‘The Lego Movie’ brings childhood toys to life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Superman,” “Batman,” “My Little Pony,” “The Matrix,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Tower Heist,” “Star Wars” and “Forest Gump” all combined together as one movie? I never had until I saw “The Lego Movie,” and it was arguably the most ridiculous, over-the-top cinema I have ever seen.

I had no intentions of seeing “The Lego Movie” — I feared it would be a two-hour advertisement and subliminal messaging.

Maybe the film did alter my subconscious, but it was well worth it to see one of the most creative and hysterical children’s flicks in years.

LEGOs prove to be able to support a plot and entertain. (AP Photo)
LEGOs prove to be able to support a plot and entertain. (AP Photo)

Jam-packed with tongue-in-cheek humor, the film follows the sweet story of an ordinary construction worker named Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) and his journey to save the Lego Universe from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell).

With the help of Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet must learn to think outside the box if he is to fulfill the prophecy and assume his role as “the Special.”

Along his epic path, Emmet meets all sorts of familiar characters, such as Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare. He also meets some not-so-familiar characters, like a cat-unicorn-hybrid called UniKitty and the pirate, Metal Beard.

Not surprisingly, within the film’s Lego Universe, everything is made out of LEGOs, including shower water, car explosions, overpriced lattes and train exhausts — everything is made of those itty-bitty pieces.

Conventional physics flies out the window in Lego Land as all matter takes the form of plastic building blocks.

The movie uses computer animation and CGI to create a stop-motion experience for viewers, which makes the Lego-vibe feel all the more authentic. Seeing the colorful brick world come to life before your eyes will have you feeling nostalgic for childhood.

To say the movie is excessive is an understatement.

As the plot unfolds, the characters travel among the various parts of the Lego Cosmos. There’s a bustling metropolis — “Middle Zealand” with its knights, catapults and dragons — the wild “Old West,” flamboyant “Cloud Cuckooland and several other zany locales. Though “Lego” uses these settings as a means of marketing their many products, the film moves so quickly that you hardly have time to process the play-set promotions.

Furthermore, what makes the “Lego Movie” so brilliant is its fundamental, underlying question: Build by the book or create from your heart?

The story is formed around the all-too-real conflict that all children face when they pick up a box of LEGOs: “Should I build a pirate ship like the instructions say? What if I really want to build a spaceship?”

The movie offers a heartwarming message to people of all ages about the dangers of blind compliance and urges viewers to embrace their creativity.

For a film based around tiny, plastic blocks, the questions it tackles are remarkably sophisticated, and the ending takes an oddly beautiful, philosophic turn.

Uniting childhood innocence, zany characters and even some existentialism, “The Lego Movie” is far from the traditional underdog tale you expect at its start.

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