No matter how old I get, I will always love Lego. So much so, that when my family asked what I wanted for my birthday today it took all of my self-control to say anything other than Lego. I have a secret supply to bring out when I’m bored, I’ve been known to obsessively play every Lego video game that’s ever been created and have wasted more hours than I’d care to admit dreamily going through the Lego website wishing I could afford it all. So yeah, I fucking love Lego. However, when I first watched The Lego Movie last year I wasn’t that impressed. Yes, it was funny and really well made and I had that fucking song stuck in my head for months afterwards… I just thought something was missing. So, when I discovered the DVD on offer with free Vitruvius minifig I felt I owed it to myself to give it another try.
The Lego Movieis the creation of duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who have started to garner the reputation as people who can create fucking amazing films out of questionable building blocks. They found great success with their animated feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the surprisingly clever and fucking funny reboot of 21 Jump Street. If anyone was going to create a film out of a much-loved childhood staple that wasn’t as brain meltingly awful as Battleships then these were the guys to ask.
There was always the question of how they were going to tackle the storyline of a film about plastic bricks and, on the surface, The Lego Movie seems fairly boring and clichéd. Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is your average Joe who happily goes about his day living within the rules. Working in construction, Emmet literally follows life’s instruction manual. His life is repetitive and unexciting until he finds the prophesied ‘piece of resistance’.
As it turns out, the mystical Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) had a vision that a chosen one would find the piece and stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from destroying the world. Once the piece is within his possession, Emmet finds himself battling against the straight-laced despot and being aided by a renegade group of Master Builders, visionaries who prefer to rip up the fucking rule book and live outside the box.
Thanks to Lego’s recent film and comic book themed sets, the race of Master Builders is punctuated with all too familiar faces, including Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) and Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders). Of all of the supporting characters though, it is Lego Batman (Will Arnett) who reigns supreme and has, unsurprisingly to all involved, has gained his very own spin-off film.
The Lego Movieis undoubtedly a riotous affair. The characters dip throughout the multi-dimensional world appearing in worlds that are all too familiar to fans of the titular toy. The most action takes place using the Pirate sets, the Wild West and Space but the film is littered with references to the less recognisable, like Fabuland and Galidor. The detail of the film is breathtaking and there is an abundance of sight gags and in-jokes for the true aficionado.
For a film that is basically just one massive advertisement for Lego, The Lego Moviecertainly doesn’t feel like one long product placement. It has respect for its subject matter and treats it with the correct sense of fun. The plot isn’t exactly the most inspiring despite the fact that the duo do everything they can to invert the tired ‘chosen one’ narrative. However, if we’re honest that’s pretty much what Lego itself is. A collection of bricks that, on their own, are fairly dull bits of plastic that are fucking devastating to stand on. Lego is all about imagination and its potential is infinite.
So yes, the script may not always hit every single target but neither does everything you make out of Lego. The visual gags are incredible and the sheer energy behind every scene is non-stop. It’ll leave you breathless and on the edge of your seat. Although this is a bit of a double-edged sword and there is a moment during the middle where things get a little too chaotic; almost as if you allowed your child to drink a butt-load of coffee and let him loose on a large quantity of blocks. The writers just seem to let their imagination go a little too crazy and there are too many random ideas to keep control of.
Thankfully, you can trust the pair to eventually reign it in and get proceedings back on track. I wasn’t sure about the ending after my first viewing but second time around I found it fucking heart-warming. I think I was initially disappointed at such a convoluted way of explaining all the events but, actually, the ending is the perfect way to tie up all the loose ends.
Of course, The Lego Movie is something that you shouldn’t really put too much thought into I suppose. Like the bricks themselves, it’s all about having fun and being silly. Lord and Miller have written a slightly insane, witty, clever and strangely sassy film that will delight children and adults alike. The animation is stunning and makes standard CGI look like stop-motion. So much thought has gone into the look of this film from the blink and you’ll miss em sight gags and the scratched, scuffed pre-loved feel the blocks and characters all have. Add to that a flawless voice cast with impeccable timing and you have something I feel fucking stupid to have been disappointed in. Hey, I can’t be perfect all the time.