There’s an undeniable magic to animated films. It’s a generated world with impossible action feats, faraway make-believe lands and characters being digitally created, drawn or modeled by hand. Observable child-friendly features are present: bright colors, silly jokes and a general lesson to be learned.
This can sometimes serve as a burden, however, making animated films lose their wow factor or venture into the “been there, done that” plotlines of redemption or self-discovery. Yet, “The Lego Movie,” directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, strikes as something different. It’s endlessly funny, with more than enough jokes to laugh at, a plot that parodies itself and visually stunning animation that allows the viewer to get lost in its Lego world.
In this Lego world is Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary Joe construction worker in Bricksburg who starts everyday with a laugh over last night’s sitcom “Where Are My Pants?”, joyfully buys an overpriced designer coffee and drives to work, singing along to the very catchy upbeat tune “Everything is Awesome.” Emmet faces each day with an unfaltering smile and cheerfully follows instructions and routine, but he is lonely and living an unremarkable life.
When he accidentally stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance in a hole in the ground at the construction site, he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who tells him that a prophecy states he is the only one in the universe who can save the Lego world. The threat comes from President Business (Will Ferrell), a control freak that plans to glue all of the Lego pieces together. With the help of rebel Wyldstyle, the wise elderly man Virtruvius (Morgan Freeman) and the Master Builders, an action-adventure goes underway to stop the gluing plan.
The plot moves swiftly and effectively and the jokes are constant and hilarious, but what really draws the viewer in quickly are the spectacular visuals. Animators have endless freedom with the ability to create any kind of animated world they please. This has never been truer than with this movie. Every single aspect of this movie world is Lego. Even small seemingly unimportant elements, like flames from an explosion or bubbles underwater are animated to be Lego pieces. There are no limits to the kinds of characters or objects, since almost anything or anyone can be created using Legos. This is where a lot of the fun and witty jokes come into play. During a scene where Emmet meets with the band of Master Builders to discuss their plans there is a colorful range of personalities. Abraham Lincoln, Michelangelo, Wonder Woman and Dumbledore are present, resulting in hilarious banter and witticisms.
The wonder of imagination is a strong factor of the film and since Lego is a popular line of construction toys, either you or your child has played with them. This makes the film relatable and fun for all ages. There’s also a nostalgia factor the film. As you’re watching, you may be flooded with memories of your own childhood imagination and with thoughts about how that limitless creativity may have escaped you along life’s obstacles and disappointments. This is often why animated films are for adults as much as they are for their children. “The Lego Movie” reflects this well with its colorful, astonishing visuals and bright and witty jokes. You are placed right back into the wonders of imagination. It’s a highly enjoyable and rewarding film experience.