The Lego Movie (U)
Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell and Craig Berry
Running time: 100 min
An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.
LEGO is one of those things that has a sentimental attachment for, well, everyone. And the LEGO movie cleverly attachs to the toy’s history and draws from your memories – from the simplest kits you had as a kid, to the most complicated ones you got as a teenager. Or older.
This could so easily have been a disaster. Seriously, where else will you see Gandalf interacting with Milhouse from the Simpsons. Or Gandalf. Or Batman? And, even more importantly, how many people could take a licensing nightmare like this and make it work?
Well, outside of your own imagination, it seems that the only people on the planet with this know how are Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs directors Lord and Miller who manage to inject the exact right amount of character, fun, chaos and surreality into proceedings to not only make The LEGO Movie work, but also to make it arguably the best family movie of the year so far… and in a year that has had Frozen, that’s no mean feat.
Telling the story of Emmet (Chris Pratt), a construction worker who is special in no way whatsoever, a minifigure who lives for work, popular music and to follow the instructions to the letter but who finds himself cast into a mad world where he may – or may not -be the chosen one who can save (LEGO) reality from the evil Lord Business (Ferrell) ala the Matrix, the movie sets up its reality very quickly without allowing the audience to draw breath or question – but, let’s be honest, you knew what you were getting when you sat in the seat. And they ramp the visual gags and details up to eleven, right from the Warner Bros shield appearing built from LEGO blocks at the beginning.
The detailed visuals, a mix of CGI and practical modelling and animation, are layers and complex and full of little gags and nods to the toy you know and love, full of injokes and knowing references, they are a joy to behold for kids and adults alike. Indeed, I want to go back again just so I can concentrate on what the background characters are doing and forget the foreground the second time round.
The jokes and intermixing of characters and genres are just as funny for the adults in the audience without the need to be crass or full of double entendre as many kids movie like to do to engage the mummies and daddies. The giggle are wholesome and arise from the situations the characters find them selves in.
While the gags and dialogue are a treat, it’s the shear spectacle that truly wins you over – everything onscreen is LEGO – the water, the clouds, the smoke – and the animators should be commended for how they make everything move and breathe in a way that seems totally natural. A special mention too for Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop character who gets a great laugh when his mummy and daddy appear, one that is so Irish and on the money that it’s a genuine high point. Oh and Billy Dee…
Overall, a smart, inventive and exciting movie that never has dull points because there is always – always – something to hold your attention, it’s a real treat for young and old. My one complaint – and it’s just me because I saw it coming a mile away – is that the ending isn’t as clever as it thinks it is. That said, it’s still entertaining and it will really blow the minds of collectors in the audience.
Finally, a movie that lives up to expectation, the LEGO movie speaks for itself… “everything is awesome”. Quite.
4 out of 5 Nerds