‘Lego Movie’ a witty, entertaining surprise

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‘Lego Movie’ a witty, entertaining surprise


Although based on a popular children’s toy, “The Lego Movie” could be a hit with adults. Provided by Warner Bros. Korea

With Hollywood churning out one superhero extravaganza after another, it is about time they made a hero out of the yellow, plastic figurines that kids worldwide have played with since the 1930s.

And while “The Lego Movie” comes with a distinctly child-friendly label, the film is actually a hipster’s dream come true, as a parade of limited-edition Lego figurines such as Batman, the Green Lantern and Gandalf the Grey take center stage.

It’s visually cute, just as you might imagine. But “The Lego Movie” also comes with originality, enough to amuse the young and the young at heart.

But don’t be deceived by the colorful building blocks, because the film has a message, too. It paints a vivid picture about the ironies of life, the evils of corporations and the joys of being completely average.

In the Lego universe, which spans Bricksburg, the Wild West, Middle Zealand and more, fate picks Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), a construction worker who thrives on the mundane, to rise up and question the foundation of the flat world in which he lives in.

The only problem is that Emmet doesn’t have a fiber of originality in his painted little body.

He has always lived by the book - there is an actual manual for life, of course. But when he is mistaken for being the Master Builder, his life and those of the other figurines in his universe are turned upside down.

Emmet, aided by the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and rebel chick WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks), must defeat Lord Business (Will Ferrell) as he literally tries to keep each figurine in their place by using a powerful adhesive.

Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the team behind “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” the structured ridiculousness of this mechanical world will have viewers in stitches. The highlight is no doubt the meeting of the Master Builders, the feted limited-edition figurines.

The detailed Lego humor will be a hit with anyone who grew up playing with the colorful bricks. The film pulls out all the stops to bring up the memories of childhood using a medley of witty comments and, for the most part, it works.

It’s true that the laughs get predicable after a while - Lego lovers cannot hold hands, their world changes at a whim according to a reshuffling of some bricks and their weapons bounce off one another rather than inflict real damage.

So it’s not all that surprising that their villain is just another Lego block standing on some hundreds of blocks to add height. His torture methods, comprised of nail polish remover and a used Band-Aid, are hilarious, too, not to mention being quite scientific.

More than 183 figurines and some 15 million bricks were used for the film, creating awesome aerial views of the dioramas - although, regrettably, during the highly charged fight scenes, computer-generated scenes begin to show.

You may worry that 100 minutes is just too long to see a bunch of toys come to life, especially for the dubbed version, which lacks some of the original film’s humor (although the English version is also screening in several theaters around Korea).

But just when the plot threatens to get repetitive, the appearance of Will Ferrell takes the film in a new direction.

As the credits roll, you realize that you sat through an hourlong commercial - fortunately, this is one of the best commercials ever.

By Carla Sunwoo [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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