Review – Hey, Leggo my Lego! (“The Lego Movie”)

Brick by toy plastic brick, lunacy runs amuck in this Warner Bros. stop-motion and CGI animated movie about an ordinary guy forced to save the world he inhabits. With writers from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and TV’s “Robot Chicken“, it’s no wonder this subversive movie caters to both kids as well as adults in it’s lightning fast pace, ridiculous storyline, and infectious LOL humor.

In this universe of Legoland, we have a super-duper, happy-go-lucky, yellow-faced construction worker named Emmett Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt) who just loves his life and his job of building things… just as long as there are instructions to follow, that is. One evening after work he accidentally meets a gorgeous spy named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who is on an important quest to find the “Piece of Resistance”, an ancient red brick-ish looking thingy. It’s the only object that can stop the “Kra’gle”, a WMD that can permanently seal anything and is in the diabolical hands of Lord Business (aka President Business to the people and voiced by Will Ferrell). His evil plans are to capture all the “Master Builders” of the various Lego Lands and make everything exactly the same.

Problems arise when plain ol’ Emmet gets permanently attached to the “Piece of Resistance”, and is claimed to be “The Special” by a prophecy that says that HE will save everyone. Of course, all this is told by wise old Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman), who brings Emmett to the secret lair of the other Master Builders to let them hear Emmett’s plan for saving everyone. At the meeting we meet Superman, Gandalf, Wonder Woman, Dumbledore, animals, and a plethora of other characters to numerous to mention.

Unfortunately, it’s clear that Emmet’s no leader, and he even says so in a grandiose speech! The meeting comes under attack by the Lord’s henchman, Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neesom), but they escape with the help of Wyldstyle’s boyfriend, Batman (Will Arnett) and, this is where I lost it, the Millennium Falcon and Han Solo (Keith Ferguson), C3P0 (Anthony Daniels), and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams)!

Thanks to Emmett’s completely stupid ideas and wrong plans, they devise a way to infiltrate Lord Business’ insanely tall tower filled with robot zombies, hundreds of guards, and items taken from what seems like. . .Earth? Anyway, once inside their plans almost work, but Lord Business wins by taking all the Master Builders hostage and stripping Emmet of his “Piece” and his dignity. All, it seems, is lost as Emmet is set to die with the others while Lord Business goes to Emmet’s hometown of Bricksburg to spray them all with “Kra’gle”, sealing their doom.

What happens next is not what you’d expect and is something I guarantee you will not see coming. I certainly didn’t. Needless to say, there is the requisite happy ending, of course, but only after a wild conclusion full of surprises and Lego bricks going ballistic

Directed and with a screenplay by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it seemed these guys just wrote a movie that would make them laugh and screw anybody else who didn’t like it. Well, it worked! The jokes and site gags are so plentiful and come at a such a fast pace that it’s hard to keep up. The best part is these jokes aren’t the stupid or lame kind. They’re smart, savvy, witty, and sometimes just plain silly. They didn’t degenerate to fart or potty jokes to get a laugh.

It doesn’t matter if you take the kids to see this movie or not; there’s plenty for both see and enjoy. There’s the bright colors and silliness of the characters to entertain the kiddies and, for the adults, you’ll have the hysterical inside jokes and puns with great pop culture gags aplenty.

Even the infectious electronic pop song “Everything is Awesome” by Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island, will remain in your brain for at least an hour afterwards. The voice overs are perfect and the action is non-stop, making this one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. A second watching is practically mandatory just to catch all the background stuff happening.

SLEEPER (1973)

Being an idiot and having others follow you isn’t a novel idea. Woody Allen did it with many of his movies like “Bananas“, “Love and Death“, “Take the Money and Run“, and this one.

It’s 1973 and a mild-mannered nobody named Miles Monroe (Allen) is a jazz musician who goes in for a routine surgery and is cryrogenically frozen without his consent! Fast forward 200 years and rebel scientists revive him because they need someone who is not part of the “system”. It seems the 22nd-century America turned out to be police state ruled by a wheelchair-bound dictator. There is also a secret plan known as the “Aires Project” that is about to be implemented that must be stopped. The rebels unfreeze Miles hoping to use him as a spy to infiltrate the Aires Project, because he has no identity there.

Problem is, Miles is coward, an idiot, and just wants to left alone. But it’s too late, he’s discovered by the authorities and almost captured by the goofiest police this side of the Keystone Cops. He hides out as a robotic servant in the home of Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton), a socialite and budding (bad) poet during one of her bizarre parties. When Miles reveals his true identity to her, Luna flips out and threatens to give Miles up to the authorities, which she does. Unfortunately, it backfires and the police try to arrest her as well. In response, Miles rescues her and together they go on the run, searching for whatever the Aires Project is.

Slowly Miles and Luna fall in love; but Miles is captured and brainwashed into being a member of the new society, while Luna joins the rebellion. The rebels kidnap Miles and do a reverse-brainwashing on him to bring him back. Together again, Miles and Luna infiltrate a hospital and learn what the Aires Project is: the dictator was killed months before and they are going to clone him back using all that remains. . . his nose!  Mistaking Miles and Luna for doctors, they expect them to clone their leader back, but Miles kidnaps the nose and assassinates him by dropping it in the path of a steamroller. Ouch!

Yes, it’s a crazy Woody Allen written/directed/starring movie through and through with his favorite girl, Diane Keaton, at his side. So funny and ridiculous and cleverly written that it’s one of my favorites. Say what you will about the man himself, but his movies speak for themselves. Especially his early comedies like these which are the benchmarks for his career in film. An interesting side note: listen to the computer-assistant in the hospital. Sound familiar? It should. That’s Douglas Rains, the voice of HAL 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey“. It was Woody’s homage to the movie. Nice!

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