Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: The Lego Movie

Release date: February 7, 2014
Running time: About 95 minutes
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman
Who to see it with: Anyone with kids.


If there's one toy that pretty much every kid has played with, it's Legos.  The little building blocks are available in every toy store and in probably any kid's play room.  Although the toys have been around forever, the brand has recently started moving into new territory, starting with a successful line of Lego-themed video games.  The Lego Movie is a natural extension to the video games, a computer animated adventure through all things Lego. In the movie, an ordinary Lego man is forced to go on an extraordinary journey to save the Lego world. 

The animation is beautiful and imaginative.  As would be expected, the Lego theme permeates everything about the film, from the sets and environments, to the props and effects. It's amazing to see the creativity of the animators, with little touches like an entire desert with rolling hills or a vast sea that, on closer inspection, are made completely of individual blocks. It's so subtle that you don't notice it at times, but when you do it's simply amazing. The animation is also solid, although there are spots when it's too jerky for my taste. I'm not sure if that is by design to simulate how they would move in an actual Legos play session, but it's distracting. Fortunately, it's not a normal occurrence.

The story takes a lot of cues from various other Warner Brothers properties, most notably the Matrix. It is a pretty typical children's movie with a message of being happy with who you are. Lots of the lines and themes seem drawn from many other kids films, but it's not necessarily a bad theme to reinforce. The Lego license is in full effect with cameos from a variety of Lego-licensed properties including DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, and more. The plot jumps around a lot, which makes it tough to follow, but at the same time allows you to visit many different areas. The voice acting is good, with some very well known personalities lending their voices to the film. In the end, the animation is wonderful and the imaginative sets and Lego themes make up for a story I've seen many times before.  

Watch it.

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