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Lego Movie (3D), The

Warner Bros. // PG // February 7, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]

Review by Jeff Nelson | posted February 7, 2014 | E-mail the Author

With all of the remakes, sequels, and prequels being released over the years, a lot of audiences have assumed that the industry has simply run out of ideas. It's definitely irritating that Hollywood has been green lighting a lot of questionable motion pictures. However, it's entirely false that filmmakers have run out of ideas. There are always unique concepts to be discovered. However, the key to having a successful film is execution. Even if the concept itself is being recycled, that doesn't necessarily mean that the picture won't be able to achieve its goal. Warner Bros. is distributing The Lego Movie, which features a branded toy product that many of us have grown up playing with. Some might instantly think of this as being a huge advertisement for the product, but it manages to work pretty well. The Lego Movie is ultimately a successful animated film that will even bring adults back to the imagination of their childhood.

Society has become incredibly structured and repetitive in every aspect of life. Whether you're listening to music, watching television, or buying a cup of coffee, life continues to repeat itself day after day. Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker and is seen as being simply another ordinary mini figure. He follows a manual on how to live his life and always fits in. After mistakingly coming across a magical item, he gets mixed up in a huge adventure filled with action and danger. He's believed to be a part of a prophecy seen by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) where an extraordinary MasterBuilder will save the universe. President Business, also known as Lord Business (Will Farrell), is an evil LEGO tyrant who has a plan to rule the universe and ensure that everything is uniform. It's the responsibility of our unlikely hero, Emmet, and his elite team in order to save the worlds of LEGO to ensure that creativity will still thrive throughout.

The key that is the film's execution doesn't come out of nowhere. This must be carefully crafted by filmmakers who understand the project and what it's trying to achieve. Writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller aren't strangers to making us laugh. With films such as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, they have been making audiences laugh for a couple years now. The Lego Movie is yet another successful motion picture that they can proudly add to their credits. Regardless of whether you're a child or a full-grown adult, it's difficult not to get caught under the spell of the characters. There are a lot of generic LEGO pieces that we've used to create a magical universe full of creativity. It's intriguing to see one of these pieces become a likable and fun character, who provides quite a bit of humor. While we're introduced to various new roles, there are a lot of supporting ones fulfilled by well-known characters in the LEGO universe. This includes names such as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Gandalf, and the list goes on. While Batman is the only one to provide a notable effect on the plot progression, they're all present to deliver some decent laughs for the audience. Writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller do a wonderful job putting these characters in funny situations and providing them with humorous dialogue, which ultimately come together to deliver an entertaining experience.

Putting aside the humor, The Lego Movie most certainly has a message underneath it all. As expected from an animated family picture, it incorporates messaging towards young audiences. It speaks about how we're all unique and special in our own ways. It also tells us how if we believe in ourselves, then we will be able to accomplish anything. However, I personally enjoyed the societal messages. It displays an overbearing government that is involved in every aspect of personal life, as well as business. Everybody is forced to follow instructions, listen to the same song on the radio, drink the same expensive coffee, and more. Expect to get completely irritated with the song that children will be listening to, titled "Everything Is Awesome." Animated films with music are generally known to annoy adults, but here, it actually makes sense. There's a resistance due to such control over things as personal as what we listen to. Everybody and everything is expected to be identical, which beefs up the story quite a bit.

There are some laughs with some intriguing messages, but the screenplay doesn't pull too many punches. You'll know every plot point before attending the cinemas, as it still fits the formulaic structure that we've come to know all too well. Some story elements are quite brave for a major Holywood film, but the storytelling techniques themselves are quite safe. Just as you think it might deviate from the formula, it goes drives itself right back. This is true up until the end of the picture, which is when we're given a conclusion filled with parallelism. While some may criticize it negatively, I found it to be a smart way to end this story. It gives audiences a little bit more to chew on after the credits are done rolling. However, it would have been even stronger if the remainder of the screenplay received small little deviations such as this. Even in animated family features, it's nice to have some pleasant surprises.

It isn't enough for the filmmakers to simply bring fun characters to the screen, but they also must embrace the entire universe, and that's exactly what they did. They could have easily created a more realistic-looking animated picture, but they decided to use the toy brand itself, which is excellent. The various pieces are used in brilliant ways. Even elements such as water and fire are represented by respectively colored and shaped pieces. This is all edited together in a masterful way. The action is extraordinarily entertaining, as it pull us back into the imagination that we had as children when playing with similar pieces. This is some of the best use of 3D for an animated picture that I've seen in quite some time. The colors are still bright and vibrant, while there's an exceptional amount of depth throughout the picture. When the action kicks into high gear, this added dimension truly shows its teeth. This film aggressively and successfully utilizes the technology in order to deliver a more thrilling movie experience.

Have you ever been a fan of the LEGO brand? As a child, did you run around the room with a spaceship that you made out of the small pieces and act as if you were on a mission? Well, I remember it quite vividly. The Lego Movie brought me back to a more simple time. It isn't the perfect animated feature, but it's an entertaining and funny adventure that is actually pretty good. The characters are likable, and while the majority of the plot is quite generic, there are some small surprises that aid in delivering a great experience. Expect the usual messages to children, but there are some undertones for adults that will surely be appreciated by those who read into it. The Lego Movie is a lot of fun, which is actually enhanced by the 3D viewing experience. Recommended.




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