FILM REVIEW: THE LEGO MOVIE
Release date: 14/02/2014
100mins | U
Writers: Phil Lord,Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett
The LEGO Movie tells the story of Emmett (Chris Pratt) the most conformist man in a world of conformists. He gets up when he’s supposed to, goes to work, watches the same TV show that everyone loves and enjoys popular music. He always follows the instructions and he’s happy but could there be something missing from his life?
Well of course there is and it seems he finds fulfilment when he runs into Elizabeth Banks’ Wyldstyle and she takes him on a journey of discovery as they fight the evil Lord Business who wants to freeze the perfectly formed world using an articfact known as the Kragle. Along the way Emmett he meets all kinds of characters from popular culture and guess what; they both he and Wyldstyle learn something along the way.
The voice cast is excellent, with rising star of the moment (sorry Taylor Kitsch, you’re done) Chris Pratt finding the perfect tone for Emmett’s naive optimism; Elizabeth Banks bring Wyldstyle to life with nuance; while Morgan Freeman does that God performance he’s so good at. As the bad guys, Liam Neeson has some fun and Will Ferrell does comic megalomaniac better than anybody. Will Arnett steals the show as Batman with some great gags expertly delivered but you can’t help but feel it owes a lot to the Batman from How It Should Have Ended. You know, because he’s Batman.
Despite the many movie references from RoboCop, Terminator, Star Wars and probably hundreds more, this film is aimed firmly at children. It’s bright, colourful and fun and there’s a lesson in there about sharing and learning that, at best is like a well meaning after school special but at worst like some kind of corporate brainwashing.
Nobody who buys a ticket to The Lego Movie is being tricked; you all know it’s the product of massive industrial entities, but there is a point, particularly when the narrative shifts that it all feels like an infomercial. There are aspirational elements and although there might be gentle mocking, it’s less product placement and more screaming “You could own these awesome toys too; give us your money NOW!”
If you’re going to make a movie about little blocks that stick together and little blocky people that stick to those blocks then this is probably as good as it gets. It features stunning animation inspired by these little blocks that looks just like real plastic throughout even though it’s actually CGI. The film is sweet, tries really hard to be quirky, has hundreds of pop culture references and a song that is so catchy it should be banned. It doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its parts and ultimately proves rather disposable, but at least it proves plastic can be recycled.