“Everything is awesome!”

That’s the best way to summarize The LEGO Movie. It’s a well-written, cleverly conceived, laugh-the-entire-time movie. It has a great voice cast, and the jokes are both visual and verbal so that kids and adults will enjoy it. And even with such a wide-open sounding title, it manages to pull things together in a really fun way.

The story opens in a typical LEGO city like you might find in the kit section at the store. Our protagonist is Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt), a guy who follows all of the Instructions to the letter in everything he does. And of course this LEGO world comes with instructions! Everything fits and everyone moves together in an orderly way and everyone likes what they are told, including all having the same favorite song… And there is the conflict.

lego, emmetThrough a work site accident, Emmet tumbles beneath the main surface and discovers a whole new world of people who don’t follow the Instructions. His first encounter is with a LEGO woman named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who, as it turns out, is a Master Builder: she is able to see the individual parts and possibilities of their world to create new things. The only instructions are in her own head.

Emmet has a strange object (the “Piece of Resistance”… yes, there are plenty of puns in this movie) stuck to his back, which Wyldstyle tells him indicates he is the prophesied “Special” who has come to free them from the evil Lord Business, who runs the LEGO world and creates all of the Instructions. Lord Business has a plan to freeze everyone in place (with Krazy Glue) so that no one can change anything again. The Master Builders are fighting against him and believe that Emmet can lead them to victory with the Piece of Resistance. It is a classic Kid-World-View versus Adult-World-View and how it plays out in the end is surprising and sweet.

lego, castThe voice cast in this movie is fantastic. Liam Neeson does a great job as the “Bad Cop” and Morgan Freeman is hilarious as “Vitruvius,” but they aren’t the only ones by any means. There are cameos by Shaquille O’Neal (as “Shaq” of course) and Anthony Daniels in his full C-3PO glory, paired with Billy Dee Williams (yes as Lando!). “Han Solo” is there, too, voiced by Keith Ferguson who is better known as the voice of Lightning McQueen. You know what? Just go read the cast list or I’ll keep on listing them here because it’s really that great. Even Will Ferrell as Lord Business doesn’t turn this into a “Will Ferrell” movie.

lego, wonder womanThis movie also has another thing going for it: it managed to put a good Wonder Woman on screen before DC could get their act together. How ’bout them apples? She’s funny and smart (also a Master Builder) and it was a lot of fun to see her in action.

Overall this is a cute, funny movie with plenty of in-jokes that make it even more entertaining. I highly recommend it, whether you take kids with you or not.