While on the surface it may appear to be a cash grab to just sell more play sets, The Lego Movie tries to capture the creative spirit of every kid—and kid at heart. And, well… IT’S AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. AMAZING.
The Lego Movie is written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the guys behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street. In terms of story, it’s about as cookie-cutter as they come: an ordinary guy must rise against the odds to beat an evil villain, joined by a ragtag group of friends. The specifics, however, are especially goofy and perfectly befitting a movie made entirely of Lego bricks. The cast of characters is brought to life by a ridiculously stacked group of voice actors: Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Charlie Day, Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Elizabeth Banks… I could keep going. They’re all impeccably cast and it’s easy to forget that you’re watching little plastic people. Side note: can we get Will Arnett to replace Ben Affleck as Batman? Please?
But what’s so surprising about The Lego Movie is that it refuses to conform to expectations. Lord and Miller could have easily made a feature-length Lego commercial and it still would have been a massive success. How ironic, then, that The Lego Movie has surprisingly deep, self-aware insights into consumerist culture and how we, as people, interact with toys and each other. There are some moments that are really quite thought provoking and even sad. The last animated movie to affect me this deeply was probably How To Train Your Dragon.
The Lego Movie is in love with its central building block (pun intended), and that attitude comes through in every aspect of the movie. The obsessive attention to detail would have been enough to elevate it above the usual animated fare, but its nostalgic, charming core makes the movie downright remarkable. To all who had shelves and shelves of plastic bricks in their bedrooms when they were children: you will not be disappointed.