Monday, February 10, 2014

If You Build It, They Will Come, Blockhead

You know, what?  I judged The Lego Movie when I saw the trailers for it.  I thought it looked stupid and that it looked like another loud, lame cartoon targeted for boys and only boys.  I do stand on my hatred of the title, but that's because I hate anything with the word 'movie' in the title.  That's all beside the point, though.  I was surprised by Lego's fast-paced story and the energy.  And, yes, the unexpected heart of it all.

The movie's prologue tells of a wizard named Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman, natch) protecting a weapon called The Kragle from Lord Business (Will Ferrell, natch).  Vitruvius fails to completely protect it, and he explains a prophecy about a normal person (called the Special) who will be able to find The Piece of Resistance and stop The Kragle's destruction.  

Chris Pratt voices Emmet, an aw-shucks, ordinary Everyman construction worker who loves his life.  Seriously.  His enthusiasm for waking up in the morning and beginning his day isn't natural--even for a toy.  One day, Emmet stays a big longer at the construction site and falls down a hole and discovers The Piece of Resistance.  Even though he knows he shouldn't touch it...Emmet is a goober and touches it.  He witnesses crazy visions and wakes up being interrogated by Good Cop/Bad Cop, voiced by Liam Neeson.  He spills Lord Business's plans for world domination, and then Emmet is rescued by an emo-y, ass-kicking chick named Wildstyle.  She, along with other Master Builders, are the resistance, and they think Emmet is the Special.  

That's a lot of story for a movie starring tiny yellow figurines piled up in your son's room, isn't it?

The Lego Movie is like if Toy Story tossed back some Adderall and chased it with a coke-laced can of Monster.  I legitimately laughed throughout the entire thing, and when it wasn't making me laugh, I was smiling.  Is the fast-paced ADD speed of it too much to handle sometimes?  Maybe, but the movie doesn't apologize for that.  It smiles blankly at you like Emmet waiting for his morning cup of coffee.

The voice acting is so energetic and charming.  I forget that Lego can get away with having all these superheroes and trademarked characters, because they have toys for all of them (that's it, right?).  Will Arnett as gravely Batman and Alison Brie as Uni-Kitty, the unicorn/anime kitten creation, might be my favorite.  Other characters like Wonder Woman, Superman (voiced by Channing Tatum to less) and The Green Lantern pop up.  Even a shot out to Harry Potter with Dumbledoor.  Whoooo!!!

Did I mention the original song "Everything is Awesome" that repeatedly gets stuck in your head?   It's introduced very early on in the movie, and it might plague us all of 2014.  It's so catchy...and then you want to pull out all your teeth...then you're dancing around to it...and then you know all the words!  Next thing you know, you bought the entire original score off iTunes.  No, seriously.  I did.  I'm ashamed.  

The Lego Movie surprised me.  It's fun and colorful and nostalgic.  It winks at your childhood but makes you laugh like the adult you are.  Or pretend to be.  

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