Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary man struggling to find acceptance and friendship in his normal, everyday life. However, when he stumbles upon a relic that leads mysterious parties to believe he is “the special” one prophesized to save the universe, his life becomes anything but normal.
Led by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and a group of “master builders” under the charge of the wise old Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Emmet must find a way to live up to the extraordinary high standards set by a prophecy he may or may not be the savior of all while on the run from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and his henchman Good Copy/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).
Oh, and everything is made of LEGOs.
Like many animated kids movies these days, The Lego Movie’s central theme is that you should strive to be original and not conform to what other people expect of you. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but leave the theater thinking it was odd that a movie with such a message would be so derivative of many other movies.
The plot of The Lego Movie is nothing we haven’t seen before. In fact, the one original thing about this movie is that it takes place in the LEGO universe. That leads to some clever situations and hilarious dialogue, but the substance of the movie really wasn’t there for me.
I couldn’t help but compare this movie to Wreck-It Ralph, a movie I cherish for its charm and nostalgia. I freely admit that it may be an unfair comparison considering the fact that Wreck-It Ralph had the freedom of several different properties as well as new worlds to create within its own unique framework.
However, it could be argued that The Lego Movie could have had the same feel if the filmmakers had gone for it. Instead, the characters are mostly confined to a few different (albeit interesting) locales while about 85% of the humor relies on satirizing some of the key characters’ intellectual properties.
There is nothing inherently wrong with that, though. The movie is funny and cute when it needs to be. In parts, The Lego Movie is actually downright hilarious. Will Arnett voices an arrogant LEGO version of Batman and he steals every single scene he’s in. There’s a scene where he rescues the protagonists and proudly plays obnoxious music he wrote “about being an orphan” that got a huge laugh from me and the most packed theater I saw it in.
The only other part where the movie really faltered for me was in the scripts over-reliance on deus ex machinas. There are several times in the movie where a character will bemoan the hopelessness of a situation only for the situation to completely reverse itself by the sudden appearance of the one thing the characters need.
The purpose of these sequences may have been satire, but they didn’t land that way for me. They felt contrived, as if the screenwriter didn’t want to (or for the need to) do any heavy lifting story wise.
There was also the issue of pacing in general for me. The opening scene is a prologue setting up the prophecy. Following that, we get a peek at Emmet’s life and the way he struggles to fit in. Within about 10 minutes, we get into the main plot of the movie. It seemed rushed and a little sloppy. I wish there had been more time spent developing the LEGO universe before it got into the derivative plot.
Despite the script problems, The Lego Movie is genuinely funny and the ending actually brings the movie a surprisingly heartfelt conclusion. If the script had been a little more polished, I think I would have connected to it a lot more. Instead, I laughed through questionable plotting.
Obsessive Grade: Worth a Trip to Red Box – The Lego Movie may not be worthy of your home collection, but it’s worth the effort it takes to travel to your nearest Red Box kiosk.