I am a little late with this one, but I had decided to take a month off from reviewing (although I still viewed some of the 'offerings' January gave), but this film had enough umph to it that it inspired me to write a full review. The LEGO Movie was a triumph by Warner Bros and results in one of the greatest animations created in a very long time. The film is gut-bustingly hilarious, but it's also able to to pull off depth you'd normally have expected during Pixar's golden age. It is ultimately a success on every single level.
The movie starts out with introducing you to the average LEGO guy, Emmet, it a sort of dystopian like community where everybody is practically the same. They all watch the same stupid TV show, they aspire for the same exact jobs, they all love the same exact pop song, and they all belligerently obey the system. What I love about this initial set up though is that Emmet isn't different, he isn't special, so when he's chosen in a Matrix style way to become 'The Special' or the guy from the prophecy it's all the more hilarious, and it makes the movie a practical parody of everything you see in pop-culture today.
The sense of humor in this film just continues to build the farther along you get into the viewing, it starts off by making you chuckle, then you start laughing, and then it just becomes a hysterical thrill ride of intelligently written jabs at pop-culture. What I love about the script is how it manages to somehow not take anything seriously, yet at the same exact time have an ending that hits as hard as rock emotionally. It never sacrifices entertainment to get across the art, but at the same time it doesn't ever sacrifice the art in order to be entertaining, in fact it takes the entertainment and sculpts the blocks into artwork. It's definitely one of the most original comedy scripts I have seen in a very long time.
The animation works perfectly, what's so wondrous is that they don't take the easy way out and just turn it into full out CGI, there is a complex blend of CGI (when needed) with actual lego blocks. While the animation style does take a couple minutes to get adjusted to, it was the best possible way they could have animated the film. Instead of having blatant CGI explosions, the explosions all appear to be made out of fast moving LEGO pieces. Instead of having CGI water, the entire Ocean and waves are sculpted from LEGOs moving at the pace of waves. It's one of the most creative and original animation styles that I have seen, which definitely makes it a breath of fresh air from the non-stop CGI animation of the day.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller somehow create a pitch-perfect comedy, that never loses your attention. The script is absolutely brilliant (especially the ending), the voice actors are actually used properly, and the movie is just plain fun to watch. I left the LEGO Movie thinking that if I went to a back-to-back showing of it I would have been just as entertained the second time as I had been the first time, the repeat value is incredible. The jokes are rapid, the audience is treated intelligently and it doesn't hand-walk you through the movie, and it fulfills the message of creativity that it is trying to get across (as well as some other themes). An incredible animation, and it undoubtedly deserves to the be the first acclaimed movie of 2014.
9.5/10 Sticks of Bamboo