‘The Lego Movie’ entertains audiences of all ages

Everything is awesome as luck would have it. “The Lego Movie,” directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, is a mix of computer generation and stop motion animation that takes the creativity and fun of Legos and puts it into cinematic form.

“The Lego Movie” follows Emmett (Chris Pratt), an ordinary Lego minifigure who learns he is the “special,” a chosen one who will stop Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from destroying the entire universe. Emmett is joined by heroine Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), sage Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and Batman (Will Arnett) of all people. Actors Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are just a few of the stars who round out this loaded cast.

The plot is extremely generic, resorting to every cliche found in the hero’s journey. However, like the generic plain Lego blocks that make up a playset, it is what Lord and Miller do with those elements that make the film exciting, hilarious and just plain fun. The movie makes fun of the cliched family film as much as it celebrates it.

It is hard to describe what makes “The Lego Movie” work as well as it does. When viewed among other toy based movies like “Battleship” and “Transformers,” the film should be dead on arrival. Instead, it overcomes the popular toy cash-in stigma and pokes fun at cliche while creating a unique and immersive world. Children will love the bright images, humor and memorable characters. Adults will also enjoy these things, including several more mature jokes that are sure to go over most kids’ heads, and a sentimental look at children’s playthings that never feels too overwrought.

Perhaps most impressive is the animation. While mostly computer generated, the film looks to have been animated in stop motion. Every single Lego piece used is a real piece that can be found in the various playsets, lending an air of authenticity that what you are watching could be played out on your living room floor. Even particle effects like fire and water are made of small lego pieces, further enriching the experience. Couple that with some impressive 3-D that makes the characters and settings come alive in a diorama-fashion, and you have a film that brings little plastic people to life in a way that has not been seen since “Toy Story 3.”

If you ever had a childhood or played with Legos, this film cannot be recommended enough. Most of the fun is seeing what Leog franchise character will show up next. What other movie has characters from “Harry Potter,” “The Simpsons” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in it? In a sense, this almost becomes the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” for the current college generation. Add a catchy theme song like “Everything is Awesome” (guaranteed to stay in your head as you leave the theater) and you have a bonafide experience on your hands. The only downside is that when the movie does end, you will realize that you are not 10 years old anymore. Then again, you are never too old to play with Legos, nor are you too old to enjoy what will go down as one of the best animated films in a very long time. They may not make animation like they used to, but if this is where we are heading that might not be a bad thing.