Take a Drink: every time someone says the word “awesome.” (Spoiler: you won’t last long.)
Take a Drink: every time Batman boasts about his own awesomeness.
Take a Drink: every time you recognize a Lego piece that’s been cleverly used for something else.
Take a Drink: every time someone criticizes Emmet’s lack of imagination (and intelligence).
Take a Drink: for every unexpected cameo
Do a Shot: “Everything is Awesome!”
To say that I was excited for The Lego Movie would be a tragic understatement. I’ve loved Legos for nearly a quarter-century; first falling in love with them as a child before carrying that love with me through adulthood. I stopped buying Legos sometime around middle school, instead taking the occasional trip down the toy aisle and thinking, “Man, why didn’t they have this many cool sets when I was a kid?!” I got back into collecting Legos about a year ago, and have taken up Lego photography as a hobby. I kept all the Lego sets I had as a kid, instruction books and all, which have slowly been consuming shelf space around my house, and I’m proud to say that I’ll love Legos for the rest of my life. So, needless to say, I was pretty excited to finally buy my ticket and sit down to watch the movie.
Despite the passion I have for the little interlocking bricks I was extremely skeptical about the prospect of a Lego movie at first. When it was announced that one was starting production, I rolled my eyes and chalked it up to another blatant Hollywood cash-grab; a studio betting on nostalgia while sodomizing something adults around the world hold dear, hoping they’ll drag their kids to cinemas and sell a bazillion toys. I was worried they’d turn Legos into the next Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. Luckily, I was wrong. Once the studio started marketing the film and the first trailers started being released, I knew we were in for something special.
There truly aren’t enough good things to say about The Lego Movie. It took every doubt I had and cast it aside, then took every bloated expectation I brought with me into the theater and not only met it, but exceeded it in spades, reminding me why I fell in love with Legos in the first place.
The fact that this film is incredibly funny, wildly entertaining, and, fittingly, awesome is reason enough to give it a toast. It’s simply the most fun I’ve had in a movie in years, and was one of those movie-going experiences where everyone clapped and cheered once the credits rolled. There’s just so much to love about the film that a simple review just doesn’t do it justice. It’s one of those movies you just have to experience for yourself.
I highly recommend avoiding spoilers at all costs, because the movie is chock full of surprises; not only for the Lego lovers out there (this movie was definitely made for you!), but for casual audiences as well. Legos have reached such a place in the cultural zeitgeist where they’ve become instantly recognizable, so even if you’re someone who didn’t step on a dozen or so Legos throughout your childhood, the film will be easily accessible and enjoyable. For the sake of not ruining the movie I’ll keep this review spoiler free and semi-brief. Because as I said, it’s a movie that just has to be seen.
The quality of the animation alone is worth the price of admission, leaving me slack-jawed a number of times. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) have crafted an entire universe in which this film is able to play in, and though we see a lot of it, it’s clear that there will be plenty of room to explore in the already greenlit sequel. The entire film has been built with Legos, from the characters, vehicles, explosions, buildings, and skyline. It’s a film I definitely have to watch again, just so that I can let my eyes stray from the action to scan the intricately detailed backgrounds and seemingly everyday objects.
What’s most important about Lord and Miller is that they truly understand what makes Legos so special. They know that the magic ingredient about playing with them is that anything goes. Abraham Lincoln’s chair might sprout rocket engines and fly away, while Batman’s able to conjure up a seemingly endless amount of batarangs. The film is, at its core, a love letter to the popular toy and the wild effect it can have on our imagination.
The Lego Movie is more than just the fun, family friendly adventure film it seems to be, and actually has a surprising amount of depth when it comes to its characters and ideas, truly making it a wonderfully crafted, well-rounded work of art for kids and adults alike.
As I said, there aren’t enough good things to say about this movie, and I could talk about it all day. Instead, I’ll simply say this: go see it. Don’t walk to the theater, run. It’s the first great moviegoing experience of 2014, and one that you’ll want to revisit again and again. I’d also recommend it in 3D, a format I’m not always sold on but that really works at giving the movie and universe it occupies more depth and wonder.
At the end of the day, there’s only one word that can truly do the film justice, and is fittingly the word-of-choice for our 4-inch protagonist, Emmet: Awesome.