Let’s not beat around the bush like I did in my Frozen non-spoiler review. My enthusiasm for this movie is simply too overwhelming: The Lego Movie is the best animated film since 2010. I would be shocked if The Lego Movie does not win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
It is tempting to draw comparisons to Frozen, but the satire in Frozen isn’t nearly funny enough. It is tempting to draw comparisons to The Avengers, but the action in The Avengers isn’t nearly frantic enough. So instead, I’ll draw comparisons to Alice in Wonderland; a movie where its protagonist goes down multiple rabbit holes extending far deeper than one could possibly anticipate out of an animated, family-orientated Lego movie.
To try and describe The Lego Movie is something like predicting the next misstep of a sleepy-drunk toddler high off his diaper on pixie stick powder. I’ll let that imagery sink in…
Although not every joke works, The Lego Movie relentlessly throws pop-culture references as quickly as Batman can unleash his bat-a-rangs to ensure everyone will be laughing their heads off throughout the entire movie. A lot of the humor comes visually, with characters easily bending backwards, superheros twisting their mask-covered-faces 360 degrees, and prophets floating around in this Lego Universe on a thread of string. Entire cities are blown to pieces so fast that it would make even Godzilla proud, guns shoot out Lego light-saber pieces, and almost anything can spontaneously explode into Lego smoke. There is so much happening on the screen at any given time you’ll be wondering if you should have downed the whole bag of Twizzlers during the previews. I can’t possibly imagine a kid being bored for more than a couple of seconds, even if they don’t understand what the heck is going on.
Built like a summer blockbuster, The Lego Movie boasts a star-studded cast, featuring (but not limited to) the voice talents of Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks, Jonah Hill, and Will Arnett playing characters the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Han Solo, Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare, Shaquille O’Neal and MORE. Perhaps why I’m tempted to compare The Lego Movie to The Avengers is because it perfectly balances these high-profile personalities with one another. Moreover, these characters never get in the way of the core story, which follows the most unlikely person destined to save the Universe, Emmet.
As Emmet falls deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, the Lego worlds he is introduced to becomes more and more wild. While Emmet’s world is organized like ours, the world of original characters Wyldstyle, Vitruvius, Benny the Spaceman, Unikitty, and Metal Beard are tameless. Likewise, as the story progresses, it takes twists and turns which you’d never expect a family movie to take. It really is difficult to talk about The Lego Movie without spoiling anything because it starts deviating from the usual story arches within the first half hour, and continues to do so until the last act of the movie. Whereas Frozen seemed to be winking at its audience about how revolutionary it was being, The Lego Movie simply moves along too swiftly for any cynical thoughts to subdue the inner child which screams: I love this movie!
For as unabashed as my feelings are towards this rapid-firing, all-cylinders-roaring animated flick, I couldn’t help but to be let down by the ending of this movie. It might be the case where it was so good in the beginning and in the middle that it was bound to fail, but for how innovative the rest of the movie was, the ending is shamefully cliche. Many critics (professional and amatuer) have admitted to being moved to tears, but I was not one of them.
Ever since Pixar dropped off the face of the planet after Toy Story 3 in 2010, it is almost ironic that another toy movie would rejuvunate the animated market. I would be joyous if The Lego Movie knocked The Lion King down to the #3 spot on the list of highest grossing animated features. Even if it doesn’t, I’m glad animation is starting to become relevant again with Monsters University, Frozen, and now The Lego Movie. Although The Lego Movie lacks the emotional resonance of Pixar’s superior Toy Story, I proudly hand-out my 50th grade to a movie as contagiously hysterical, creatively conceived, visually addicting, and as cracked up on sugar-derived stamina as The Lego Movie.
Final Grade: A- (91%)–Everything is awesome!