Like good children of Danish ancestry, my brother and I grew up with Lego building blocks. We had a dresser drawer full of the plastic interlocking pieces, and often had an entire functioning town (cars! streets! grocery stories! schools!) laid out on the bedroom floor. It was joy (you could build whatever you wanted!) combined with tough-love pain (stepping on a brick with a bare foot… ouch! or having bleeding hands after stirring through a vat of bricks all day, looking for just the right pieces). If you wanted to see a skeptic at the idea of a feature film about a treasured toy from MY childhood for a change, you can point your huge foam finger at this girl.
So count me surprised and delighted that The LEGO Movie made me laugh. A lot. Not only does it cater to kids, who are the target audience for this family-friendly adventure, but there is a full-on nod of acknowledgement to the many adults who still hoard their childhood collections (I’m talking about you, Moviepie Tom!).
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is your typical generic construction worker. If the real world consisted of main characters and generic extra pieces, like the LEGO world does, Emmet would be one of those extra figurines that would drift to the bottom of the LEGO drawer and probably lose his hairpiece. Everything is awesome in Emmet’s world as a construction worker, because he really doesn’t know any better. But when he stumbles across an artifact in his construction site, a hot chick named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) swoops in and proclaims him The Special. Emmet is the hero that the LEGO world has been waiting for, to protect everyone from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who is bent on destruction and a special sort of carnage. But is generic Emmet the Master Builder that everyone thinks he is?
Admittedly, there is a lot of crash bang boom prelude at the very beginning that had me a little confused, but once I got used to the style of the movie, where everything is depicted as animated LEGO plastic (including fire and water… ha!), I fully enjoyed it. The design of the film looks great, from its LEGO-eye perspective. But what really makes the story shine is the surprisingly sharp and funny script, combined with the talented voice-actors. Morgan Freeman is perfect (of course) as the all-knowing wizard-like Vitruvius. Liam Neeson is instantly recognizable as Bad Cop/Good Cop. But Will Arnett NAILS it as Batman, making him one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a long, long time.
The recurring theme song of The LEGO Movie is the insistent, ridiculous earworm “Everything is Awesome!” which gets stuck in your head… kind of like one of those little round plastic pieces that you accidently pushed up your nostril that one time. LEGO aficionados and kids of all ages will agree that this movie is pretty dang awesome, too.
The Everything Is Awesome Edition has every possible thing a fan may need. In includes the film on 3D Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray, DVD, Ultra-Violet, plus a mini LEGO figure of Vitruvius. In the featurette “Dream Job: Meet the LEGO Builders”, Chris Pratt (the voice of Emmet) describes the Master Builders as the “professional toy-player-withers” who played a huge part in the design of many of the animated and live-action sets in the film. These inspired adult boys (yes, as far as I cold tell, they are all men) are shown brainstorming building with drawers and drawers full of organized, color-coded pieces! It kind of takes away the fun of stirring through pieces to find the one you need, but still, OMG, what a fun job. There are tons of other extras, including the winners of a fan contest to make a 30-second LEGO film, deleted scenes, fake “outtakes” (that are actually pretty funny), interviews (and commentary) with the writer/directors as they take you through the storyboarding and creative process. It’s kind of cute that it is implied that Emmet himself, was a real “person”, reacting to seeing his big head on screen the first time, going through multiple takes, and getting to tour the LEGO factory and LEGOLand in Billund, Denmark. You can’t blame the people involved in all aspects of the film for littering all their descriptions with, “Awesome!”… because it really is! (And, yes, there is an “Everything is Awesome!” Sing-Along. Of course there is!)