Everyone’s favorite building block toys came to life when ‘The Lego Movie’ premiered on Feb. 7. We’ve movies based on toys flop before though (remember ‘Battleship?’), so is this Will Ferrell-starring cartoon a hit or a tower-sized bust?
Everyone loves Legos, the construction toys that have captivated the little architect in every child, so it stands to reason that everyone should love a movie about Legos. The Lego Movie premiered on Feb. 7 with a big cast (Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks) and even bigger expectations. Could the carton flick live up to the hype? See what the critics thought!
‘The Lego Movie’ Reviews
Binding The Lego Movie together is a Matrix-like conceit that turns the whole thing into an allegory about the nature of creativity and the meaning of amusement. As such, it encounters an obvious contradiction, one that bothered the 10-year-old Lego maven who accompanied me to the press screening. The overt message is that you should throw out the manuals and follow the lead of your own ingenuity, improvising new combinations for the building blocks in front of you. But the movie itself follows a fairly strict and careful formula, thwarting its inventive potential in favor of the expected and familiar.
The Lego Movie is a massive collision of subversive humor, hyper-kinetic energy, mind-jangling design, spinning colors and about 15 million Legos, no exaggeration.
I’m probably overselling it, but at one point during The LEGO Movie, I found myself thinking, “This is it. This is the one. This is the film that our entire shared experience of pop culture has been building towards.” I think it was around the time we saw a council of heroes (called “Master Builders”) made up of, among others, Gandalf, Wonder Woman, Milhouse from The Simpsons, Michelangelo, the Statue of Liberty, and the 2001 NBA All-Stars. Or maybe it was when a LEGO Batman played us his own death-metal composition (“Darkness …No parents …”) and everybody nodded along to the song’s edginess.
The brightly-imagined Lego Movie is also a wickedly smart and funny free-for-all, and sassy enough to shoot well-aimed darts at corporate branding. Satirical subversion in family entertainment is an unexpected treat, especially in a movie that also functions as a triumph of product placement.
As cute and energetic as it is, The Lego Movie is more exhausting than fun, too unsure of itself to stick with any story thread for too long. The action scenes are enthusiastic, colorful but uninvolving, like an 8-year-old emptying a bucket of plastic blocks.
Okay, so we’ve got one hater in the bunch. But majority rules here say that you should get off your butt and go see this movie. And take the kids, obviously!
– Andrew Gruttadaro