Here is a feature-length animation that proves you can create anything regardless of who you are, because your imagination knows no bounds. Funny that, as it’s based on a line of construction toys that utilises the exact same message. Written off by many as an expensive excuse to sell merchandise, there’s actually a lot of effort that has been placed into this movie.
The hero of The Lego Movie is Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary Lego figurine. He lives in a world made entirely out of Lego, spending his days making a living as a construction worker. His world is under the control of the perfection-obsessed Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who enforces his authoritarian rule with the help of Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). Emmet, like all the other citizens, is blissfully unaware that he lives under repression.
But that changes once he comes across the “Piece of Resistance”, a strange object that, it is claimed, has the power to stop Lord Business. The cool and rebellious Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) swiftly takes Emmet under her wing, believing him to be the “special” prophesised by the wise wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). After meeting Emmet though, and seeing his lack of intellect, both Wyldstyle and Vitruvius have their doubts about the prophecy.
A number of colourful characters are encountered throughout The Lego Movie. Just a few worthy of mention include Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie), a square unicorn-cat hybrid; Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), a mechanical pirate; Benny (Charlie Day) aka 1980-something Space Guy; and Batman (Will Arnett). Yes, even the Dark Knight helps the heroes on their journey, and is lovingly sent-up in the process – he has some of the funniest lines in the entire film.
Just as colourful as the characters is the animation, if not more so. Most of the movie is computer-animated, but the rendering is so realistic it’s near impossible to tell – until finding out otherwise, I was convinced that the animation was stop-motion. As of such, the picture’s settings look like physical Lego sets – just about everything seen resembles Lego bricks, from water to lava, mountains to clouds. In short, it looks absolutely incredible.
The comedy is great as well, with both laugh-out-loud gags and more obscure touches here and there. As mentioned before, Batman has the best lines, but even the other characters have their own charming, memorable quotes. Yet the most memorable part would have to be the catchiest song ever, “Everything is Awesome”, which can be heard throughout the movie and yet never becomes irritating.
Storywise, there isn’t the creativity and originality that one might expect, and the third act doesn’t quite fit with the flow of the rest of the film. Apart from that, my only major criticism is the lack of Bionicles. (Remember them?) Hopefully there are some clever ideas added in the sequel, which is due for release in 2019. If we’re lucky, these ideas may even appear in The Lego Batman Movie, which is due out Stateside this week.
What could have been an overly-long advertisement for a Danish toy company is instead a bright, funny and very enjoyable animated feature. With charming characters, superb computer-generated animation and a heart-warming message, The Lego Movie is almost as timeless as the brand it is based on.
This film was previously reviewed for YO Bendigo on April 14th, 2014.