Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

Stunningly animated, consistently funny and with a plot so generous your misgivings seem to melt away, The Lego Movie may be an advert but it is an even better film.

You’d be forgiven for anticipating The Lego Movie with virtually no enthusiasm. Surely this was another merchandising monster out to sell the kids Lego and get the adults paying out for it. However, after watching Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s (of Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs fame) animated extravaganza, you’ll feel like a real cynic. The fact is that this could’ve been a pure toy flogger but it is actually way more than that. In fact, it is awesome. There are times when filmmakers, distributors and companies lazily cook up bland cinema for an audience they know will pay out but this film does the exact opposite.

Taking a blend of CG and stop-motion technique to intricately animate proceedings, the film’s story is just as solidly constructed. It is undeniably an advert but it does more than sell a product, The Lego Movie enjoys a product and allows audiences to indulge in a fully fledged film, using said product. The jokes are not always sophisticated and those naming this better than Toy Story are over exaggerating things but the gags are rapid fire and the script is joyous. The generous plotting (similar in parts to Toy Story and Wreck-it-Ralph) is the very meaning of madcap, the pace is sugar-fuelled and the silliness is infectious. Although craziness is everywhere (which some viewers may tire of), there is a beating heart at the core of the film. This is confirmed by an astonishing final act twist, which validates most aspects of the film and anchors the film’s great message of allowing creativity to be unchained.

The voice cast is as dedicated as it is impressive with Chris Pratt lending Emmet a clueless but likable presence and Elizabeth Banks giving Wyldestyle the feistiness of a heroine. Having said this, it is the supporting cast that really steal the show, with Morgan Freeman hilariously sending up his god-like image as the wise man Vitruvius, Will Farrell having a larger than expected part as the villainous Lord Business (whose ordered megalomania annoyed certain financial sectors). Will Arnett is also a breeze as Batman and parodies the Bale-era Bat voice to a tee. That being said, most will leave the theatre happily reciting Liam Neeson’s turn as Good Cop/Bad Cop- in a performance where he laughs at his own unthinkable action star status.

Lawyers must have had the devil’s own job getting this film the go ahead, as numerous cameos litter the film. From Wonder Woman to Gandalf, Dumbledore to Superman – even a certain Falcon turns up. The film is a referential and reverential treat of a family picture. The Lego Movie boasts the ability to entertain the kids and provide a nostalgic tidal wave to the parents who have had creativity sapped from them by working adult lives. Yes it’s barmy and silly but it has a heart of gold and we dare even the most stone-hearted among you to not be humming Tegan and Sara (feat. The Lonely Island)’s unavoidably catchy song “Everything is Awesome” on the way out of the cinema. An advert it may be, but my what an advert it was, a literal block-buster!

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