected of Emmet, but he has about as much creative flare as a wooden plank. Despite his clear lack of ingenuity, Emmet strives to fit in with the Master Builders as they endeavor to outsmart President Business before he can use the “Kragle” in his master plan to eliminate individual creativity and claim complete creative control.
There are so many components that make The Lego Movie thoroughly enjoyable. The film is chock full of cleverly funny exchanges and one-liners. As if Emmet doesn’t look silly enough already, he attempts to impress the mesmerizingly cool action gal, Wyldstyle, who is preoccupied with her infatuation with Batman. The “love triangle” is a little wacky and juvenile and kind of reminds you of elementary school crushes chasing each other at recess. That said, it does fit in with the film’s general comedic atmosphere, and inspires one of the movie’s best one-liners when Emmet tries to convince Wyldstyle that he can be just as awesome as Batman. “I can be dark and brooding, too – aww, hey guys, look, a rainbow!” Each character has their own brand of goofiness to contribute to the madness. Will Arnett’s Lego Batman is a trip with his cliche Batman-isms and smack talk, while the wizard Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman) projects an aura of wisdom and mystery but is really just making it up as he goes. Not to be outdone, the scheming of Ferrell’s President Control Freak and Neeson’s Bad Cop display an uproarious variety of comedy and diabolicalness. Neeson in particular is surprisingly funny as he brings his tough-guy persona to the mix and puts a farcical spin on it. And I dare you not to laugh yourself silly at Benny, the 1980-something Space Guy.
Not only do you have the impeccable comedic timing of the voice acting, you’ve also got the added amusement of watching the characters frolic about in their Lego surroundings with their Lego accessories and Lego special effects. It’s Lego Everything. Even better is the way the film takes advantage of how far the Lego phenomenon has branched out over the last couple decades. There are so many references and nods to various fandoms that it isn’t even funny.
Okay, I fibbed, it’s actually hilarious.
The Lego Movie is more than just one good laugh after another, though. There are some great philosophies at work in the film, like the idea that even the villain can turn over a new leaf and channel their strengths towards the good rather than evil, or the truth that being part of a team doesn’t require us to be carbon copies of each other, or how we’re all capable of making a difference; any one of us can be the “Special” and have a positive impact on our surroundings. But perhaps the most meaningful plot twist is that the conflict playing out in the Lego world is a reflection of the struggle between a father and son taking place in reality, where a boy named Finn has his own ideas about how to enjoy his dad’s Lego creations, seeing them as a way to engage his imagination instead of just displays to passively observe. Finn’s dad, on the other hand, would rather keep everything in its place and doesn’t believe in Finn’s “hodgepodge” game-playing. “The Man Upstairs” has a choice to make: either continue on with business as usual and run the risk of suppressing his son’s imagination and squashing his creative genius, or take hold of an opportunity to strengthen his bond with Finn by sharing something with him for which they both have a passion. This more thought-provoking theme may be a little too deep for some younger viewers to grasp (though kids are often smarter than we give them credit for). Still, it sends a vital message to parents, and having your child sitting next to you while watching that scenario play out can only give greater impact to the experience.
What makes The Lego Movie great is that it has something for just about everyone – action, comedy, originality, a smidgen of (comical, if somewhat ridiculous) romance, and thought-provoking messages. This is a solid family film and definitely worth having in your movie library. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out.