I could regale you all with my nostalgic childhood Lego stories as a prologue to this review, but let me just cut to the chase – The Lego Movie is awesome. Vibrant, colourful and bursting with endless pop-culture references, genuine laughs and gorgeous animation, The Lego Movie surpasses expectations to be a delight for both kids and adults.
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street fame, the dynamic duo have come up with a clever premise that ingeniously exploits Lego’s history while also tapping into rich themes with real drama akin to something you’d find in Pixar’s Toy Story. Speaking of story, the plot has unremarkable Lego construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) stumbling across the powerful ‘Piece of Resistance’ – a discovery that results in him being mistaken as the ‘Special’.
The Special, it seems, is prophesised to lead the Master Builders in their fight against the tyrannical Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who intends to end the world with the mysterious ‘Kragle’. Who made this prophecy? Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), a blind wizard with an old lollipop for a staff who has a sexy (by Lego standards) protégée named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). Wyldstyle is reluctant to help Emmet when she realises he’s actually utterly ordinary, but perseveres nonetheless and calls in the help of her boyfriend, Batman (Will Arnett).
It might sound ridiculous but Lord and Miller make it work. One minute the party are travelling through the fantasy-themed land of ‘Middle Zealand’ in their quest, and the next they’re in the bizzare Cloud Cuckoo Land (Banjo-Kazooie, anyone?) talking to a strange unicorn-cat amalgam. The various genre styles are all nicely linked by the Lego aesthetic, so the turns are never jarring. Moreover, the idea of building and constructing things is used to great effect; there’s a strong core message about creativity, imagination and finding out what’s special in each and every one of us.
Throw in the masterful animation – everything is quite literally made out of Lego pieces – and a lively soundtrack, and The Lego Movie hits all the right notes and then some. A surprise late in the film elevates it from being good to great, tugging at the heartstrings and making you pine for that dusty box of Lego tucked away at home (mine is predominately pirate and fantasy pieces, of course).