By Darin Skaggs
One of the most popular toys on the market is the Lego. Piece by piece you can put together vehicles, buildings and people from many popular movie franchise including Star Wars, Harry Potter and many superhero brands. Chris Miller and Phil Lord, creators of the hilarious comedies Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, have taken on the Lego franchise and created a believable world where these toys would live.
The story follows Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt. He is an average not so different, instruction following guy, he is even described as too generic to point out, that finds himself locating a missing piece that will save the Lego land. He is accompanied by Wyldstyle who is voiced by Elizabeth Banks, a master builder that does not follow any instructions. She has learned she can build anything out of a few Lego pieces. She takes him to Vitruvius, voiced by Morgan Freeman, to be trained to be The Special. The Special is the one who finds the piece that will save the world from the Kragle. It is clear that Emmet is not so different, except that he has one unique idea to make a double decker couch. They, along with Batman and a very positive pony, set out to save their universe from the evil Lord Business, voiced by Will Ferrell.
Like Miller and Lord’s other films this one is hilarious and also like their other films it’s not really for children. It is not dirty but the film just has more mature humor and is constantly referencing pop culture over a decade older than the children that will attend this film. That does not make it bad just miss-marketed. There are a few silly gags for the kids but mostly the film seems like a grown up film starring Legos.
The film, at first at least, is about going against the grain. Emmet is constantly reading “How To” instruction manuals. Then he joins the group of Master Builders, who hate following the crowd and build items using their own imagination. The film seems to be leaning that way but at times it says following the instructions are helpful. The film is saying don’t be one sided and do the right thing. Then the third act comes along and throws everything out the window. Maybe the film is not trying to make a point. Maybe the film is just trying to be a crazy entertaining mess. Or both, which it succeeds.
Like Spike Jonze’s Her, the film fully commits to world building. Everything is made out of Legos in this world. The ocean is made of a million tiny Legos and when items catch on fire the classic fire piece is used to show it. When Emmet does a jumping jack he does not move in the correct motion because he can’t move that way. Every single piece is made of Legos.
Miller and Lord are three for three when it comes to their movies. The film is hilarious. The end is weird but in a good way. It goes 180 degrees another direction. It is kind of confusing and does not match up with the logic of the story, but it seems to be on purpose. The film is amazing and will go down as one of the best of the year.