Film review: The building blocks for a good movie

Film review: The building blocks for a good movie
LEGO® characters come to life in the the 3-D animated, “The LEGO Movie.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Zipping with energetic heart and undeniable fun, “The Lego Movie” is well-built entertainment for the whole family, and a dream come true for Lego fans.

There is no one in the Lego universe that loves being more ordinary than Emmet (Chris Pratt), a construction worker who lives his life according to the written instructions.

But things take an interesting turn when he is mistakenly believed to be the “special” — a prophesized Master Builder who has the power to save the world from the oppressive reign of Lord Business (Will Ferrell).

That power lies within the Piece of Resistance, which has somehow ended up on Emmet’s back.

Joining Emmet in his quest are the tough female rebel Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), the cryptic wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett), Benny (Charlie Day), Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie), and Metalbeard (Nick Offerman).

As Lord Business initiates his plan to glue the Lego universe together, Emmet struggles to unlearn everything he has read in the manuals to understand the power of imagination.

Never in all my years did I think a feature film based on Lego toys would make it to the big screen; all they’ve managed to do in the past has consisted of direct-to-video titles.

Well, it’s finally here, and for those of you who are curious as to how cool it is, let’s just say it takes the inherent fun in creating something out of Lego pieces and amplifies it hundredfold.

From start to finish, the flawless animation immerses the audience in a world that actually appears to be constructed out of Lego bricks — minifigures, vehicles, buildings, etc.

Each and every individual component is designed with immaculate precision; all the angles, textures, and surfaces resemble the real thing.

No Lego commercial or video game can compare to what has been accomplished here, and I applaud the artists and animators behind this undertaking.

In addition, the fluid motions cannot be disregarded.

Whenever a building explodes in an action sequence or the ocean roars with fury or the Master Builders construct machines on the spot, the elemental transformations — consisting of Lego bricks as well — electrify the screen with incredible alacrity.

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) instill a goofy sense of humor in the film that never feels out of place.

It’s all because of their brilliant screenplay and the resulting zany dialogue exchanges between characters (friendly and not-so friendly), which will keep the kids laughing and the adults smiling.

Furthermore, I like how the story possesses just as much enthusiasm as do the technical details.

Amidst the non-stop humor and action, this traditional journey is imbued with a thoughtful reflection on creativity, the driving force behind an infinite number of possibilities.

Anybody who thrives on living life through imagination and innovation, or is curious about what outcomes lay beyond routine and instruction, will find plenty to love in this epic adventure.

By the way, the directors deserve two big thumbs up for selecting an excellent voice cast.

Chris Pratt is the right choice for Emmet’s “regular, normal guy” spirit and reluctant heroic role. Will Ferrell clearly enjoys stealing the scene as the control freak Lord Business, who actually just might be the most complex character in the movie.

Elizabeth Banks has a blast kicking butt as the capable Wyldstyle, and Will Arnett nails Batman’s gravelly voice and serious demeanor.

Liam Neeson never falters in conveying Bad Cop/Good Cop’s dual personality. Morgan Freeman’s rich, authoritative voice is perfect for Vitruvius’ cryptic way of giving advice.

Nick Offerman delivers a crazily crusty performance as Metalbeard, the pirate whose body (save for his head) is composed of various tools and objects.

There’s no limit to Alison Brie’s lively vigor whenever she exudes Uni-Kitty’s temperamental sweetness. Last but not least, Charlie Day brings a lovably outdated enthusiasm to Benny the ‘80s Spaceman.

Always wanted to see Lego make a gigantic big screen debut?

Your wishes have been answered. Want to take your family and friends to see quality entertainment that everyone will enjoy?

This is your movie. Nothing wrong can be said about “The Lego Movie,” because frankly, everything is awesome.

MPAA rating: PG

Run time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Playing: In general release

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Filed Under: ArtsRancho Santa Fe News

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