"We beat The Monuments Men? Wow, didn't see that coming at all!"
                           “We beat The Monuments Men? Wow, didn’t see that coming at all!”

Let’s be clear. The Lego Movie makes no bones about being a one hour, thirty-six minute commercial for Lego products. Lego environments, Lego characters, Lego licensed property tie-ins, including Star Wars and the Justice League make an appearance.

 

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It’s a masterstroke of marketing, rivaling the successful yet wretched Transformers franchise, because those look like actual Legos onscreen. “And if Legos look so awesome onscreen, I can’t wait to get home and bug the hell out of my parents to get me those Legos to play with,” thought every child in the audience. Thought some adults as well, I’m sure.

Crass marketing or not, The Lego Movie is great fun. As the parent of a Lego fiend, I found myself dealing with quasi-PTSD from having stepped barefoot on sharp Lego edges and broken vacuum belts from sucking them up accidentally. But it’s everything you could imagine from a visual standpoint in a 21st century CGI film, ramped up a million times over. At times, I thought I experienced sensory overload because so much was happening onscreen, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much the animators sacrificed in terms of time, family, stress, and any number of health issues in bringing this visually meticulous product to the screen.

The story is a typical self-empowerment tale, and doesn’t pretend to be any more than that. It doesn’t matter because it’s a kid’s movie that adults can enjoy, if nothing else than for the nostalgia of playing with Legos (although when I was a kid, I didn’t have anywhere near the amount of options available in Lego kits today). The geek in me loved seeing a Justice League presence to a certain degree; Batman steals many of the scenes he’s in. I also loved seeing a cameo appearance from certain characters and voice talent who hail from a galaxy far far away. I won’t give anything away, but given that a certain musical fanfare is used in the soundtrack as well, means it was a cameo worth millions of dollars.

The only problem I had is that, even though it’s a kid’s movie with a simplistic moral lesson, the third act suffers from unnecessary convolution and sappiness. It introduces an element that plays like a dated Disney Freaky Friday feature. But it doesn’t take away from the eye candy. At the end of the film, the audience applauded. Which leads me to believe kids will one day think back to The Lego Movie and perhaps consider it a childhood classic. 3.5/5 reels

 

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