out of Five
Running time: 100
Deliriously inventive and frequently hilarious, this is a hugely entertaining family adventure with an inspired script, gleefully imaginative animation, superb 3D effects and a note-perfect voice cast.
What's it all about?
Co-written and co-directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the comic geniuses behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street), The Lego Movie begins in the ordinary Lego town of Bricksville where happy-go-lucky construction worker-slash-minifigure Emmet (Chris Pratt) is content to live his life via a series of prescribed instructions. However, when he accidentally becomes
attached to a mythical object called The Piece of Resistance, he is mistaken for a prophesied hero known as The Special by freedom fighter Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who recruits him to join a quest to defeat the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and his plan to freeze everything in one place.
Emmet quickly discovers a world of free-form Master Builders, able to build whatever they want using the power of imagination. His new-found friends include wizened sage Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman - who else?), Wildstyle's boyfriend Lego Batman (Will Arnett), robot-pirate hybrid Metalbeard (Nick Offerman), the impossibly cute Unikitty (Alison Brie) and a 1970s-style Lego Spaceman (Charlie Day). However, they are soon on the run from Lord Business' army of robot clones led by his dogged
henchman Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).
The witty script is deliriously inventive, packing multiple visual and verbal gags into every scene in a way that will surely reward repeated viewings; there are also brilliant jokes about the Lego universe itself (look out for the character of Duplo) as well as some delightfully satirical swipes at today's dumbed-down society (a catchy pop song called Everything is Awesome, a popular TV show called Where are My Pants?). The central theme of the film is similarly inspired, with the clash between instruction-following Lego users and the more imaginative build-your-own-adventure types brilliantly conceived and executed, particularly in a very clever third act that it would be churlish to reveal here.
The voice cast are note-perfect - Pratt is great as the excitable everyman and Arnett is a lot of fun as growly Lego Batman, but shout-outs are most definitely due to Freeman and Neeson, both clearly relishing the chance to poke fun at their own screen personas. (Day is also something of a scene-stealer as the spaceship-obsessed Spaceman).
Lord and Miller keep things moving at a madcap pace, aided by state of the art CGI animation work (courtesy of Animal Logic) that takes care to make the Lego look as if it's actually been played with (the 70s Spaceman even has a crack in his helmet that will be all too familiar to anyone who grew up with Space Lego). Similarly, Lego's multitude of tie-in deals ensures a host of amusing cameos from the likes of Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) and Gandalf (Todd Hansen), amongst others.
Put simply, The Lego Movie is enormous fun from start to finish. Highly recommended for ages 4 to 45+.