Much-liked animated fare trips itself up from the get-go, faking a stop-motion look with under-powered CGI. And if ever a subject screamed out for the fanciful limitations of pixilation, it’s the World of LEGO. Still, the basic set-up from writer/directors Christopher Miller & Phil Lord feels right, pitting free-form/anarchic imagination against the rules of discipline & uniformity as Mr. Business (Master of Lego World) threatens to freeze all his pieces in place, while a 'Regular Joe' sort is inadvertently anointed savior by the girl of his dreams. The practical & philosophical implications of this fable have loads of promise, especially when you consider how every LEGO piece works from a base DNA that literally locks together as needed, while also allowing for thousands of mutations. MORAL: It’s the grounded imagination that soars. If only the story didn’t play out like a game of table tennis without a net. The lack of logic is explained in a late inning reveal that might surprise a 7-yr-old (or a fan of Miller & Lord’s HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER), but it’s little more than a cheat that lets them off the hook. Sometimes it’s better to draw inside the lines.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: For some real stop-motion magic the kids may have missed, try CHICKEN RUN/’00 from the Wallace & Gromit folks.