The Lego Movie is not a thing that should work at all—when's The Hula-Hoop Movie due? How about Tiddlywinks: The Musical? However, this particular production comes from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the minds behind Clone High and the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs series, which means it's equal parts clever, hilarious and full of heart. The comparison to Toy Story is apt—branded characters given voices and teaching lessons to kids (in this case, be yourself) and adults (there's still time not to be a conformo!). Construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) is the most generic person to exist in Legoland. So of course he's The Special, destined to save everyone from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who plans to hose the citizens with Krazy Glue. Reluctantly on his team are Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and Unikitty (Alison Brie), all guided by the blind elder Vetruvius (Morgan Freeman). The directors mix practical effects with CGI for a wholly original visual style and pack the background and landscapes with one-liners and jokes you'd need multiple viewings to catch (yes please). There's a third-act fourth-wall break that is so smart and perfect it feels like a dream, but it's not—this is a lovingly, thoughtfully crafted film. A delightful surprise.

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