The Lego Movie

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"Lego movie" redirects here. For stop motion films made using Lego bricks, see Brickfilm. For other LEGO movies, see List of Lego films.
The Lego Movie
A construction worker Lego figure running away from a bright light, with other Lego characters running alongside him.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phil Lord
Christopher Miller
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Phil Lord
  • Christopher Miller
Story by
  • Dan Hageman
  • Kevin Hageman
  • Phil Lord
  • Christopher Miller
Starring
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography Pablo Plaisted
Edited by
  • David Burrows
  • Chris McKay
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • February 1, 2014 (2014-02-01) (Regency Village Theatre)
  • February 6, 2014 (2014-02-06) (Denmark)
  • February 7, 2014 (2014-02-07) (United States)
  • April 3, 2014 (2014-04-03) (Australia)
Running time 100 minutes[1]
Country
Language English
Budget $60 million[3]
Box office $468.1 million[4]

The Lego Movie (stylized as The LEGO Movie)[5][6] is a 2014 computer animated adventure comedy film directed and co-written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and starring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman.

It is the first film produced by Warner Animation Group. Based on the Lego line of construction toys, the film tells the story of Emmet (Pratt), an ordinary Lego minifigure prophesied to save the universe from the tyrannical Lord Business (Ferrell).

It was released theatrically on February 7, 2014. The movie was a critical and commercial success, with many critics highlighting its visual style, humour, voice acting, and heartwarming message. It earned more than $257 million in North America and $210 million in other territories for a worldwide total of over $468 million.

A sequel, titled The Lego Movie 2 is scheduled to be released on May 26, 2017, with Chris McKay set to direct. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will return as producers.

Plot[edit]

In the Lego universe, the wizard Vitruvius attempts to protect a super-weapon called the "Kragle" from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but prophesies that a person called "the Special" will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

Eight and a half years later, a construction worker named Emmet Brickowski comes across a woman named Wyldstyle, who searches for something after hours at Emmet's construction site. When he investigates, Emmet falls into a hole and finds the Piece of Resistance. Compelled to touch it, Emmet experiences vivid visions and passes out. He awakens with the Piece of Resistance attached to his back in the custody of Bad Cop, Business' lieutenant. There, Emmet learns of Business' plans to freeze the world with the Kragle, a tube of Krazy Glue with the label partially rubbed out. Wyldstyle rescues Emmet, believing him to be the Special, and takes him to meet Vitruvius. Emmet learns that she and the wizard are Master Builders—people capable of building anything they need without instruction manuals—who oppose Business' attempts to suppress their creativity. Though disappointed to find Emmet is not a Master Builder, Wyldstyle and Vitruvius are convinced of his potential when he recalls visions of a humanoid deity called "the Man Upstairs."

Emmet, Wyldstyle, and Vitruvius evade Bad Cop's forces with the aid of Batman. They attend a council of Master Builders, who are unimpressed with Emmet and refuse to fight Business. Bad Cop's forces attack and capture everyone except for Emmet and a few others. Emmet devises a team plan to infiltrate Business' headquarters and disarm the Kragle. However, he and his allies are captured and imprisoned, and Vitruvius is beheaded by Lord Business, who sets his headquarters to self-destruct and leaves everyone to die. Vitruvius reveals he made up the prophecy as he dies, but soon reappears to Emmet as a ghost and tells him it is his self-belief that makes him the Special. Strapped to the self-destruct mechanism's battery, Emmet flings himself off the edge of the universe and saves his friends. Inspired by Emmet's sacrifice, Wyldstyle rallies the Lego people across the universe to use whatever creativity they have to build machines and weapons to fight Business' forces.

Emmet finds himself in the real world, where the events of the story are being played out in a basement by a boy, Finn, on his father's Lego set. The father—revealed as "the Man Upstairs"—chastises his son for ruining the set by creating hodgepodges of different playsets, and proceeds to permanently glue his perceived "perfect creations" together. Realizing the danger his friends are in, Emmet wills himself to move and gains Finn's attention. Finn returns Emmet and the Piece of Resistance to the set where Emmet, possessing the powers of a Master Builder, confronts Business.

Meanwhile, Finn's father looks at his son's creations and realizes that Finn had based the villainous Business on him. Through a speech Emmet gives Business, Finn tells his father that he is special and has the power to change everything. Finn's father reconciles with his son, which plays out as Business having a change of heart, capping the Kragle with the Piece of Resistance, and ungluing his victims with mineral spirits. As a result of the father allowing Finn's younger sister to join them in playing with his Lego sets, aliens from the planet Duplo beam down and announce their plans to destroy everyone.

Cast[edit]

  • Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowski, an everyman and construction worker from Bricksburg who is mistaken for the Special, and serves as Wyldstyle's love interest.
  • Will Ferrell as Lord Business, an evil businessman and tyrant of Bricksburg who is the company president of the Octan Corporation under the name President Business.[7][8]
    • Ferrell also plays "The Man Upstairs", Finn's father in the live-action part of the film.
  • Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle / Lucy, a "tough as nails" and tech-savvy fighter who is one of the Master Builders and Emmet's love interest.
  • Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius, a blind old wizard who is one of the Master Builders.
  • Will Arnett as Bruce Wayne / Batman, a DC Comics superhero, Master Builder, and Wyldstyle's boyfriend.
  • Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty, a unicorn/kitten hybrid and Master Builder that lives in Cloud Cuckoo Land, Middle Zealand.[8][9]
  • Nick Offerman as Metal Beard, a pirate and Master Builder seeking revenge on Lord Business for taking his body parts following an earlier encounter and causing him to make his current body from scratch.[8]
  • Charlie Day as Benny, a "1980-something space guy" who is one of the Master Builders and is obsessed with building spaceships.[7]
  • Liam Neeson as Bad Cop/Good Cop, a police officer with a two-sided head and a split personality who serves Lord Business as a member of the Super Secret Police. The character's name and personality are both based on the good cop/bad cop interrogation method which is briefly shown in the film.
    • Liam Neeson also voices Pa Cop, a police officer who is Bad Cop/Good Cop's father.
  • Channing Tatum as Superman, a DC Comics superhero who is one of the Master Builders and hates Green Lantern.
  • Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, a DC Comics superhero who is one of the Master Builders and likes Superman.
  • Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman, a DC Comics superhero who is one of the Master Builders.
  • Jadon Sand as Finn, an eight-and-a-half-year-old boy who is the son of "The Man Upstairs" in the live-action part of the film.

In addition, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams reprise their Star Wars roles as C-3PO and Lando Calrissian respectively, with Keith Ferguson voicing Han Solo (whom he previously voiced in Robot Chicken and Mad). Shaquille O'Neal portrays a Lego version of himself who is a Master Builder alongside two generic members of the 2002 NBA All-Stars.

The cast is rounded out by Craig Berry as Blake; David Burrows as an Octan Corporation Robo Fed; Amanda Farinos as Finn's mother (an offscreen character); Will Forte as Abraham Lincoln (a Master Builder); Dave Franco as Wally (a construction worker); Todd Hansen as Gandalf (a Master Builder whom Vitruvius mistakes for Albus Dumbledore); Jake Johnson as Barry (a construction worker); Keegan-Michael Key as Frank the Foreman (a construction foreman who is Emmet's boss); Kelly Lafferty as Velma Staplebot (a robot who is Lord Business' personal assistant); Chris McKay as Larry the Barista (a man who works at a coffee shop in Bricksburg); Graham Miller as the Duplo alien leader; Doug Nicholas as Surfer Dave (one of Emmett's neighbors) and the Micro Managers (a group of robots used by Lord Business to keep everyone in the right position when they are "Kraglized"); Chris Paluszek as a Robo Foreman (the head of the Robo Demolitionists and the Robo Workers); Chris Romano as Joe (a plumber in Bricksburg), Melissa Sturm as Ma Cop (a police officer who is Bad Cop/Good Cop's mother) and Gail (a construction worker); Jorma Taccone as William Shakespeare (a Master Builder); and Leiki Veskimets as the voice of Octan Tower's Central Computer.

Co-director Christopher Miller cameos as a TV presenter in the studio that films the Where Are My Pants TV series.

Production[edit]

Creators of the film at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers and directors; Chris McKay, co-director; and Dan Lin, producer.

"We wanted to make the film feel like the way you play, the way I remember playing. We wanted to make it feel as epic and ambitious and self-serious as a kid feels when they play with LEGO. We took something you could claim is the most cynical cash grab in cinematic history, basically a 90 minute LEGO commercial, and turned it into a celebration of creativity, fun and invention, in the spirit of just having a good time and how ridiculous it can look when you make things up. And we had fun doing it.'"

 —Animation supervisor Chris McKay[10]

The film had been in development at Warner Bros. since 2008.[11] By August 2009, Dan and Kevin Hageman were writing the script described as "action adventure set in a Lego world."[12] Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were in talks in June 2010 to write and direct the film.[13] Warner Bros. green-lit the film by November 2011, with a planned 2014 release date. The Australian studio Animal Logic was contracted to provide the animation, which was expected to comprise 80% of the film. By this time Chris McKay, the director of Robot Chicken, had also joined Lord and Miller to co-direct.[11] McKay explained that his role was to supervise the production in Australia once Lord and Miller left to work on 22 Jump Street.[10] In March 2012, Lord and Miller revealed the film's working title, Lego: The Piece of Resistance, and a storyline.[14] In April 2012, Warner Bros. scheduled the film for release on February 28, 2014, a date that subsequently changed.[15]

By June 2012, Chris Pratt had been cast as the voice of Emmet, the lead Lego character, and Will Arnett voicing Lego Batman; the role of Lego Superman was offered to Channing Tatum.[16] By August 2012, Elizabeth Banks was hired to voice Lucy (later getting the alias "Wyldstyle")[7] and Morgan Freeman to voice Vitruvius, an old mystic.[16][17] In October 2012, Warner Bros. shifted the release date for the film, simply titled Lego, to February 7, 2014.[18] In November 2012, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, and Nick Offerman signed on for roles. Brie voices Unikitty, a member of Emmet's team; Ferrell voices the antagonist President/Lord Business; Neeson voices Bad Cop; and Offerman voices Metal Beard,[19] a pirate seeking revenge on Business.[18]

In July 2012, a Lego-user contest announced on the film's Facebook page would choose a winning Lego vehicle to appear in the film.[20] Miller's childhood Space Village playset is utilized in the film.[21]

Animal Logic tried to make the film's animation replicate a stop motion film even if everything was done through computer graphics, with the animation rigs following the same articulation limits actual Lego figures have. The camera systems also tried to replicate live action cinematography, including different lenses and a Steadicam simulator. The scenery was projected through The Lego Group's own Lego Digital Designer, which as CG supervisor Aidan Sarsfield detailed, "uses the official LEGO Brick Library and effectively simulates the connectivity of each of the bricks." The saved files were then converted to design and animate in Maya and XSI. At times the minifigures were even placed under microscopes to capture the seam lines, dirt and grime into the digital textures.[22] Benny the spaceman was based on the line of Lego space sets sold in the 1980s, and his design includes the broken helmet chin strap, a common defect of the space sets at that time.[23]

The film is dedicated to Kathleen Fleming, the former director of entertainment development of the Lego company, who died in an accident while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico in April 2013.[24]

Release[edit]

The Lego Movie premiered at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California on February 1, 2014, and was released in theaters on February 7, 2014.[25]

Marketing[edit]

The Lego Movie received many forms of marketing from both Warner Bros. and The Lego Group. Seventeen building play sets inspired by scenes from the film were released, including a set of Collectible Minifigures. A website was opened up so fans could make minifigure versions of themselves, and later, put that in the film's official trailer. The company has recruited a roster of global partners to a broad, multi-category licensing program to support the film.[26][27]

Official Lego Brand Stores also scheduled events. Each week of January 2014, a new character poster (Wyldstyle, Batman, Emmet, Lord Business) came with every purchase.[28] By building a creative model in-store, people received a free accessory pack. Barnes & Noble hosted a themed event in January, February, and March.[29] On February 7, 2014, McDonald's released eight collectible holographic/3D cups in Happy Meals to promote the film.[30]

A video game based on the film, The Lego Movie Videogame, by TT Games for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and Windows, was released on February 4, 2014.[31] An exclusive "Wild West Emmet" minifigure was released with preorders of the game at GameStop.[32]

Home media[edit]

The Lego Movie was released on Digital HD on May 20, 2014. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 17, 2014. A special "Everything is Awesome Edition" also includes a Vitruvius minifigure and a collectible 3D Emmet photo.[33]

Reception[edit]

The film's live-action set as publicly exhibited at Legoland California Resort during 2014.

Critical response[edit]

The Lego Movie has received "nearly unanimous positive reviews".[34] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 95% approval rating with an average rating of 8.1/10 based on 199 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages."[35] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 82 (indicating "universal acclaim") based on 41 reviews.[36] According to CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, the average grade cinemagoers gave The Lego Movie was A on an A+ to F scale.[37]

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Arriving at a time when feature animation was looking and feeling mighty anemic...The LEGO Movie shows 'em how it's done,"[38] with Peter Debruge of Variety adding that Lord and Miller "irreverently deconstruct the state of the modern blockbuster and deliver a smarter, more satisfying experience in its place, emerging with a fresh franchise for others to build upon."[39] Tom Huddleston of Time Out said, "The script is witty, the satire surprisingly pointed, and the animation tactile and imaginative."[40] Drew Hunt of the Chicago Reader said the filmmakers "fill the script with delightfully absurd one-liners and sharp pop culture references",[41] with A. O. Scott of The New York Times noting that, "Pop-culture jokes ricochet off the heads of younger viewers to tickle the world-weary adults in the audience, with just enough sentimental goo applied at the end to unite the generations. Parents will dab their eyes while the kids roll theirs."[42] Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News said the filmmakers "don't sink into cynicism. Their computer animation embraces the retro look and feel of the toys to both ingenious and adorable effect."[43]

Claudia Puig of USA Today called the film "a spirited romp through a world that looks distinctively familiar, and yet freshly inventive."[44] Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail asked, "Can a feature-length toy commercial also work as a decent kids’ movie? The bombast of the G.I. Joe and Transformers franchises might suggest no, but after an uninspired year for animated movies, The Lego Movie is a 3-D animated film that connects."[45] Joel Arnold of NPR acknowledged that the film "may be one giant advertisement, but all the way to its plastic-mat foundation, it's an earnest piece of work—a cash grab with a heart."[46] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film "sassy enough to shoot well-aimed darts at corporate branding."[47] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post said that, "While clearly filled with affection for—and marketing tie-ins to—the titular product that's front and center, it's also something of a sharp plastic brick flung in the eye of its corporate sponsor."[48]

On the negative side, Kyle Smith of the New York Post called the film "more exhausting than fun, too unsure of itself to stick with any story thread for too long."[49] Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times, while generally positive, found "it falls apart a bit near the end."[50] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap said the film "will doubtless tickle young fans of the toys. It's just too bad that a movie that encourages you to think for yourself doesn't follow its own advice."[51]

Glenn Beck praised the film for its themes of individualism that some have paralleled to his affinity for libertarianism, and also for avoiding "the double meanings and adult humor I just hate." On the DVD audio commentary for the film, director Chris Miller said his family members, who are fans of Beck, have urged him to appear on his radio show.[52]

Box office[edit]

The Lego Movie grossed $257.8 million in North America, and $210.3 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $468.1 million.[4] In North America, the film opened at number one in its first weekend with over $69 million, which is the second highest weekend debut in February behind The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million).[53] The movie retained the top spot at box office in its second weekend by declining only 28% and grossing $49.8 million.[54] The Lego Movie was number one again in its third weekend while declining 37% and grossing $31.3 million.[55] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number three grossing $20.8 million.[56]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Lego Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Mark Mothersbaugh, Various Artists
Released February 4, 2014
Recorded 2013
Trackdown Studios (Sydney)
Genre Film soundtrack, film score
Length 58:10
Label WaterTower Music
Producer Mark Mothersbaugh, Shawn Patterson, Bartholomew
Mark Mothersbaugh chronology
Last Vegas
(2013)
The Lego Movie
(2014)
22 Jump Street
(2014)
Singles from The Lego Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Everything Is Awesome"
    Released: January 27, 2014

The film's original score was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, who had previously worked with Lord and Miller on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street. The Lego Movie soundtrack contains the score as the majority of its tracks. Also included is the song "Everything Is Awesome!!!" written by Shawn Patterson (El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera and Robot Chicken), Joshua Bartholomew and Lisa Harriton (Jo Li)[57] and performed by Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island, which has also been used in the film's marketing campaign. The soundtrack was released on February 4, 2014 by WaterTower Music.[58]

Track listing
No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Everything Is Awesome!!!"   Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island 2:43
2. "Prologue"     2:28
3. "Emmet's Morning"     1:59
4. "Emmet Falls in Love"     1:11
5. "Escape"     3:27
6. "Into the Old West"     1:00
7. "Wyldstyle Explains"     1:21
8. "Emmet's Mind"     2:17
9. "The Transformation"     1:46
10. "Saloons and Wagons"     3:38
11. "Batman"     1:23
12. "Middle Zealand"     0:28
13. "Cloud Cuckooland and Ben the Spaceman"     1:25
14. "Emmet's Speech"     2:02
15. "Submarines and Metalbeard"     1:49
16. "Requiem for Cuckooland"     1:23
17. "Reaching the Kragle"     2:35
18. "Emmet's Plan"     1:54
19. "The Truth"     3:16
20. "Wyldstyle Leads"     2:46
21. "Let's Put It All Back"     2:02
22. "I Am a Master Builder"     2:48
23. "My Secret Weapon"     4:19
24. "We Did It!"     1:31
25. "Everything is Awesome!!!"   Jo Li - Joshua Bartholomew and Lisa Harriton 1:26
26. "Everything is Awesome!!! (Unplugged)"   Shawn Patterson and Sammy Allen 1:24
27. "Untitled Self Portrait"   Will Arnett 1:08
28. "Everything is Awesome!!! (Instrumental)"     2:41
Total length:
58:10
Chart positions
Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[59] 82
UK Independent Album Breakers (OCC)[60] 8
US Billboard 200[61] 37
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[61] 8
US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)[61] 2

Theme song[edit]

The film's theme song, "Everything is Awesome!!!", has been critically praised and has undergone some close analysis. International Business Times describes the song as a parody of fascism, saying that the song "seems little more than an infectiously catchy parody of watered-down radio pop, right down to the faux-dubstep breakdown. There's a lot more happening under the surface, however."[62] In an interview with Fox News, composer and songwriter Mark Mothersbaugh says the song "was supposed to be like mind control early in the film. It's totally irritating, this kind of mindless mantra to get people up and working."[63]

Sequel[edit]

On February 3, 2014, Jared Stern was hired to write a sequel, along with Michelle Morgan.[64] On February 21, 2014, it was announced that the sequel is scheduled to be released on May 26, 2017.[65] On March 12, 2014, Deadline reported that animation co-director Chris McKay will direct the sequel with Lord and Miller as producers.[66] Warner Bros. did not invite co-producer Village Roadshow Pictures to return as a participant in the sequel.[67] On April 10, 2014, it was reported that director Chris McKay wants more women in the sequel than men.[68] On July 28, 2014, it was reported that Chris Pratt wants to return to reprise his role of Emmet. It was also reported that Will Arnett might return to reprise Batman, but has not decided yet.[69]

References[edit]

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