THE LEGO MOVIE – Review by Susan Granger

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Totally redefining product placement, this energetic, eye-popping 3D animated comedy/adventure celebrates the childhood experience of creative play with Denmark’s LEGO interlocking plastic construction toys. Read on…

In the miniature city of Bricksburg, the benevolent wizard Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman) confronts power-hungry Corporate CEO President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) with an ancient prophecy that a Special will someday arise to dismantle the rigid conformity that keeps its citizens confined to their respective realms. Eight-and-a-half years later, Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), an anti-corporate Goth girl activist, enlightens lowly construction worker Emmet Brikowski (voiced by Chris Platt), who is an obedient conformist, repeating instructions like: always use a turn signal, park between the lines, root for the local sports teams, drink overpriced coffee and don’t forget to smile. When he inadvertently stumbles upon the mysterious ‘Piece of Resistance,’ Wyldstyle misguidedly envisions generic Emmet as the master-builder leader, even though he isn’t “the most important, most talented, most interesting and most extraordinary person in the universe.” Meanwhile, as Business plots total domination, utilizing a secret super-weapon, his henchman, swivel-headed Bad Cop/Good Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson), is determined to catch Emmet, who’s aided by Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) and other cohorts (voiced by Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Charlie Day). There’s also Lando Calrissian (voiced by Billy Dee Williams), Green Lantern (voiced by Jonah Hill) and Superman (voiced by Channing Tatum).

Screenwriters/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”) have created a cleverly satirical allegory, subversively filled with sight gags, amusing jokes, imaginative spectacles, a potent message and an unexpected plot twist at the conclusion. Plus, there are timely references to NSA surveillance, random public shootings, trigger-happy cops and erratic weather conditions. Inspiration comes from “The Truman Show,” as a man suddenly begins to suspect that his perfect life might be manipulated, along with “Toy Story 2” and the “Star Wars” fantasies, among others.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Lego Mo vie” snaps together with an audacious, awesome 8, proving ordinary can be extraordinary.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.