The Lego Movie 2:  The Second Part

 

            Animated movies are a tough sell for some adults.  So are sequels.  So an animated sequel has two strikes against it already, right?

            No.  This one works because it's stand-alone; it doesn't depend on your having viewed any previous versions.  But mostly because it's just plain fun. 

            Of course, it helps a lot if you keep up with pop culture.  For instance, there's a Lego Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, and sometime during the movie they manage to reference several of the actors who have attempted to play Batman, including George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Adam West---and probably several other names flew by that I didn't catch.  The dialogue is so rapid-fire that you have to “listen quick” to keep up. 

            Despite a heavy-sounding plot, the humor is constant, so the mood never gets very dark.  Our main characters, Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) find themselves confronted by “alien” lego creatures.  Emmet tries to communicate peacefully, but the “aliens” start devouring every lego in sight, and now it's a war.  Meanwhile, we have “real life” characters, Finn (Jadon Sand) and Bianca (Brooklynn Prince) who seem to be fighting over the lego sets, with their “real life” Mom, Maya Rudolph, warning them that if she has to come in there again, she's going to make them dismantle both sets, and store them in the basement.

            Lucy and some of her friends get “abducted” by the aliens, and Emmet's on a search and rescue mission, except his traveling companion seems to be the more ornery side of himself.  It's a “light” version of the old Star Wars gambit of the main characters struggling against their own Dark Side.  The lesson for children is very clear---you can choose to open your heart, that is, cooperate and trust, or you can choose to close yourself off from others, and revel in your self-sufficiency.  But being mean can make you lonely.

            So, here's an animated kid's movie that has plenty of witticisms to amuse the adults, and some life lessons that will please the parents.  It's fast-paced, but lighthearted, and definitely suitable for the whole familly.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association