© Warner Bros. Pictures Germany

The Lego Movie
Australia/U.S.A./Denmark 2014

Opening 10 Apr 2014

Directed by: Phil Lord
Writing credits: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Principal actors: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Berry, Alison Brie, David Burrows

An ordinary guy, Emmet (Chris Pratt) lives according to a list of instructions. Leaving work he sees a hooded figure, investigates, and encounters Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who leads him down the proverbial rabbit hole. Eight-and-half-years earlier the Wizard, a.k.a. Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) prophesied a Special One would someday come to lead MasterBuilders against the controlling tyrant. Pressures escalate, Lord-President Business (Will Ferrell) relentlessly markets Taco Tuesday, and then The Piece of Resistance lands on Emmet’s back. All assume the Special One is arrived! Until the MasterBuilders conclave – time to rethink alternatives.

Licensed comic, sports, and cartoon characters, and favorite Minifigures from LEGO theme sets – many as cameo or bit parts – dizzyingly whirl on/off screen with decent voice acting and the ubiquitous 3D. Using stop-motion and CGI animation, everything moves like actual LEGO pieces might: people, vehicles, and natural elements, e.g. water, sky, fire. The story is borderline boring. The film is pontifical and advocates conformity; the numerous clichés are embarrassing. Story pieces haphazardly pop in place at the end. Might appeal to young boys, but for adolescents and adults it will depend on their level of sophistication, product knowledge, and patience. No wonder LEGO is scrambling to devise girlie theme sets. Echoing LEGO®’s current brand statement “Play On,” The Lego Movie goes on, and on… – the tradeoff? Merchandise endorsement rather than an imaginatively fun film. (Marinell Haegelin)

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