PHOTO BY WARNER BROS.
THE LEGO MOVIE
Where is it playing?: Downtown Centre, Park (in 2-D), Stadium 10 (in 2-D)
What's it rated?: PG
What's it worth?: $10.00
Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is an ordinary, rules-following LEGO mini figure who’s mistaken for an extraordinary master builder and the key to saving the world from an evil tyrant threatening to glue the universe together! The animated film also features voice work by Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Morgan Freeman, Jonah Hill, Liam Neeson, and Nick Offerman.
As a kid, I loved playing with LEGOs (Yes, I know it’s just LEGO, but I say LEGOs. Deal with it!). What you could build was only limited by your imagination. That’s an idea at the heart of The LEGO Movie, which follows the adventure of Emmet, an “ordinary” construction worker figure whose main goal is to fit in.
He follows directions perfectly, but he’s wholly devoid of imagination. When’s he’s mistaken for “The Special,” he’s so excited to have a little respect that he goes with it, sending him headlong into an adventure to stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell), a rigid totalitarian dictator who wants everything perfect, so he plans to glue the universe together with every LEGO piece in just the right place. No room for imagination, play, or “thinking outside the box.” This satire of rigid conformity and power over the masses elevates this film beyond kiddie fare.
It also helps that there’re great voice actors at work, from Will Arnett as Batman to Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius. It’s a film that really does appeal to all ages.
For the cynics out there, yes, it’s true that the film is essentially a 100-minute commercial for how awesome LEGOs are, but how could it not be? I mean, isn’t every kids’ movie a big marketing scheme replete with toy tie-ins, collectibles, and trading cards. It just so happens, LEGOs are already out there. Will the film send kids to the store to buy more LEGOs, or will it send them into that big storage box under their bed to pull out the tons of LEGOs they already have?
The important lesson the film imparts is that creativity, whether it’s successful or not, is good, and I think that’s a great message for kids. All children draw, but there comes a time in most kids’ lives when they get to a certain age and start to feel their limitations. They can’t draw a horse right, or a face right, or whatever, and they give up, quit. This films says, who cares if your creation looks dumb, has seemingly no purpose, or doesn’t look how you wanted it to look? The important thing is you experienced the creative process. You had fun! That’s a pretty good message. And as noted, the film also pokes fun at money grubbing, conformity, and control. That’s an even better message. (100 min.)