The LEGO Movie Movie Review
If you can't wait until 2016 to see Batman back in action... if you've been waiting your whole life to see a movie literally made brick by brick on the fly... if you just really like Lego's... then the wait is over. The Lego Movie is here, and it is a lot of fun.
A sociopathic politician wants to bring order to chaos in the magical world of Lego people - by gluing them into permanent positions, oh no! - and it's up to a ragtag group of heroes (including Batman, Abraham Lincoln and Gandalf) and one seemingly unremarkable construction worker named Emmet to save the day.
Sounds like a blast. It is a blast.
The Lego Movie plays a lot like Disney's Wreck-It Ralph (which found the perfect balance between tapping into a child's imagination and parental nostalgia) by finding that perfect balance between tapping into a child's imagination and parental nostalgia. If you grew up playing with Lego's like I did, you'll recognize many of the classics - the glow-in-the-dark ghost (equipped with fishing line, of course, to make him float), the vintage blue astronaut ("Spaceship!") and much more. Lego's have come a long way since, tapping into other brands (like DC Comics superheroes), and Warner Bros. has done a terrific job of shoving everything into this sometimes crazy, often zany production.
At 100 minutes, The Lego Movie moves fast and furiously, shooting from one spectacle to the next at breakneck speed, undoubtedly captivating the minds of youngsters while throwing more than a few clever one-liners at the adults in the audience to keep them pleased, too. The Lego Movie has a sharp yet dry sense of humor, which is used to good effect throughout.
Unfortunately, the movie does suffer from one major mistake: a directorial decision to, in the third act, tear the audience out of the world of Lego's and place them in the real world, where we get to see a humorless father (played by Will Ferrell) interact with his imaginative son. There are some amusing moments, and I totally get why Warner Bros. and especially The Lego Group went this direction, but it really kills the fun factor and feels wholly unnecessary. Referencing "the hand in the sky" and other allusions to the real world were enough; why actually stop the story to show a sappy bonding scene between father and son?
That aside, The Lego Movie is a fun, enjoyable family film that has something for everything. The movie isn't quite as enthralling, entertaining or funny as Wreck-It Ralph (and trust me, the comparison is just), but it's still a well done movie that will appeal to people of all ages. It's not perfect, but its imaginative story and fantastic visuals make it the first must-see movie of 2014.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.