The best thing about the LEGO Movie is how much more work was put into it than was absolutely necessary. This could have very easily been a cash grab banking on product recognition with zero effort put into the film much in the vein as last years Planes. Instead what we get is a consistently funny kids movie that will win over as many parents as children.
The plot is very basic with the hero Emmet being a nobody that does exactly what he’s told and is thrust into a world that he didn’t know existed so that he can find out how to be the special he was foretold he’d be. It is essentially the LEGO version of the Matrix. The themes of the film, such as conformity versus individuality and creativity, are not entirely subtle, but there are a couple of twists and turns along the way with a particular one near the end being, perhaps, a make or break moment for the audience’s enjoyment of the film. The moment worked for me and I applaud the daringness of the filmmakers on their risk taking.
The LEGO Movie does nothing wrong. It is exactly the kind of kids movie that children will love without parents wanting to bash their heads in. (I’m looking at you Smurfs 2.) It incorporates characters from DC Comics, Harry Potter, and Star Wars with wit and some of the cameos are genuinely inspired. Batman is featured heavily and has some of the best laughs of the film. It also has the distinction of being the first film to unite Batman and Superman. Sorry Zack Snyder.
The only drawback to the LEGO Movie is that it is a kids film in a slew of kids films. Even the best of the genre is still just a kids movie and will likely be forgotten in a couple of years, which is a shame because there is solid voice work done by Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, and Liam Neeson. Some of the gags are truly inspired and this deserves to be remembered as more of a spiritual kin to the great spoof films such as Airplane and Spaceballs. While its not up to the heights of those movies that is where the comparisons should begin. The LEGO Movie should be discussed with the likes of Mel Brooks and less with the likes of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. It dares to go beyond the pun and and was fun from start to finish which earns it an enthusiastic recommendation from me. Grade: A-