As you’re watching this delightful little movie, play the guessing game with yourself. If you can get Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, and Will Arnett, big whoop. If you can get Elizabeth Banks, Jonah Hill, and Charlie Day, nice work! If you can get Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Channing Tatum, congratulations! You’re more of a dork than I am. Tatum stumped me. I swear it won’t happen again.
If Arnett never gets to play for realsies Batman because he’s too much of a clown, and Tatum never gets to play Superman for realsies because he’s too much of a beefcake, at least they’ll have this 90 minutes of fun to look back on. And hopefully they’ll remember it fondly, because I sure do. See, it’s not that The LEGO Movie is so good that I’m wishing I were back in the theater, though that would be just fine. It’s that, on top of the great storyline and hilarious visuals, this movie makes you remember how fun it was to build random crap and make up stories about it. This movie puts your own childhood imagination up on a giant screen, and makes you wish you were young again.
The animators worked painstakingly here. When Emmet (Pratt) took a shower, water did not rain down on him — small circular clear and white lego pieces did. When Emmet did jumping jacks, his feet did not go out to the side — he did jumping scissors instead. The city he lived in was filled with very obvious generic references to “POPULAR MUSIC!” and “FOOD ITEMS!” and all manner of visual jokes about how boring our society is that I can only imagine were completely lost on kids. The enemies of the state were things like Exact-0 knives and Kra(zy) Gl(u)e and Nail Polish. This isn’t really a kids’ movie at all, in fact. It’s both a parody of a kids’ movie and a movie about kid stuff made for adults. It’s incredibly layered, brick on brick. (Be right back, going to go pat myself on the back for that one.)
Now I want to buy more legos and listen to that ridiculous song. Now I want Will Ferrell to do even more voice work, and Dad work. He really evokes a deep sympathy when he’s not aping around as Ron Burgundy or any of his other man child characters. We know this because we saw Stranger Than Fiction, and we want more like it. This movie gave us about 5 minutes of that, and 85 of the aping in voice form, but we’ll take it. He’s our ape and we’ll love him forever.
So many props to a freaking corporate brand for making a genuinely fun movie to watch, a movie that makes fun of the product it’s shilling (why did Shaq get his own LEGO man?) and still leaves room for a good, completely insane tale. Your move, K’Nex.