Film Review: The Lego Movie (PG) (Australia/USA, 2014)

lego-movie-trailer

If you don’t end up walking out of this movie with a nostalgic tinge for your childhood or singing “Everything Is Awesome” or wanting to buy Lego then you must be a robot. This movie has been one of the hotly anticipated films of the year and with good reason. A combination of stop motion animation and CGI with a script that caters to both adults and kids and a rollercoaster ride of non-stop fun, it’s got a winning formula.

Meet Emmett (voiced by Chris Pratt of TV series Parks and Recreation fame) he’s just an average Lego guy living in his Lego world as a construction worker, every day is the same, he follows his instruction manual for life and gets on with his job and everything is awesome. But on this one day he accidentally stumbles upon Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) a mysterious gorgeous Lego girl snooping around his construction site and from that moment on things start getting crazy. After falling down a rabbit hole Emmett discovers the “Piece of Resistance” and is invited to meet with a rebellious band of Master Builder characters who are trying to save the Lego world as they know it from the dastardly Lord Business (aka President Business, voiced by Will Ferrell). Some of our crazy characters making up the band of rebels include the wizard Vitrivius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett), crazy jumbled pirate Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) and Unikitty (Alison Brie). As they desperately try to come up with a plan to save the world they’re being hunted by Lord Business’ best henchman the split personality-afflicted Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) who also has the occasional Good Cop face spin around and show up.

This movie is pretty insane, sometimes it had me wondering whether the writers and designers all had ADHD or were tripping out on LSD type drugs. It’s visually mind-blowing, particularly when you’re watching it in 3D, the depth and texture of all the Lego bricks and characters is sublime and makes the pieces feel so real when you’re just looking at them. Like the translucent laser rods or burning flames and the mish mash of shades of blue bricks to make up the ocean. On the other hand though, the fast-paced action sequences sometimes did result in a blur of flying Lego bricks and colour and at times lost that sense of looking at real pieces of plastic flying through the air. Massive props though to the Animal Logic team for creating so many universes and making them all look amazing.

The narrative itself is fairly straightforward enough for kids to follow along with, but there’s enough in-jokes and pop culture references for the adults to not feel like it’s too simple as well. It reminded me a lot of Shrek in that sense, where there was enough of a balance for kids and adults alike to enjoy the movie. Keep your ears peeled for mini-cameos by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their 21 Jump Street buddy duo as a pair of two surprising super-heroes. The real character highlight for me was Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop, he gets some brilliant physical comedy scenes not to mention being a downright badass for most of the movie. Surprisingly for a film that has such a large ensemble cast it does well giving each character enough screen time for them to have their little moments to shine without it being too overwhelming. It was pretty hard to pick a favourite but Neeson’s Bad Cop just snuck in there.

But it’s not all laughs, if you wanted to go into the analytical side of it the film does well exploring the psychology behind the notion of following instructions versus breaking the rules and going with your creative instinct. It also allows us to go on the existential journey of self-discovery along with our hero, to go from feeling like you are a nobody to realising that you are an irreplaceable somebody. The movie has some real heart too, and without spoiling the interesting little plot twist near the end of the film, you get to see that the real magic of Lego and toys in general is the imagination and the inspiration to make and create unique things. Adults can have just as much enjoyment as kids if they just allowed themselves to let go and have a little fun. This is definitely a great film for the family, though there is quite a fair bit of explosive action and destruction in it, so possibly not suited to the little ones, but I’d say upwards of 8 years old would be fine. Grab some friends or your family and go check this movie out, because everything is awesome!

Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Running Time: 100 minutes

The Lego Movie is out 3rd April 2014 through Roadshow Films & Warner Bros Pictures

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