The Lego Movie

Three stars

(Century 16, Century 20) Kids' toys and games have a poor track record as the basis for films. Since the broad-ranging "Toy Story" franchise doesn't really count (and with apologies to "Transformers" fans), the bar hasn't been set any higher than "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl," "Clue" or perhaps "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." But, in a minor miracle of pop cinema, "The Lego Movie" changes all that.

In the hands of screenwriter-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the witty team behind "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"), "The Lego Movie" proves that there's a creative solution for almost any problem, including making a popular but also meaningful film about a product line of plastic interlocking toy bricks. Lord and Miller obviously started by asking themselves, "What's good about Legos? Why are they so popular?" and proceeded to answer those questions with a story built on thoughtful symbolism, crammed with eye-popping imagery, and populated (a la "Who Framed Roger Rabbit") with familiar characters.

It's just another day in Bricksburg for Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt, in hilariously bubbly mode), an ordinary, regular, generic construction worker Lego "mini-figure" in a disturbingly conformist world. With his "prodigiously empty mind," Emmet is content to "follow the instructions" by rooting for the local sports team, drinking expensive coffee and singing insidiously infectious pop song "Everything is Awesome!!!" while he works. But a freedom fighter named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) informs Emmet he might be "the Special" prophesied by a wizard named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman).

The surreal narrative that follows riffs on "The Matrix," with its hero getting his mind blown by alternate realities as he comes to terms with being, just maybe, the only one who can save Legokind. Dastardly President Business (Will Ferrell) wields corporate control over everything (including voting machines) and plans to freeze society into the polar opposite of freedom. Armed with "the piece of resistance" and aided by a team of "Master Builders" who "change everything," Emmet sets off on his Hero's Journey.

A phenomenal and very funny voice cast gives warmth to the impressive plastic-fantastic animation ("The Lego Movie" is -- appropriately, I guess -- exhausting to look at). Lord and Miller also get a charge from irreverent cultural parody, not only those characters allowed to roam free from the Warner Brothers stable (Will Arnett's douche-y Batman), but also sightings of Lego Shakespeare, Lego Lincoln, a "Star Wars" fly-by and a Shaq attack.

Get past the fact that you're watching a feature-length commercial (albeit for a product most can agree is a good one), and further still past that "Matrix"-y surface, and you'll find a thematic remake of "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen": zany episodes (in the Old West, Middle Zealand, CloudCuckooLand ...) provide a clothesline on which to hang social satire and an overriding message that an individual's imagination can trump social and cultural oppression. Throw out the instructions, and make what you want of the world. Plus butt jokes.

Rated PG for mild action and rude humor. One hour, 40 minutes.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

QBB opens in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 3,305 views

Become a Master Gardener - Deadline Sept 21
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,037 views

By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,011 views


Top restaurants to check out

Mountain View Voice readers have officially decided. See which local restaurants and businesses can now claim the title — Best Of Mountain View 2017.

View Winners