Pay attention Michael Bay, The Lego Movie is how you bring toys to the big screen. In fact, I don’t know the last time I was this impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of any movie, let alone an animated one.
Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are obviously Lego fans and deliver the film that you’d expect. It completely embraces the Lego environment and builds a fantastic world, with loads of in-jokes, amazing visual gags and just plain fun. I have never wanted to play with Lego more than I did when I was watching the first half hour of this movie.
That was between the laughter. It is a very funny movie. The way that Lego is used and the characters that are created is done brilliantly. From the way that hair is styled to the TV show “Where’s my pants?” there is so much in here for everyone and anyone that I don’t know another animated movie that could appeal to so many different people.
Of course, the movie needs some sort of story and this is where the ingenuity continues. It’s a basic, predictable movie about the everyday man becoming something special. It begins in quite a standard way but it’s the creative manner in which Lego is used that gives the story its unique element. Different worlds, including Wild West and Pirates, are realised great on-screen, with the Lego element always utilised in the most creative way.
The other huge success of the film is the use of characters. Its become baffling how many different series Lego has the rights to and they are all used here. Some making great, fleeting cameos and others being used to full effect. Lego Batman will rival Ben Affleck for best on-screen Batman and is voiced brilliantly by Will Arnett, who gives him a gruff, disillusioned superiority complex that is perfectly realised.
It’s actually testament to how good the Lego movie is that the voice cast is so good. Chris Pratt plays the hero, Emmet and even demonstrates his everyman charm through just a simple voice role. Add to that the support from Elizabeth Banks, who plays Wyldstyle with cool confidence, Morgan Freeman as a great wizard rip-off and then a huge host of cameos, from Jonah Hill to Billy Dee Williams. This is a film that is not only been made with care but is rightfully, highly regarded.
It’s such a shame then the ambition starts to lose its way with the key “twist” in the middle of the movie. It’s a good idea and fits in with the film as a whole perfectly but is just lacking the execution it requires. It changes the flow of the movie and undermines some of the story elements that worked before. It also makes for a slighty cheesy ending that the rest of the film had just about managed to avoid.
It’s something that can be easily overlooked though and if you can get past it, there is a great movie underneath. With the Lego franchises growing and a Lego Batman movie already announced, I’m hoping all films using the toy bricks can be this innovative.
Overall, The Lego Movie is an innovative, creative and perfect way to bring the iconic toys to the screen. Its clever and very funny, demanding rewatches just to see all the different elements and background activity you will have missed. The story is slightly generic but has the cast to pull it through, from a great central role for Chris Pratt and a ridiculous amount of celebrity and character cameos. The Lego Movie is exactly how you bring such a loved toy to the big screen and long may it continue.
Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)