Thursday, February 20, 2014

CAPSULE!: The Lego Movie

As cleverly as The Lego Movie integrates the worlds of its playsets, their characters, their blocks (hell, even their damn product #s), it doesn't quite transcend its status as a product movie. And as charming as the meta-story turns out to be, the movie's pop culture gags leave it somewhat short of the universality that makes the Pixar movies (to which the movie is being favorably, but incorrectly, compared) so moving.

But good heavens is it packed. There's such a superabundance of visual gags that there seems to be something hilarious happening in every frame of the thing (I actually found myself recalling Tati). And the voiceover cast clearly had a blast making it; there's considerable joy watching Liam Neeson's gruff vocal intensity personified by a bouncing cranky Lego cop figure. And what felt like a throwaway gag by Morgan Freeman made my girlfriend laugh for a full minute afterward.

There's a certain amount of resonance in the movie's advocacy for the power of childlike imagination. Some viewers (many, actually) have felt ten years old while experiencing the movie. The Lego Movie is funny, is engaging, is sweet. But it is also, in fact, a toy commercial.

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