In an industry which is quickly becoming devoid of any imagination it has become almost commonplace to find inspiration elsewhere, with the laziest example of this being in that of toys. Transformers, G.I Joe, Battleship, it’s not that these films are particularly bad which is the issue it’s quite simply that their completely unnecessary and take away from the imagination created with toys to instead labour an hour and a half of product placement with a story worse than any child’s fantasy. The Lego Movie, on paper, should epitomise the recent commercialism of cinema and join the growing number of films which have dented the imaginations of kids and adults alike, however the Lego Movie is dramatically different to this presenting a narrative so thoughtful and so heartfelt that it will leave you grinning from ear to ear, eager to uncover your old Lego collection.
Emmit (voiced by Chris Pratt), a normal Lego man contempt with his bland lifestyle and routine is faced with a quest to save the Lego kingdom, gifted with the prophecy of the ‘master builder’. To help him on his quest Emmit is joined by an array of characters from Batman (Will Arnett) to the NBA all-stars as he attempts to end the evil scheme of President Business (Will Ferrell). The beauty of this film is obvious when considering this plot outline being so eccentric and original that it’s instantly comparable to the outlandish stories of a child’s imagination, jumping from scenario to scenario with brief and hilarious explanation. This is evident from the very beginning and as a result hurls any audience member in time instantly, back to when they were a child as the film becomes a joy-ride of the exhilaration of playing around and creating the craziest stories possible. Amongst this films many successes, at the heart its greatest achievement is being able to effortlessly tap into nearly everyone’s ‘inner child’ and past times of not only using Lego in particular but playing and creating in general. Being so lovingly crafted, each frame is detailed with a multitude of universally recognisable ‘in-jokes’ from the crack in the astronauts helmet to the use of odd pieces being placed in the wrong places, giving the film a personal quality. This does arguably hinder the film slightly however as, also alike a child’s mind, the story moves at an incredible pace and already within 15 minutes of the film opening we’re a good way into the plot, despite this being expected of a kids film, its procrastination at times would’ve been appreciated to give relief to the overwhelming story.
Aided by the incredible voice cast present, not only is the film a creative marvel to watch but it’s made all the more entertaining due to its comedic nature, delivering jokes to perfect timing , making it enjoyable for all ages. Giving a child-like simplicity yet natural wonder to the world around him, Chris Pratt is able to effortlessly convey the characteristics of the protagonist, Emmit through just his voice and does so with charm and wit. Further notable performances come from the villains, Bad cop and President Business voiced by a surprisingly charismatic Liam Neeson and an ever hilarious Will Ferrell, performing with enough menace to make them both oddly atrocious as well as lovingly redeeming. Coming off the back of two comedic hits, Cloudy with a chance of meatballs and 21 jump street, it’s no surprise that directors/screenwriters Chris Miller and Phil Lord have yet again proved themselves to be possibly the most impressive comedy duo behind the camera in Hollywood today. With their first hit being a child friendly animation and their second a clever, raunchy comedy, it is evident to see that they’ve used their expertise in both fields to blend a perfect mix of the two supplying ‘silly’ and simple jokes for younger viewers and more intelligent and nostalgic ones for the older ones.
From its unique visual style, blending the aesthetics of stop-motion animation with practical CGI, to its adventurous story The Lego Movie is a creative wonder which brings some much needed originality and intelligence to the tired animation genre. Taking a turn for the heartfelt in the final quarter of the film, this narrative twist is both hugely daring and overwhelmingly charming presenting a rarely seen important message for younger viewers in comparison to the generic themes of stereotypical animated releases. The Lego Movie is a momentous achievement on many levels and deserves to stand with the very best of animation releases, just short of perfection if this doesn’t put a smile on your face…seek medical assistance.
9.5/10- Everything is awesome… #pun