The Lego Movie ***

Is it worth $15 (3D)? Yes

Going into “The Lego Movie,” it’s not unreasonable for an adult to think it can’t possibly be good. This is an animated movie based on a toy, after all, and it’s not even a toy with a rich back-story and various narrative incarnations like “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe.” The trailer looks kind of cheesy too, and the animation is crude. What hope is there for a movie about Legos?

Plenty, it turns out. “The Lego Movie” is expectedly full of puns and silly jokes, but it’s also got a good heart and a surprisingly intelligent ending that works perfectly. This is as good a movie about Legos as could have been made.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary Lego figure who lives his life by the book. He’s so plain and boring, in fact, that others barely notice him. Poor Emmet, he just wants friends. After he becomes smitten with Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) he follows her down a hole and stumbles upon a plan by President Business (Will Ferrell) to release something called “Kragle” and ruin Legoland.

Fortunately for Emmet a prophecy from wise old Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) has foretold of “The Special,” an ordinary builder who will discover extraordinary powers and save the world. The problem is Emmet is such a simpleton fool no one believes he’s their savior. Certainly not Wyldstyle’s boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), who’s in full hero mode; not Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), who’s a mix between a pirate and a Transformer and runs away before Emmet can ruin his life; and definitely not Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders), Shakespeare (Jorma Taccone) and Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal), among others, who offer no support. Heck, even Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) has trouble having faith in Emmet. But if inexperienced heroes didn’t regularly venture off into the world, save the day and return changed and better people by the end, “Star Wars,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hunger Games” would have no appeal.

Writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) knew the animation wouldn’t be as pristine as a Pixar product, but that didn’t stop them from essentially saying, “what would be in a live action movie?” and then making it happen, one Lego block at a time. In particular, the action scenes are suspenseful, well edited, and they come with a multitude of surprises. It’s a testament to the power of imagination, patience and execution that the film is as consistently entertaining as it is.

Credit also goes to the formidable voice cast, which is in on the joke from the start and never misses a beat. Pratt is in full Andy Dwyer mode (his role on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) throughout, which is appropriate, Liam Neeson is a trip as a character who literally switches from good cop to bad cop, and Morgan Freeman gets the most laughs as the bluntly honest Vitruvius, a oracle who believes in the power of believing even when doofus Emmet is all there is to believe in.

This may shock your eyes to read, but “The Lego Movie” is full of wit, intelligence and charm. There’s plenty here for adults, kids will love it, and it’s genuinely earnest and funny. It’s worth repeating: You could not make a better movie about Legos.

Did you know?

Lord and Miller also directed “21 Jump Street,” which starred Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Tatum and Hill have cameos in “The Lego Movie” as Superman and Green Lantern, respectively.

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