By Scott Harvey
The outrageously catchy theme song to The Lego Movie is called “Everything Is Awesome,” which is a fitting title, considering that pretty much everything in The Lego Movie is, indeed, awesome. Featuring an all-star voice cast and eye-popping visuals, it’s hard to imagine why the filmmakers didn’t try to release this movie a couple of months earlier, as it surely would have been the frontrunner among this year’s weak nominees for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.
I was worried that The Lego Movie would be nothing more than a 90 minute advertisement for the titular product, but I couldn’t have been further off. The Lego Movie is the story of Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt, terrific), a happy-go-lucky, but decidedly average, Lego construction worker, who stumbles into an adventure when he is mistakenly identified as one of the Masterbuilders, an elite brand of Legos that can conjure practically anything out of nothing. Not only that, but fellow Masterbuilder Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman…yeah, really) believes that Emmet is the chosen one that will foil the evil plans of President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) and his cohort BadCop (voiced by Liam Neeson…not making this up here, guys) who intend to use a super weapon called the Kraggle to glue the universe together. Got that? Good, because you might also like to know about the ragtag band of heroes that ally with Emmet, including Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), the obligatory kick-butt female sidekick, Unikitty (voiced by Alison Brie), a pink cat with a unicorn horn, Metalbeard (voiced by Nick Offerman), a robot pirate, and, you guessed it, Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). The abundance of characters would probably seem cluttered in a different movie, but directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller deftly keep their film moving so fast that you don’t have time to do anything except grin and laugh at the bundles of references to other franchises that have been Lego-ized, like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. Another reason The Lego Movie works so well is because of its dazzling collection of stars. In a lot of animated movies, little heed is given to the voice casts, who typically phone in their parts. But not here. Every actor, including distinguished ones like Freeman and Neeson, totally commits to his/her character and all of the silliness in this script, and it really gives the movie an extra burst of energy. But as ridiculous as this movie can seem in bits, it is never less than inspired.
You’ll likely have feelings of childhood nostalgia, especially in the film’s climax, but that doesn’t mean this movie is only for kids. There are plenty of gags, both visual and dialogue-based, that will appeal to adults just as much as kids. And the visual environment, which ranks among the most dazzling I’ve ever seen in an animated film, is so immersive that you’ll find yourself mesmerized by it, no matter how cynical your attitude may be. It’s only February right now, but I feel like I’m on pretty safe ground saying that The Lego Movie will not just be the best animated movie you see all year, but possibly even the best movie period that you see all year. It’s that good. Drop what you’re doing right now and go see this movie.