The LEGO Movie (2014)

The Lego MovieEmmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) — an inconspicuous, conscientious construction worker — follows instructions to the letter. He’s a model citizen, particularly in the eyes of the megalomaniacal President Business (Will Ferrell), who wishes everyone was just as respectful of the rules. Everything changes for Emmet, however, when he happens across The Piece of Resistance, a mythical relic sought after by the rebellious Master Builders, gifted individuals capable of redesigning the world around them. He is dragged into an ongoing conflict between order and chaos, suppression and expression, and — with the help of Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and Batman (Will Arnett) — begins to realise his true potential.

The main problem with Battleship, the last plastic plaything to be adapted for the big screen, aside from the wooden acting and terrible special effects, was that nobody involved in it understood or respected the game it was based on. Unconvinced that audiences would flock to a nautical war film that eschews explosions for tactics in the numbers necessary to justify production, the studio added aliens for no reason other than to boost profits, twisting the film into something that bore almost no resemblance to the game. Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy similarly mistook the appeal of the toys of the same name, instead producing a film for teenagers that was about pixels and inappropriate posturing when it should have been a children’s movie about toy robots.

The LEGO Movie makes no such mistakes in terms of theme or demographic, as directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller clearly understand the attraction of brightly coloured building blocks. Theirs is a film about imagination, creativity and doing big things with little pieces. The master builders — sort of alchemist Jedi — are fighting for the freedom to express themselves against a tyrant obsessed with order and perfection. Building from the instructions was always fun, and undoubtedly has its place in play, but what makes LEGO so popular and enduring is its versatility. Fans are invited to use the prescribed plans as a springboard, to mix things up and create something new and unique; something only that particular individual could have created.

With its heart in the right place, and by employing a premise that perfectly embodies the brand values of the product, then, the filmmakers are free to have as much fun as they desire with their box of bricks. The LEGO brand has branched out in recent years, into video games and other media, and it’s great fun to pick out the various subsets and other licensed properties; still, the relative newcomers are not allowed to overshadow proceedings, and the focus remains very much on the archetypal LEGO figurine, as well as with the animals and building blocks that are ubiquitous in all collections, past and present; familiar to all children, big and small.

The voice cast are wonderful — without exception — and Chris Pratt leads the lot as an everyman who may or may not be The Special. Morgan Freeman is a delight as Vitruvius, a blind wizard and leader of the rebellion, who gets many of the film’s best lines. The supporting cast (and assorted cameos) are great fun as well, with a number of real stand-outs: Will Arnett is hilarious as Batman, poking fun at a character who is all too often held up as the model of po-faced seriousness, while Liam Neeson excels as Good Cop/Bad Cop, a play on the actor’s kick-ass persona and possibly the first role to truly reconcile his non-threatening demeanor with his altogether more menacing voice. The film even rights the wrongs of Transformers, albeit unofficially, with a shape-shifting pirate (with a shark for an arm) who has as much personality as he does pixels.

The film, then, is hysterical, has an inspired plot and boasts a cast of colourful characters, and yet its successes don’t end there. An uncanny combination of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut‘s facial expressions, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs‘ zany humour and A Town Called Panic‘s manic energy, the crude animation has a charm and depth all of its own, beautifully blending stop-motion and CGI animation. The 3D too is outstanding, with the format’s much-maligned miniaturisation effect facilitating the belief that you are indeed watching tiny figures in action. It’s also gorgeously soundtracked, with both “Everything Is Awesome” and Batman’s ode to darkness likely to stay with you for weeks to come.

It’s only February, but 2014 has already seen its first masterpiece of the year. Everything about The LEGO Movie is note-perfect: the themes, the tone, the animation and the humour are all priceless. Cynics may still see it as one big advert for a global brand (or several, judging by the number of cameos), but this film isn’t for them; it’s for you.



About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to The LEGO Movie (2014)

  1. Nostra says:

    Great review. Went to see it this past weekend and “everything’s awesome” 😉

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