Legos save the world in new 3-D film

Lego Movie.1
“The Lego Movie” courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/MCT

By Gina Scialabba/The Guardsman

A witty, side-splittingly hysterical movie with dialogue so sharp and funny that it rivals many current comedies—and it’s about Legos? Oh yes, it sure is. 

“The Lego Movie” is the most unexpected movie of the year. You certainly don’t have to be a young child or a lover of colorful bricks to appreciate it.

What’s so fantastic about it?

Let’s start with why the movie is worth seeing.

As the theme song in the film suggests, everything is awesome. Really, it’s awesome.

This is directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord’s (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “21 Jump Street”) love letter to nonconformity.

It’s about thinking way beyond outside the parameters of the box. It’s a tribute to recognizing that every person on this planet has something valuable to contribute, no matter how great or small.

But you have to find that passion, that drive, that impetus to make yourself believe.

And “The Lego Movie” made a believer out of me.

The story begins with Emmet (Chris Pratt), a typical every man construction worker with no distinct personality of his own, except by what is defined by others’ interactions with him.

Emmet is a conformist. He tries to be like the crowd, but in doing so, becomes a nobody, a person that his fellow co-workers can barely remember. Our hero whistles while he works, always following the “instruction manual.”

He distracts himself by watching mind-numbing television shows containing the same recycled jokes (“Honey, have you seen my pants?” Hysterical laughter from the crowd every time) and plot themes. Sounds like the current state of network television.

All of this is about to change when Emmet literally stumbles upon the “piece of resistance,” a coveted red piece of plastic that is apparently the key to stopping the evil and ruthless President Business (Will Ferrell), a control-freak CEO with dreams of world domination.

President Business, aka Lord Business, physically resembles former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

He runs a media conglomerate controlling everything on the airways and more—music, TV shows, surveillance systems and even history books. And boy, he can’t wait to take over the world by super gluing it together.

Back to our ordinary guy, Emmet. Once he finds the “piece of resistance,” he is mistaken as being a “Master Builder,” or one who can save the universe. Then, the journey begins.

Emmet leads a team in a plan to save the world. He is joined by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Unikitty (Alison Brie), Benny (Charlie Day) and, yes, Batman (Will Arnett).

In addition to being hilarious, it’s a cornucopia of computer-generated imagery effects with real Lego elements done in a photorealistic stop-motion style. It works. The movie is filled with colorful, eye-catching animation. The CGI shots are crisp, clear, bold and detailed.

The only negative part of the movie is that it’s 100 minutes of product placement. I was inclined to leave the theater, pick up a brick and start building my own Legoland.

Oh yeah and Fox News recently bashed the film, claiming it indoctrinates children into an “anti-capitalist” Hollywood mindset. Maybe, but what a fun ride it is.

Should you go? Indeed. See it twice. There’s so much detail, you might miss something.

If you go …

 Running Time: 100 Minutes

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family

Release Date: Feb. 7, 2014

MPAA Rating: PG

Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Stars:

Chris Pratt

Will Ferrell

Will Arnett

Elizabeth Banks

Morgan Freeman

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