, Port Arthur, Texas

February 7, 2014

'Lego Movie' snaps together for a lot of fun

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — “The Lego Movie” was just supposed to be just another product placement movie. It was only intended to sell movie tickets and Lego brick sets. Apparently the writer/director team of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord didn’t get the memo because they went out and created a fast-paced and very funny film that almost mocks the corporate sensibilities that gave the film its life in the first place.

This is a movie that embraces the idea of painting outside of the lines, or in this specific instance, mixing Lego kits up so that mini figurines, comic book superheroes and Star Wars characters all play chaotically within the same world. That’s how kids play with their toys in real life, so it makes sense that the movie would do the same.

“The Lego Movie” is set in the Lego playset world of Bricksburg where an evil tyrant, Lord Business (Will Ferrell) wants to rule over the populace by forcing all the Lego mini figurines into preordained conformity. He is searching for a magical substance known as Kragel, which will literally lock the entire world into place.

There is a small band of rebels who oppose his plans. They are searching for “The Special,” a man who will lead them to victory. Enter Emmitt Brickowski, an average construction worker who finds himself swept up by the movement. He doesn’t really want his life to change, but he’s such a get along with everybody kind of a character that he doesn’t have the heart to tell the rebels that they’ve got the wrong guy.

The story has a strong “Matrix” vibe, but the similarities stop there thanks to some superb voice acting and the film’s subversive tone. Chris Pratt makes a charmingly sweet hero while Will Ferrell gets to go over the top playing the sneering villain. The supporting characters are just as memorable, with Liam Neeson, as the literally two-faced police officer and Will Arnett as an overly-narcissistic Batman providing a lot of laughs.

Story-wise, the film finds its energy by simply mashing the various Lego playset worlds together. Chaos ensues, but it retains the feel of something a child would do, given a closet full of different toys. The filmmakers pull out to a larger world picture in the film’s final act, and while I understand their motives, the Lego world is so inventive that I would have preferred that they spent the whole movie down on brick level.

Aside from those final moments, “The Lego Movie” is a wonderful surprise of a movie thanks to a witty screenplay and a pair of filmmakers who know how to make a film that will appeal to both the kids and their parents. Young children will love the non-stop action and goofy humor. The real surprise is that mom and dad may enjoy the film more than their kids.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at