The Lego Movie

Director: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Cast: Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks
Length: 100 minutes
Country: USA

One may initially groan at the prospect of seeing a film based on a line of construction toys. Surely there is only one outcome for an idea such as this; a piece of consumerist trash which does nothing but sell a product whilst stretching the capabilities and rationality of ‘adaptation’ to its utmost limits. However, when it was announced that directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller were set to assemble the film, my interest (and I’m sure many others) peaked. The team behind the bright and highly inventive Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the hilarious 21 Jump Street had shown that they had a unique comedic voice, and one that seemed fitted to tackling a film of such ludicrous proportions as The Lego Movie. The final results are so absurdly good that it’s just plain silly.

Emmett (Chris Pratt) is just your average little yellow figurine, living a life of blissful ignorance as a construction worker in the big city. However, he soon finds himself labelled as ‘the chosen one’ when he accidentally stumbles across the ‘piece of resistance’. Once he is shown that his world is not what it seems, Emmett joins forces with the Master Builders to stop the Evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from putting an end to any original thought or design in this world of Lego. Can Emmett prove that he has what it takes to put an end to the schemes of Lord Business?

The plot of The Lego Movie provides fertile ground for Miller and Lord to unleash a plethora of vibrant set-pieces and environments. The world of The Lego Movie is beyond extraordinary. The vast scope of the design and conception of all the various landscapes and realms boggles the mind and powers the film with a unique and original energy. Never for one second do you think that they have not made full use of the potential that a film about Lego has to offer, nor do you ever feel that you are being sold a product.

A film called The Lego Movie has no right to be this good

The design and conception of the world would have been in vain if the animation had been in anyway under whelming, but Lord and Miller show that they have maintained the keen eye for both detail and kinetic vigour that they so aptly displayed in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The animation exudes the charm of the improvised spirit of stop-motion. The wonderfully detailed and textured set and character designs almost fool you into thinking that this is indeed a movie made entirely out of Lego. I would endorse seeing the film in 3D, as the extra dimension allows the animation to truly sing and fill your sights. This is a film that absolutely needs to live outside and beyond the frame.

Miller and Lord have shown a deftness of touch in comedy writing with their previous two films, and their script here is an inventive, gag-fuelled, metaphysical triumph. They manage to very much have their cake and eat it too when it comes to embracing the concerns of making a film about Lego. They acknowledge that the film could be written off as consumerist nonsense and actively seek to use the potential of Lego to its utmost, as well as constructing a film with a worthwhile message.

That message reveals itself in the films glorious final act, in which we discover the reality that this film exists within. I cannot stress enough how well-crafted and inventive the final third of this film is. While many major Hollywood blockbusters tend to trip at this final stretch, The Lego Movie manages to pull some surprises while delivering a message worth hearing. To reveal that message would spoil the revelations of the final third, but it is a timeless message that will ring true across the many generations who have grown up with Lego.

The voice-cast across the board infuse the film with an infectious energy, with every single member bringing their characters to life with conviction and a knowing wit. It is a charming ensemble, with Chris Pratt providing the film with a sincere lead, while Will Arnett almost swoops in and steals the show as Lego Batman.

What may surprise people about The Lego Movie is that it is a film that has a sharp satirical bite to it as well as maintaining the colourful hi-jinks one expects from a children’s movie in the 21st Century. It is ambitious, ridiculously hilarious, and intelligent to a fault. A film called The Lego Movie has no right to be this good. But hell, it is, and those who find fault are too cynical to fully enjoy and embrace what is the most delightful and ingenious animated feature since a certain other Toy Story. Everything is awesome!

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