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‘Lego Movie’ the delightful sum of its parts

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: Feb. 20 | Modified: Feb. 20
‘Lego Movie’ the delightful sum of its parts

From left, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman and Elizabeth Banks lend their voices to ‘The Lego Movie.’

“The Lego Movie” boasts one of the most ridiculously infectious theme songs ever.

It’s called “Everything is Awesome,” it’s sung by indie rock duo Tegan and Sara and comic hip-hop outfit The Lonely Island, and if you find a way to get it out of your head, please let me know.

But that’s just one of many ways this animated delight sticks with its audience well after the colorful credits roll. It’s exceptionally well written, the jokes are brilliantly balanced for viewers of all ages, and the animation is flawless. It’s also one of the most overt samples of product placement to ever hit the silver screen.

But it works. Consider the Lego. Since 1932, the Danish toymaker has essentially given children (and let’s face it, some children at heart) a blank blueprint for imagination. With Lego’s bounty of colorful, interlocking construction bricks, the sky is literally the limit (

And Lego keeps on building, as the company continues to license themes from popular movies, TV shows, books, cartoons, you name it. Make no mistake, Lego is commercial, and the company will surely celebrate a banner year in 2014, but its products still seem wholesome and full of potential for young builders the world over. Want to fulfill that dream of having Indiana Jones fly the Millennium Falcon? Go for it. Does Harry Potter need a new quidditch partner? Try Superman. The possibilities are endless and increasingly so.

Put simply, Lego thrives on imagination and creativity, which just so happen to make for a great movie.

“The Lego Movie” is set in a world built entirely of Legos — not just buildings, vehicles and the like, but water, fire, clouds, everything — in which its citizens happily go about their daily routines.

Chris Pratt (TV’s “Parks and Recreation”) voices Emmet Brickowski, an average construction worker who’s just trying to fit in with his peers, but with little success. His world is turned upside down when the freewheeling Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks, “The Hunger Games”) identifies him as The One.

According to the wizard, Vetruvius (Morgan Freeman, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”), The One must fulfill a prophecy to thwart the nefarious Lord Business (Will Ferrell, “The Other Guys”), who plans to unleash the destructive power of the Kraggle, an ancient relic that, in reality, is a tube of Krazy Glue with obscured lettering.

To stop him, Emmet must learn the ways of the Master Builders, a group of creative geniuses that can construct practically anything out of whatever parts are at hand. Due to Lord Business’s mandate to adhere to the instructions and keep everything normal and uniform, they’ve been exiled into obscurity. But with the help of newfound friends, including Batman (Will Arnett, TV’s “Arrested Development”), Benny the Spaceman (Charlie Day, “Horrible Bosses”), the Unikitty (Alison Brie, TV’s “Community”) and many, many others, Emmet just might learn to tap his creative potential and save the day. And it might involve rewriting the instructions.

The filmmakers have followed suit with some truly original work. The animation is nothing short of stunning, flawlessly mimicking stop motion animation to make its fantastic setting seem completely tangible. The writing also helps, from crafty visual gags to droll dialogue, particularly when it comes to Lord Business’s “ancient relics,” which are really just mispronounced household items from real life. But that’s just the tip of the Lego iceberg set.

Directed and written by the talented Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”), “The Lego Movie” not only brims with hilarity, but also a surprising amount of emotional depth, thanks to a deftly executed twist in the third act.

Lord and Miller convey a thoughtful message without coming across as preachy, allowing viewers to fittingly build with it what they will. Like the toys on which it’s based, “The Lego Movie” is well-played and well worth revisiting — for Master Builders of all ages.

“The Lego Movie,” rated PG for mild action and rude humor, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 18, or visit

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