‘The Lego Movie’ is a classic in the making

lego movieBY TROY PHILLIPS

But you’re too old to care about Legos! Said no one important, ever.

The Lego lover in me will always rear it’s youthful head, no matter how many years may rest under my belt. Right now I’m in the awkward phase where peeking in the display window at the Lego Store is hard to play off, but give it a few years and I’ll be able to use an imaginary niece or nephew as viable excuse for why I must know how many pieces are in that Ewok Village.

I swear, I’m usually not this much of a nerd. I kinda play sports and stuff. That’s just the amount of power those little connectable blocks have over me.

Clicking a few pieces together is the ultimate nostalgia trip. Legos are one of the few non-technological toys that aren’t dull or archaic or harmful or destructive to a young person’s development. They encourage creativity and problem solving and I hope they never go out of vogue. On February 7th, the release of The Lego Movie will be a major step in the right direction. Or at least it should be, provided they don’t crash and burn.

On the surface, the plot doesn’t look like a total train wreck, which means it will be more than acceptable for an animated film. Here’s the IMDB synopsis:

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Okay, so it doesn’t exactly sound like an adolescent American Hustle, but most overviews sound bland, because you’re going to make your decision based on the trailer and hearsay, anyway. Check out the IMDB summary on Frozen, for instance.

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

You probably wouldn’t have guessed the heaping scoop of vanilla above is tied to the highest-grossing Disney movie of all-time unless you got some flavor for how it fared in real life.  To really get a flavor for the prospects of a kids movie, you have to dig deeper. Based on my findings, Frozen‘s box office numbers and critical reception are actually a reachable ceiling for The Lego Movie. 

There are a myriad of celebrities with fingers in the pie in terms of voice overs, including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Jonah Hill, Will Ferrell, Liam Neesen and Morgan Freeman, who will absolutely kill it voicing known characters like Batman, Superman, Abraham Lincoln and Han Solo. That’s right, celebrities voicing beloved movie characters, super heroes and historical figures.The directing is being done by Phil Lord, AKA the man behind both Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movies and 21 Jump Street, none of which received any less than a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (that’s good, if you don’t jive with their format).

It appears as if this flick is surrounded by the right kinds of people, and the trailer is very easy on the eyes and ears. In fact, it was chock full of advanced references and a fair amount of cynicism. If those three minutes are any indication, parents won’t have to cringe through an hour and forty minutes of kiddie yuks in order to appease their offspring. No, expect entertainment for fans of all ages, from fussy toddlers to oblivious senior citizens, and all of the easier-to-please demographics in between.

If cinematic refuse like Free Birds can fill a theater for several weeks in a row (it can, and did; I work at a movie theater) then The Lego Movie should easily meet any projected numbers in circulation. The question is whether or not it will challenge Frozen‘s lofty 350 million dollar mark. It would be no surprise if it did.

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