Beer or Box Office: ‘The Lego Movie’

This movie review was originally published at USA TODAY COLLEGE on Feb. 21, 2014. Photo found here.

At first glance, The Lego Movie is nothing more than a 90-minute advertisement for those lovable colorful bricks we all used to play with as kids. And that’s a partially correct assumption. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that behind this corporate advertisement, there’s a distinctly anti-corporate message about individuality and not playing by the rules. It’s also the most fun movie I’ve seen in a long time.

The madcap plot centers on Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), an incredibly average Lego-man construction worker who just wants to fit in with everybody. This includes listening to the same songs as everyone else (Tegan and Sara’s “Everything is Awesome”), dressing like all of his peers and, above all else, always following directions. This gets him through his mundane life until he unwittingly stumbles upon The Resistance Piece, which will free all of the people from the clutches of the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell).

Lord Business rules the entire kingdom by subliminal messages — he controls the TV shows that the people watch, the clothes they wear, even the coffee they drink. His biggest problem is when the citizens “mess with his stuff,” i.e., go against his instructions. To that end, he plans to freeze everyone with Krazy Glue to literally keep them in their place.

The only person that can stop Lord Business is The Master Builder, a hero that the prophet Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) spoke of in the film’s opening sequence. Emmet becomes mistaken for the Master Builder because he found the Resistance Piece, and he struggles to lead the rest of the Lego people who dare to defy Lord Business.

If all of that sounds crazy, it’s because it is — this script is weird and packed full of random jokes. There’s enough non sequitur puns to rival an episode of Family Guy. But that’s part of this movie’s charm — throughout the movie, so many comments are made that criticize Lego and corporate America that you can’t help but feel in on the joke. The Lego Movie is absolutely unpredictable, and it’s way better than it has any right to be.

The voice talent is top-notch, with some people only getting minimal speaking lines. Unlike other animated films that play up the voice acting over the script, most of the voice actors here are unrecognizable without seeing the credits. And the twist ending makes up for all of the seemingly random craziness that goes on throughout the entire movie.

It may look like a kid’s movie, but The Lego Moviehas a distinct message for everyone: Sometimes it’s best to just do what you want and not follow any directions.

Verdict: Box Office. It’s a million times better than it has any right to be. Yes, it’s weird and crazy and a huge advertisement for the toy company, but damn if it isn’t the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time.

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