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Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Last updated: 1:14am

'LEGO Movie' is for all ages



When I saw “The LEGO Movie,” there was a very good chance that I, a 21-year-old in college, was the youngest person in the movie theater. Now, this was at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, past the bedtime of kids who would appear to be the target demographic of a movie about everyone’s favorite building block (all due respect to Lincoln Logs, and not as much respect to Mega Bloks). The audience was just college students and grown adults, and that’s because “The LEGO Movie” is, undoubtedly, the most fun I’ve had at a movie theater this year, and legitimate fun for all ages.

The plot of the film is almost as much fun to describe as it is to watch. The wizard Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman) tells of a prophecy in which a person called the “Special” will discover the “Piece of Resistance” that will foil the Kragle superweapon of the evil mastermind Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). As a side note, I don’t know if there will ever be a villain with a better name than “Lord Business.”

Flashing forward, Emmet Brickowoski (voiced by Chris Pratt) is an ordinary construction worker. He follows the instructions of life (literal instructions on how to live and interact in LEGO society) and mindlessly goes about his day; his favorite TV show is the hit reality drama “Where Are My Pants?” However, his blind enthusiasm comes to a crashing halt when he discovers the “Piece of Resistance” and is anointed the “Special” by the Master Builders: Vitruvius, Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) and a host of other colorful characters. The hapless hero must then thwart the diabolical plans of Lord Business.

The plot is actually a fairly standard tale of an unassuming-guy-turned-messiah who is forced to discover the power within himself and defeat evil. You’ve seen it a hundred times before — but not like this. What makes the film work is its humor. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and its self-referential humor is the main appeal for older audiences. The fourth wall is broken countless times: The movie knows full well that it is “The LEGO Movie” and isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. The narrative may be a touch slack at times, but that’s a minor complaint.

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That’s not to say, though, that the film has some kind of misplaced cynicism or snarkiness or doesn’t respect its subjects. There is a heart beneath the bricks; ithis is a tale of learning and believing in yourself. As someone who spent many an hour building fantastical creations as a kid, I can attest that the movie captures the sincerity, innocence and just flat-out zaniness of pure creation.

There is a song that the perpetually happy citizens of the LEGO city sing called “Everything Is Awesome!!!” (That’s three exclamation points, mind you.) The song is performed by indie rock twin sister group Tegan and Sara and comedic trio The Lonely Island. As it happens, “Everything is Awesome!!!” is the perfect phrase to describe “The LEGO Movie,” and adding a fourth exclamation mark wouldn’t be too much, either.

Grade: A-


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