All of the Pieces Fit and Yes Everything is Awesome!
First off, I will say that my kids dragged me kicking and screaming to see the LEGO Movie. While it was a popular toy, during my youth, I was never a big fan of the toy growing up. I had little interest in seeing this movie, but my son and daughter badgered me until I broke down and agreed to take them. Boy, am I glad I did. I LOVED this movie!
The story follows the adventures of Emmet (Chris Pratt), an unpopular and non-descript construction worker, whom literally falls into the role of the prophetic Master Builder and savior of the entire LEGO universe. The overall story is reminiscent of The Matrix. From the opening scenes to the very last scene, I laughed out loud throughout the whole movie. The dialogue was sharp and witty, and the comedic material appealed to a wide range of age groups. At times, you will get some wrapped up in the story that you will forget that this is a movie based on a simple childhood toy. It's no exaggeration to say that you can become really emotionally invested in the characters.
The voice acting was top notch, with an exceptionally strong performance by Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius). As the lead villain, Will Ferrell (President Business) also delivered a strong performance in this movie. I am not particularly familiar with Chris Pratt's other work, but he was the perfect choice to voice act the main character, Emmet. There is an unassuming, youthful quirkiness to his voice, which was perfect for the character, as he transitioned, from unassuming to quirky throughout the movie. Despite the powerhouse performances of the better known actors, and the appearances of strong licensed characters, there was never a point where Emmet was overshadowed.
This is one of the most visually unique motion pictures that you will ever see. LEGO block effects were used to represent almost everything from smoke to fire to water effects. Kudos to the artists, animators, and other creative minds who worked on this movie. If expressing creativity was part of the theme, then the visuals definitely reinforced the message. The character animations were limited to the simple physical articulations of the LEGO toy figures, but this was not a hinderance at all. Surprisingly enough, this enhanced the overall appeal of the movie, and provided several subtle comedic moments.
Several of LEGO's most popular licenses were used on this movie. Batman was the most prevalent and entertaining (you'll love his original song) licensed character, but I did get a kick out of the (SPOILER) Star Wars characters cameo. Green Lantern got his best onscreen treatment (sorry Ryan Reynolds), and the 1980's Astronaut was a surprise hit with the kids.
There is a great and unexpected twist at the end that really drives the plot and message home. The takeaway from this movie is that we should all embrace our childhood and the creativity associated with it. Parents will get just as much out of this movie as their children, so you should not hesitate to see this movie. I give it my highest recommendation.
+ Full of laugh out loud moments. Great voice acting. Creative use of visual effects. Great use of Lego license. Great message.
- Outside of possibly being a tad too long, there is no negative...Everything is AWESOME!