THE LEGO MOVIE
DIRECTED BY Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
STARS Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks
The LEGO Movie (Photo: Warner Bros.)
Even the second coming of Christ won't receive as much hype and fanfare as The LEGO Movie, which has already been hailed by so many folks (critics and audiences alike) as the greatest animated film of all time that the rest of us are being forced to wonder if we only imagined the existence of such masterpieces as Pinocchio, Toy Story and Spirited Away.
An ADD-friendly effort that will please adults because of their own pop-culture savvy and children because they're, well, children, The LEGO Movie employs those building blocks right from the start — with a LEGO logo (Warner Bros.) — and keeps 'em coming until a third-act twist. Of course, it's all a bit disingenuous since the Legos aren't for the most part actual plastic building blocks but computer-generated pixels, but of course that's to be expected in these post-Ray Harryhausen/Willis O'Brien times. At any rate, the picture sports a unique look, even if adjusting to it feels a bit like having to get used to Peter Jackson's High Frame Rate on the first Hobbit film.
The plot is the usual pablum about an ordinary guy who against all odds morphs into a beloved champion — in this case, it's Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), a construction worker with no friends but plenty of bad entertainment choices (his favorite TV show is a bit of inanity called Where Are My Pants?). But Emmet begins his journey from zero to hero after he's pegged by punk girl Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to be a "Master Builder," the chosen one who can stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). And during his Matrix-like odyssey, he comes into contact with such familiar figures as Batman (Will Arnett), Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams, in the house!) and such newbies as Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) and Unikitty (Alison Brie).
Walt Disney understood the value of a short running time in a family film — 64 minutes for Dumbo, 70 minutes for Bambi, etc. — and with a 100-minute run time, The LEGO Movie often does feel like too much of a good thing; I was satiated more than once. But it would be curmudgeonly not to enjoy many of the gags that the film has to offer — I was especially amused by the depiction of Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) as a pest to an irritated Superman (Channing Tatum) — and the late-inning turn of events provides it with some moral and even philosophical heft. Clearly, there are sound reasons to catch this clever picture — not the least being that it will piss off FOX News imbeciles who view it as sporting an anti-capitalist message — but beware of what its success may bring. The next thing we know, we'll have to endure less-promising efforts like The Slinky Movie, The Silly Putty Movie and The Rubik's Cube Movie.