The LEGO Movie: The Best Animated Film of 2014

Over eight years after its theatrical release, The LEGO Movie is a beautifully animated film that remains one of the best films of 2014.

This film should have been nominated by the Academy for Best Animated Feature. Unfortunately, the Academy voters will have to live with this–among others–mistake. I love everything about this film from the humor to the music to the casting. What I love about the film is that it’s able to transcend the typical good vs. evil storyline because of its humor.

I cannot say enough good things about the animation. It’s painstakingly beautiful as we follow an ordinary LEGO minifigure, Bricksburg construction worker Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), on his quest to take on Lord Business (Will Ferrell).  Lord Business wants to glue everything in the LEGO universe to his vision of perfection with the Kragle. However, there is a resistance movement standing up to his tyrannical leadership. Emmet is one of the few and joins them after touching the Piece of Resistance. Is he The Special that Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) once prophesied would defeat Lord Business? Maybe.

Emmet learns Lord Business’s plan to eliminate the Master Builders with the Kragle before Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) rescues him and takes him to an old mystic, Vitruvius. They are both Master Builders capable of building anything without needing the instruction manual. Emmet is not because he’s just an ordinary guy following orders or so he thinks. The world that Wyldstyle introduces Emmet to is full of characters beyond anyone’s imagination. You have the Batman (Will Arnett) and the Justice League! Star Wars! Abraham Lincoln! But because of how LEGOs work, it’s natural to see all of the IP in the same film. It’s much different than a film like Space Jam 2 where it feels like it’s just a commercial for HBO Max.

I love the Resistance angle going on here. Outside of Wyldstyl and Vitruvius , some of the Resistance movement includes Unikitty (Alison Brie), Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), and Benny, the Spaceman (Charlie Day). Many characters including Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson) are new to the LEGO universe.

There’s a few things going on here. The majority of the film takes place in the LEGO world. However, there’s a surprising twist featuring humans Finn (Jadon) and The Man Upstairs (Will Ferrell). It’s the beauty of creativity on display. Unfortunately, the Kragle means that The Man Upstairs is upset. Nobody wants to see this pieces glued together. Thankfully, there’s a reconciliation between the two of them. A similar storyline also takes place in the LEGO world, too.

Lord and Miller have a way of making some beautiful magic together in the world of animation. Every aspect of the animation is high quality. This is one of the things that I love about the movie. The details on every single LEGO are simply unbelievable. I cannot say it enough because the animation is just so impressive! It’s not an easy feat when there are over 3.8 million LEGO bricks in the film. Do not try to recreate this movie at home unless you have a soundstage lying around.

Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams also reprise their roles as C-3PO and Lando Calrissian, respectively. Keith Ferguson steps in for Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Other alumni of Lord and Miller projects have minor or supporting roles like Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Nick Offerman, and Dave Franco. There are so many comedy types in this cast that it is absurd. But hey, everything is awesome!

“Everything is Awesome” when it’s stuck in your head. You know it and I know it. This is one of the songs that is so catchy that you cannot help but repeat it. A deserving Oscar nomination, too.

The Academy might have snubbed The LEGO Movie but it will forever be the Solzy Award-winning Best Animated Feature of 2014.

DIRECTORS/SCREENWRITERS: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
CO-DIRECTOR: Chris McKay
CAST:  Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, with Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman

Warner Bros. released The LEGO Movie in theaters on February 7, 2014. Grade: 4.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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