The Lego Movie
Four Stars (out of five). 2014. Released by Warner Brothers. Running time: 100 minutes. Rated PG. This was reviewed on Amazon Instant on July 12, 2014.

Everything is...YAHHHH! I had Legos when I was a kid, the generic Lego pieces, which enabled you to build whatever you want. As time went on, I started getting the play sets, which allowed me to build a police station, along with a fire station (vehicles sold separately, of course). But in retrospect, I preferred the generic Lego pieces, which allowed me to build whatever my imagination came up with, from spaceships to castles that were defended from invasion by little people whom I made out of clay. It was just as well I became too old to play with them, because as time went on, the Lego sets lost much of their fun because they were all strictly play sets that only allowed you to build a specific thing, usually from a licensed property like Star Wars.

Duh! When The Lego Movie came along, it seemed like the commercialization of Lego was complete. Still, I had to confess to being very pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the same directors behind the hysterically funny 21 Jump Street reboot with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, The Lego Movie takes what could have been a flat, lifeless commercial for these little blocks and turn it into a genuinely entertaining romp that’s very funny, while also poking some holes into the brain-dead mentality of pop culture and corporate crowd control. Chris Pratt (Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy) voices Emmett, who’s basically the most normal and boring fellow ever in Legoland.

Now they're making a Taken 3? How many times can the same people get kidnapped before it gets silly?! Yet Emmett soon becomes singled out as the "most extraordinary person" who becomes the key to stopping Lord Business (Will Ferrell). He teams up with the incredibly formidable and competent Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and they wind up going on an adventure that apes such films as The Matrix, The Lord Of The Rings and even superhero movies, as Batman himself (Will Arnett) gets involved in the action. Batman turns out to be Wyldstyle’s boyfriend, and this winds up being something of a problem, because Emmett has kind of fallen for her. The film is very bouncy and fun, but there are just a few nitpicks that stuck in my craw.

Is Django here? The main thing is how Wyldstyle is the perpetual sidekick to Emmett, who’s a nobody with no real talent. This is bad on two levels: the film seemingly celebrates the mundane by implying that everybody is special, even people like Emmett, who doesn’t even have any ambition. It also sucks how the movie treats Wyldstyle, as well as the rest of its female characters, as second class citizens who are viewed as just being hot babes. Once Emmett becomes the "most extraordinary person," Wyldstyle must always defer to him, even when it’s clear he has no idea what he’s doing (and she does). Not a very good message to be giving to girls, is it? Oh, but who cares, come join me for a another round of "Everything Is Awesome!" --SF

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