The LEGO Movie holds top slot in box office
Most films that feature a character getting shot at with their innards flying out would easily obtain an R-rating as soon as the MPAA relinquished their pearls and ceased gasping, but if those innards are LEGO bricks, then you’ve found a recipe for a blockbuster.
Co-writers and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller swamp audiences with information as The LEGO Movie opens.
The magician Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) makes futile attempts to fend off the nefarious Lord Business (Will Ferrell), the film’s villain, in his quest to steal the “Kragle,” a weapon against these pint-sized characters that we know as glue.
Vitruvius foresees a chosen one who will soon save the world, and years later that hero comes to be known as Emmett (Chris Pratt).
A simple construction worker who ends up finding the “Piece of Resistance,” the only known combatant to the “Kragle,” leading him on a journey of self-discovery far away from home.
Making a film out of a child’s toy sounds like the definition of product placement, but The LEGO Movie is anything but.
The concept of the film is brilliant, so much so that it’s surprising it hasn’t been done before.
The fact that you can create anything out of LEGO, including plot-appropriate deus ex machinas, realistically does away with all the inane plot contrivances that litter most movies.
When it seems like it’s the end for our hero, he somehow finds a way through. In The LEGO Movie, that can happen because it’s possible in a LEGO world.
The mantra, “If you can think it, you can build it,” seamlessly works into the plot without issue.
Allowing actual funny people to write and direct a film proves to do wonderful things, as Lord and Miller do an impeccable job here.
There are the obscure references that will thrill those well-versed in the world of LEGO, especially those parents dragged to the theater by their kids, as well as plenty of poking fun at the popular zeitgeist, from Star Wars to The Terminator and everything in between.
There’s a certain level of brilliancy to utilizing well-known DC heroes like Batman (Will Arnett) — here as a narcissistic playboy that would have him in early contention for every award imaginable in a just world — with cameos from Superman (Channing Tatum), Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), as well as both Dumbledore and Gandalf (who are often and hilariously confused for one another), and even Shaquille O’Neal, playing himself.
No child segregates their toys — everything they own is thrown into a one pile and forged into whatever story their imagination conjures and the film follows that idea.
Kids will know who these characters are and parents will laugh at the caricatures they’ve become.
That and much more coupled with a running gag about a character’s name (Are you a DJ?) show the film for what it really is: deconstructionism at its finest.
This is a film that proves adults are capable of writing for children, and can do so in a smart manner rather than filling a script with toilet humor or otherwise demeaning their target audience.
Sure, kids won’t understand every single reference, but that will surely leave some fun for when they watch it again years later with their own children.
The film is not only rewarding on a single viewing, but it will presumably be just as good the second or third time around.
Though the film may appear to be little more than a cartoon on the surface, its many levels allow it to elevate above standard February fare.
There’s a father and son story, a call for uniqueness and above all, the promise to be true to yourself.
Just as the movie invites all to build on their own, to veer away from the instructions and make it up as you go along, the inevitable sequel will likely feature a new creative team that will have its work cut out for them.
But as it stands now, this is a film akin to Pixar’s finest, the best film about toys since the Toy Story trilogy and like all LEGO kits, it’s a box full of fun.