Friday, May 13, 2016

Family Movie Night: THE LEGO MOVIE

Welcome to the first installment of FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, where we give our recommendation on a family-friendly movie to enjoy.  This week we review the wonderfully fun, animated film...THE LEGO MOVIE.

When I first heard that a LEGO movie was coming to the big screen, I was super excited.  I love the straight-to-DVD releases that I've seen and the video games, and even own a few.  Then I saw the first trailer and was sold.  This was one of the films on my "Most Anticipated Films of 2014" list, and it didn't disappoint.  This is one of those movies I will definitely watch with my daughter.

I played with LEGOs when I was a kid and still have several of my sets packed away.  Every so often, I get into a LEGO mood and have to buy a new set.  I will then sit on my floor and build away.  It takes me back to a simpler time, without jobs, or bills, or responsibilities.  A time of wonder and discovery.  And this movie brought me right back to that place.

In the amazing world of LEGOs, an ordinary construction worker named Emmet is prophesized to be the only one who can save the LEGO Universe.  With the help of an old wizard named Vitruvius, a spunky Master Builder named Wyldstyle, Batman (yes, I said Batman), and several others, Emmet must unlearn everything he knows and become the Master Builder everyone thinks he is before Lord Business destroys everything.

The LEGO Movie was written and directed by the comedic duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, co-creators of the hilariously quirky animated series, Clone High.  They also wrote and directed Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, returned to write Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, and directed the films 21 Jump Street and it's sequel, 22 Jump Street.  These guys know comedy, and know how to keep it kid friendly without insulting the intelligence of the adults.

And not only did the film have superb writing, it had stellar animation as well.  They utilized animated CG rather than old school stop motion.  This technique brought out everything that's cool about stop motion and made it better.  It was fluid, instead of choppy.  And the things that were happening were much more believable and much more impressive.  But they still looked just like real Legos.

The cast for this movie was incredible.  Chris Pratt voiced Emmet Brickowski, the main character.  His career is definitely on an upward trajectory with films like this, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Jurassic World.  We also got to hear Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle and the very funny Will Arnett as Batman.  He had some of the best lines in the whole movie, and I'm looking forward to his stand alone LEGO Batman spinoff movie next year.

Playing the wise old wizard, Vitruvius, was none other than Morgan Freeman.  His unique voice and comedic timing brought a great flare to the character.  Will Ferrell plays Lord/President Business, an evil tyrant who is determined to make the LEGO universe exactly as he sees fit by any means necessary, and Liam Neeson plays his right hand man Bad Cop.

We also had people like Charlie Day as Benny, Will Forte reprising his Clone High role of Abraham Lincoln, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern, respectively, Nick Offerman as Metal Beard, Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman, Shaquille O'Neal as his LEGO self, and even Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams reprising their Star Wars roles as C-3PO and Lando Calrissian, respectively.  It was amazing to hear all of these wonderful actors in the same movie.

One other thing I really liked about this movie was the music.  The original score was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, who previously worked with Lord and Miller on Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street.  He's also famously known as a co-founder of the 80's New Wave band, Devo.  Mothersbaugh's music has also been a staple in several television shows and video games, such as RugratsSlidersCrash BandicootRocket PowerJak and DaxterEureka, and films such as Happy GilmoreThe Royal Tenenbaums, and Hotel Transylvania, to name a few.  However, my two favorite songs from the film weren't even from him.  The first is Batman's song, titled "Untitled Self Portrait", sang by Will Arnett, and the main song, "Everything Is Awesome!!!" by Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island.

The LEGO Movie is absolutely a "must see" family film.  If you're trying to find a good movie to watch with the kids, look no further.  The LEGO Movie is definitely one to watch.

The Merc's Score:  8.5/10

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