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Examiner
  • Movie review: ‘Lego Movie’ is ‘awesome’

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  • Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the team behind the original “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” dwell in a world somewhere between childlike fantasy and corporate glory in “The Lego Movie.” And the result is pretty awesome. The 100-minute animated adventure, based on the wildly popular Danish building bricks, turns out to be one big, multi-colored block party that is equally entertaining for children and AFOL (Adult Fans of Lego).
    At the center of the story is Emmet, an average, rule-following construction worker who roots for the home team, returns compliments, loves Taco Tuesday, and digs the catchy song “Everything is Awesome,” which is everybody’s “jam.”
    Soon, an unsuspecting Emmett (voiced by Chris Pratt) stumbles upon something called the “the piece of resistance.” And because of this discovery, he’s believed to be the chosen one (think Neo from “The Matrix”) to save Bricksburg from the malevolent President Business (Will Ferrell) is plotting. It’s up to Emmet to stop him. He’s aided in his quest by a team of “master builders” that includes the streetwise steampunk-esque WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks), a darker-than-usual Batman (Will Arnett), a demented unicorn-cat mix called Unikitty (Alison Brie) and the heroic wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman having fun poking holes in his God-like persona). Cartoonish peril develops as Emmet and his pals set out to thwart Business while outrunning a duplicitous good cop/bad cop, grumbly voiced by Liam Neeson.
    A brick-by-brick, click-by-click trippy cruise through the Lego universe ensues, stopping in Bricksville, the Old West and Middle Zealand. It’s as if a child’s playroom has come to life. The action is fast, colorful and messy. There are also numerous Minifigure cameos from Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, C-3PO, Gandalf, Abraham Lincoln, Shaquille O’Neal and nods to Lego’s more in-demand playsets such as Star Wars and Ninjago. My 7-year-old son was thrilled to see all his favorite Lego characters share the screen.
    The save-the-world plot setup is flimsy at best, but it’s bolstered by clever commentary on conformity and creativity. Color outside the lines and eschew instruction books is the message Lord and Miller proffer and they aim it squarely at the moms and dads in the theater. If you’ve ever spent half-a-day building the 1,174-piece Lego Ninjago Fire Temple only to have it broken apart, blended with pirate or castle pieces and reassembled into something else, you’ll pick right up on what the filmmakers are laying down. The pontificating on living in compliance sails right over the heads of the film’s target audience, but for adults, the preaching grows tedious. That’s just a minor quibble, however, in a film that’s an irreverent ride for Legomaniacs of all ages.
    Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com, or follow her on Twitter at @danabarbuto.
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