If I had an unlimited income with disposable money, I would spend it on all kinds of nonsensical things. I would definitely get one of those chameleonic paint jobs on my car so that it shifted from purple to green. I would have a fountain in my living room (with goldfish in it). I would have a pet Komodo Dragon (that's a terrible idea - they're poisonous!). I would also have an entire room devoted to Legos. Legos are one of the first toys I remember my brothers and I playing with as a child. When I was young (crap, when did I get old enough to start sentences like that?), the sets were large, and you could build what they suggested, but you could also build many other things by combining multiple sets. You can still do that with today’s sets, but they are far more expensive and detailed. The franchise sets (Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Lord of The Rings, etc) function almost more like models. This movie beautifully shows how both types of Lego play (totally random and super detail specific) can work together.
The story of this movie is fairly simple, but it’s beautifully put together. Emmet is a very regular Lego Minifigure construction worker, he's so regular that there is almost nothing memorable about him. He’s really happy with his life in Bricktown, where every day has instructions laid out for all the citizens, and yes, they use Lego instruction manuals. They listen to an approved song on a loop, “Everything is Awesome!” which will absolutely get stuck in your head for hours. They get home after their approved work every night to watch their approved favorite sitcom, “Where are my Pants?”. President Business has ensured that the instructions are very clear, that everyone sticks to them, and has announced that he has an upcoming “Taco Tuesday” to reward the citizens.
After work one night at the construction site, Emmet meets Wyldstyle, a beautiful girl looking for something, which of course Emmet accidentally finds. It’s the “piece of resistance” (hilarious), and it has been foretold that a Masterbuilder would find it and use it to help stop Lord Business (it’s the same guy as President business, using an equally terrible disguise to Emperor Palpatine) before he uses a horrible weapon to ensure that everything stays organized exactly as it is for all time. Wyldstyle takes Emmet to meet a wizard, and other MasterBuilders. She shows him that there are more places than just Bricktown, and that everyone is depending on him to save them. Emmet then has to realize the potential within himself to become the hero everyone else expects him to be.
The movie looks like is it stop-motion Legos, but is actually carefully crafted CGI. It has plenty to keep kids entertained, but even more impressive – it has enough jokes and action to keep adults nostalgic and happy.
- Chris Pratt plays Emmet, and is absolutely perfect in conveying Emmet’s complete and total enthusiasm for life at almost every situation. He is also great at conveying the sadness when Emmet realizes that no one thinks of him twice, because he’s not memorable. He doesn’t let this hold him down, and struggles to find a way to bring the chaos and the order together in a way that will save everyone. Sure you can build anything you want, but if you can't work together as a team, then nothing you build work work together - bam! Moral!
- Elizabeth Banks plays Wyldstyle, a kick-ass Masterbuilder heroine who has high expectations for Emmet. She’s funny and spunky, and that hair is pretty awesome. She does a standard hair flip when Emmet first sees her, and her whole hair moves from side to side, because it's Lego.
- Morgan Freeman plays Vitruvius, the wizard Masterbuilder, who spends most of the movie blind. Honestly, it seems that Freeman got the chance to do a send-up of the typical Morgan Freeman-type mentor characters, and it’s hilarious.
- Alison Brie plays UniKitty – a unicorn/kitten hybrid Masterbuilder who is all about clouds, and happy, and sparkles, and sweet things, until she’s pushed too far and snaps. She is virtually the same as Annie from Community, so great casting there.
- Charlie Day plays Benny, the nineteen-eighty something Astronaut Masterbuilder who is happy to join the quest, and even more excited about building spaceships. I’m pretty sure I had exactly that astronaut minifigure, because I remember that little emblem on his chest rubbing off in exactly the same way it is pictured in this movie.
- Will Arnett plays Batman – a Masterbuilder who builds only in black or very, very dark gray. He’s also Wyldstyle’s boyfriend, so that causes some friction, mainly because he is clearly more into himself than her, but also because she and Emmet start getting closer. He has some amazing one-liners in this movie that really made me laugh out loud – mainly about darkness. And that bit about throwing multiple batarangs to hit a button, then stating that he hit it on the first try is hilarious even though it was in the commercials.
- Nick Offerman plays Metal Beard, a Masterbuilder who is an impressive conglomeration of pirate, robot, and shark (one of his arms is a shark). He’s all about warning everyone about the dangerousness of the quest they are about to undertake, but is of course there when they need him.
- Liam Neeson gets to have the most fun as Bad Cop – he’s one of those Lego minifigures that has the double face, so you can turn the head around and get another facial expression. He’s both Good Cop and Bad Cop, and even Bad Cop’s father Pa Cop. He seems to be the one having the most fun.
- Will Ferrell plays President Business/Lord Business, and “the Man Upstairs”. He’s perfectly menacing in his desire to keep everything and everyone completely orderly at all times. I especially loved the hall of relics, and when the terrible weapon – the Kragle – is revealed, well, it’s hilarious. He’s even better as “the Man Upstairs”, which really provides the movie it’s heart.
- Those are the main players, but there are tons of others that are essentially cameos, and big time kudos to you if you can pick out everyone. Will Forte plays Abraham Lincoln, Dave Franco plays Wally, Jonah Hill spectacularly plays Green Lantern, much to the annoyance of Channing Tatum’s Superman, Cobie Smulders plays Wonder Woman, Shaquille O’Neal plays the Lego version of himself, Jorma Taccone plays Shakespeare, and Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Willams play their respective Star Wars characters.
I cannot stress enough how much you should see this – especially if you have any nostalgic love for Legos at all. It’s non-stop fun, it has some touching moments, and some really great brick-building action.
9 out of 10 – So much greatness! Gained points for Lando being the intergalactic smooth operator we all know he is, gained points for Bad Cop recovering from a wiping, gained points for the bickering between Gandalf and Dumbledore – seriously, what more can you ask for than that? A Duplo cameo? Okay, you got that too. Giant points for the Michaelangelo/Michelangelo moment.
Bonus Video 1: Billy Dee as Lando on Robot Chicken, still struggling with his deal.
Bonus Video 2: Pratt improvising in a Parks And Rec outtake – if you haven’t been watching this show – get caught up now, before Guardians of the Galaxy comes out this fall and he becomes leading man material, as opposed to only the funny sidekick.
Bonus Video 3: Cast interviews: