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“LEGO Movie” clicks into hearts of moviegoers and critics

What may seem like a glorified toy commercial at first, Warner Bros.’ “The LEGO Movie” is an inventive, witty, slapstick creation that offers laughter, warmth and brilliant entertainment for any age.

Directed by Dartmouth graduates and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “21 Jump Street” creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the first ever LEGO film has been in development since 2008.

The 3D computer animated story stars ordinary construction-worker LEGO minifigure Emmet, played by Chris Pratt from “Parks and Recreation.” His straight-laced, or should I say, straight-locked LEGO life is rocked to pieces when he is mistakenly identified as the prophesied MasterBuilder or “Special” who holds the fate of the world in his plastic claws (hands).

Although seriously under-skilled, it’s up to him to stop the LEGO villain, Lord Business, played by Will Ferrell, from freezing the LEGO universe under Krazy glue – the “Kragle.”

He embarks on an epic adventure with the help of his dark and mysterious sidekick Wyldestyle, played by Elizabeth Banks from “The Hunger Games,” Batman played by Will Arnett and prophesying wizard Vitruvius, played by famed storyteller Morgan Freeman.

The action adventure film boasts many other household names, including Liam Neeson, Shaquille O’Neal, Dave Franco, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, SNL’s Will Forte, and Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Packed with humor that jeers at pop culture and social conformity, the colorfully imaginative film hits every mark and probes deeper than one would expect. The modern-day “Toy Story” summits with an unexpected and heartwarming scene from Will Ferrell, “The Man Upstairs,” in the flesh.

From the writers of “Hotel Trannsylvania,” the highly stylized and fast-paced film comes full circle as a well-thought, innovative masterpiece with a catchy theme song in tow. Past or present LEGO enthusiasts will find an authentic appreciation for the meta-humor and LEGO set references.

The film has gained unanimous praise from film critics, receiving a 96 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. It has grossed more than $190 million worldwide since its release. With this figure, it claims the second-best February weekend debut, falling only behind “The Passion of the Christ.”

The beautifully built world of “The LEGO Movie” is sure to enchant gamers, movie lovers, techies, artists and all other people cool enough to accept its genius.

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