Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Lego Movie

Lego construction worker Emmett (Chris Pratt) lives as part of the same routine as the rest of his city, which is inhabited by figures who all love the same television shows, the same music and essentially lead the same lives. Soon, however, he finds himself in a sticky situation, with the Piece of Resistance stuck to his back after an encounter with a woman named Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks). When she takes Emmett to meet the wizard Vetruvius (Morgan Freeman), who explains Emmett is believed to be the 'special' who, like them, is a Master Builder. They are currently plotting to overthrow the evil President Business (Will Ferrell) who disapproved of the Master Builder's talents and keeps the word in it's boring, monotonous state.

This film is by far one of the best surprises I have ever seen on the big screen. The idea of a Lego movie shouldn't work, but against all odds, The Lego Movie really does. There is so much here that was better than I imagined it to be; the humour is better, the characters are stronger, the cameos all work and it is surprisingly thoughtful. Despite its seemingly kids-only appeal, there is enough substance here for viewers of any age. The only thing about this film worth criticising is its run-time; at 90 minutes it feels far too short, I just wanted it to carry on. But, for the film that it is, The Lego Movie is terrific.

Visually, this film is extraordinary. The combination of CGI and stop motion was a genius move, but where the animation here truly excels is in its detail. In the action sequences, we fly through houses, with cobwebs in the corners. Even the cobwebs are identical to those Lego cobweb pieces you may remember. Tiny little details like this just prove how fully realised the concept really is. The Lego Movie has been in production since 2008, so years have been spent creating this world. The concept may put some off, but don't let that affect you. It seriously works.

The characters here are also far stronger than I expected. Emmett acts as a powerful metaphor for society and perhaps the monotony of modern life, with Wildstyle and her fellow Master Builders attempting to break from the mold that society has conformed. But, simultaneously, we're treated to an onslaught of hilarious one-liners from some great cameos. Jonah Hill is fantastic as the Green Lantern, and Morgan Freeman's (less a cameo, though) turn as Vetruvius is the highlight of the film. Will Arnett is also terrific as Batman, who quite possibly gets the best one-liners. One particular moment involving a spaceship and a baby carrier is especially memorable.

However, in the film's final act, this story becomes surprisingly thoughtful. If perhaps you wish to avoid spoilers, it would be best to skip this paragraph, and things here could get pretty spoiler-y. In the film's final twenty minutes, Emmett falls from Lord Business' tower, and finds himself in the real world. This is where it's revealed that the events of the film are being played out by a young boy. You may see this coming, what with real objects occasionally making their way into the Lego world, but it's still brilliantly effective. But, with closer inspection, this twist becomes even smarter. Fin (the young boy) plays with the Lego against his father's will. The father is also played by Will Ferrell (in real life, this time), further carrying this metaphor into the real world. Emmett's costume and motives are reflected in Fin, whilst President Business can be seen in Fin's father. Add to that a brilliant final touch about Taco Tuesday, and if you're not smiling from ear to ear through the last five minutes, you have about the emotional connection of a footstool.

The Lego Movie is truly fantastic. Never before has my childhood been played out in a film as well as this. Through the cameos of all the various Lego brands, and the strong sense of fun from beginning to end, you'll find it difficult not to have a good time here. This has already slaughtered any animated film realised last year, and only time will tell if it can compete with How To Train Your Dragon 2 coming in June. But, for now, The Lego Movie is the best animated film since 2010. The idea itself is enough to carry it through 90 minutes, but with writing as strong as this, with such thoughtful development and top notch humour, it is a truly great experience. Throughout the film, the same song is played over and over. The chorus repeatedly sings "Everything is awesome" at us, and yes. Yes it is.

To Summarise: Brilliantly funny, visually dazzling and surprisingly smart, The Lego Movie is a perfect example of pure cinematic fun.

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