Sunday, June 15, 2014
Video review: "The Lego Movie"
Not everything is awesome about “The Lego Movie” -- despite the assertion of that obsessively earworm-y song from Tegan and Sara featured in the kiddie animated flick from earlier this year. However, it is a boingy, entertaining thrill ride that is sure to keep younger children occupied for a goodly chunk of their summer vacation.
It might get old pretty quick for parents – I’ve already watched it three times with my 3½-year-old, and am ready to bring a book to our next couch time together. But this hyperactive flick isn’t made for oldsters.
Told mostly in Lego format, with the people, places and things made up of the iconic construction toys, the film follows the adventures of Emmet (spiffily voiced by Chris Pratt). A normal, generic, rather anonymous worker, he lives in a world where everyone follows the rules of their banal society.
Then he falls in with Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a member of the gang of Master Builder insurgents rebelling against the tyrannical Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who hates it when people use their imaginations rather than following the instructions that come with each Lego set.
There’s also a wise wizard (Morgan Freeman), a cop who’s both good and bad (Liam Neeson), pirate/robot Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) and Batman (Will Arnett), who’s additionally Wyldstyle’s bad-boy beau.
The animation is funky, and funny. It’s meant to look low-tech, as if everything really were made of the blocky toys. So the characters have drawn-on faces (watch out for nail polish remover!) and claw hands. Yet the computer-generated look is flashy and textured. I loved how when Emmet takes a shower, blue blocks representing water spill over his body.
Just like the song, “The Lego Movie” will grow increasingly irritating with repetition. But your kids will enjoy it the first time, and the 47th.
The movie comes with a host of video extras, including a feature-length commentary track. There are also outtakes, deleted scenes, storyboards, animations tests, making-of featurettes and spotlights on particular characters like Batman. There are even short movies made by fans using Lego blocks.