The Catholic News Service review of ‘The Lego Movie’

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Catholic News Service

Any film bearing a trademark in its title, and populated by brand-name toys, is bound to fall under suspicion as nothing more than a vehicle for boosting sales of the product line.

Animated characters appear in “The Lego Movie.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. (CNS/Warner Bros.)

Consider, then, the surprising accomplishment of directors and co-writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”). With their lively 3-D animated adventure “The Lego Movie they not only deliver a diverting eye-catcher for both young and old, they also manage to incorporate a pointed satire of conformist consumerism into the proceedings.

A willing victim of that modern trend, ordinary construction worker Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) blindly follows the herd in his dull hometown of Bricksburg. He buys overpriced coffee, laughs on cue at a mindless, one-joke sitcom called “Where Are My Pants?” and loves the same upbeat pop tune du jour,
Everything Is Awesome,
as everybody else.

Emmet also trusts implicitly in the local maestro of mediocrity, creativity-loathing CEO President Business (voice of Will Ferrell).

Two closely related events are destined to rock Emmet’s contentedly brain-dead world, however. One is his accidental acquisition of a fabled building block called the Piece of Resistance. The other is his encounter with tough but fetching underground activist Wyldstyle (voice of Elizabeth Banks), a nonconformist par excellence for whom he instantly falls.

Based on his possession of the Piece of Resistance, for which she herself has been searching, Wyldstyle is convinced that Emmet is a prophesied hero called The Special. His destiny, accordingly, is to lead a crusade against President Business. Unbeknownst to the public, behind the scenes this evil would-be tyrant prefers the title Lord Business, and he has a scheme on foot to control the world, and purge it of all originality, using a secret weapon.

Though convinced that a mistake has been made Emmet reluctantly agrees to do his best.

Joining Emmet and Wyldstyle in their struggle to topple the aspiring dictator is a ragtag team of fighters that includes Wyldstyle’s self-centered boyfriend, Batman (voice of Will Arnett), and Vitruvius (voice of Morgan Freeman), the pixilated mystic who predicted the arrival of The Special in the first place.

Colorful and fast-paced, “The Lego Movie” sails along toward a format-shifting conclusion that adds another asset to the rich mix: a touching sequence promoting family bonds over selfishness.

The film contains cartoon mayhem, some peril and a bit of mild scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I,general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG.