Nearly 20 years after Pixar made us believe Buzz Lightyear could fall with style, the plastic LEGO universe hits the big screen in a big way. All those LEGO videogames that came before were just a warm up. The directors of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs have assembled one of the best-animated films in years.
Everyman Emmet (Chris Pratt) loves his normal mundane life following the instruction manual for being an unmemorable construction worker: pay for over-priced coffee, be happy, be polite and sing about how everything is awesome! Once he meets Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks) that all changes. Soon he's flying in the Batplane with the Dark Knight (Will Arnett). Is Emmet destined to be "The Master Builder" who will save the blocky population from President Business (Will Ferrell)?
Here are five ways everything is awesome with The LEGO Movie:
1. An Amazing Assembling of Voice Talent: With a turn of his capsule head Liam Neeson goes from good cop to bad cop. As Vitruvius, Morgan Freeman looks like Moses and sounds like Morpheus. And Will Ferrell is fiendishly hammy as President Business. Every one of them came to play in the candy-colored world. The herky-jerky movements of their tiny figures delight.
2. More In-Jokes Than Roger Rabbit: Like Toy Story and Roger Rabbit, LEGO is bursting with plenty of moments that will piece together in your nostalgic brain. Even items like Scotch Tape make an appearance, which is sticky sweet. Watch for Charlie Day as '80s LEGO icon Spaceman Benny.
3. MVP: UniKitty! She looks so adorable with that face yet the beyond cute feline with a pointy horn also has a dark side—so watch out! Her hyper attack impresses, and she's the freshest new character of the bunch.
4. Superheroes, Gandalf and More! Jonah Hill's Green Lantern is obviously green with envy of wannabe BFF Man of Steel. Best is Will Arnett's gravely voiced Batman. Then Gandalf shows up. Best fan fiction ever.
5. New Classic Put Together Brick by Brick: Can this be the start of an even bigger LEGO universe? Absolutely. One of the most intriguing aspects is that Emmet's hero journey ducks most of the traditional conventions—he's an everyman whose best trait is his never-ending optimism.