Butler County Times Gazette
  • ‘Lego Movie’ non-stop fun

  • "The Lego Movie" might not sound like an instant classic. After all, a movie derived from those plastic bricks everybody loved playing with when they were kids could have easily been a 100-minute commercial. But the result is non-stop fun. You should see it immediately.
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  • "The Lego Movie" might not sound like an instant classic. After all, a movie derived from those plastic bricks everybody loved playing with when they were kids could have easily been a 100-minute commercial. But the result is non-stop fun. You should see it immediately.
    A mix of computer animation and stop-motion that's so brightly colored and inviting you could take a sunbath in it, the movie is about an ordinary construction worker named Emmet (voiced with goofball charm by Chris Pratt). Or maybe not so ordinary; Emmet might be “the Special” (kind of like the One in "The Matrix", but way less serious). According to a mystic named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), the Special is destined to stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from freezing everyone on Taco Tuesday with the Kragle, which is actually just Krazy Glue with some of the letters missing.
    By now you may have guessed that writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have set out to capture the silliness and boundless creativity of playing with toys. They've succeeded spectacularly. Like everyone else in the city where he lives, Emmet is a huge fan of a TV show called "Where Are My Pants?" His favorite song is "Everything Is Awesome", and I don't blame him; sung by Tegan and Sara, it's super catchy. The beginning of the movie is a subtle satire of American conformity, but the filmmakers pull this off in such an amusing way that the smile will never leave your face.
    The early scenes feature quite a few consistently funny characters. In addition to Emmet and Vitruvius, there's Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), who becomes all bad in an absurd scene involving nail polish remover. There's also Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a tough girl Emmet meets and instantly falls in love with. But the movie really kicks into hyper-drive when the action switches to Cloud Cuckoo Land, where we meet the Master Builders. It's at this point that "The Lego Movie" becomes something like this generation's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", in which an astonishing number of beloved characters assemble onscreen. Here, we get Milhouse from "The Simpsons", Gandalf, Green Lantern, Superman and Batman – all in the same scene. Did I mention that Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian show up in the Millennium Falcon? This isn't just a movie; it's a pop-culture fantasy.
    I think "The Lego Movie" has a good chance of winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. This year's winner in that category, Disney's "Frozen", will be released on DVD on March 18. The disc's special features will include the Oscar-nominated short "Get a Horse!" and a music video for "Let It Go" (winner for Best Song). "Mr. Hublot" (winner for Best Animated Short) is available on iTunes, as are fellow nominees "Possessions", "Feral" and "Room on the Broom" (my personal favorite). Like "The Lego Movie", Best Animated Feature nominee "The Wind Rises" is now playing theatrically in Wichita. An English-language version of "Ernest & Celestine" is coming soon to theaters. "The Croods" and "Despicable Me 2", two other nominees for animated feature, are now on DVD.

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