DVD Review: The LEGO Movie
The news of a LEGO film, understandably set a lot of people running for the hills, barring in mind we are now living in a world where we have suffered The Smurfs, endured Garfield: The Movie and unwillingly experienced Yogi Bear's short lived attempt on the big screen. But The LEGO Movie had two tricks up it's plastic sleeve in the form of Hollywood wunderkids Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Lord and Miller, while starting out writing for sit-coms, introduced themselves to the big screen with the barmy but brillant Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and then established themselves as the ones to beat with the surprisingly hilarious 21 Jump Street. These two writer, directors somehow managed to breathe something special into films that didn't look that promising on paper. And it's safe to say they have done it again.
The film centres on Chris Pratt's Emmett, a normal, average construction worker who fits in so well no one seems to notice him. His world is a mind-controlled by a government adamant to keep it's people shackled to their daily routine, relying on instructor manuals and the infectious 'Everything is Awesome' pop song to get the job done. After a chance meeting with Elizabeth Banks' Wyldstyle, Emmett finds himself thrust into the centre of a prophecy set down by Vitruvuius, played by Morgan Freeman. Before Emmett can understand exactly what is going on, he is burdened with the task of taking down the evil, Mr Business, voiced by Will Ferrell. Emmett has to find a way to stop the crazy leader of the world super gluing everyone with his kragle, in order to keep the world the way he wants.
Lord and Miller litter the film with hilarious supporting characters. Morgan Freeman seems to be having the time of his life in his best role in a long time, Elizabeth Banks has a lot of fun with Wlydstyle, Liam Neeson Charlie Day is hilarious as Ben the 80's spaceman obsessed with crating a spaceship and Will Arnett's Batman steals every seen he is in, thanks to a generous amount of self awareness. The directors also have a lot of fun playing with well loved pop culture figures, especially Superman and Green Lantern. Despite throwing in so many characters, you never spend anytime trying to figure out the point of this universe or asking why fictional characters rub shoulders with real life figures, it's a complete joy to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo spend screen time with the real Michelangelo. The film is not quite flawless unfortunately, the second act feels like a hodge podge of ideas and not all of them stick but Lord and Miller make up for it in an emotional and surprising finale that makes sense of this colourful, nonsensical universe. Clearly the directors have taken low expectations as a chance for creative experimentalism.
For what could have been a ninety minute long trailer for the Scandinavian toy company, is morphed into a infectiously fun romp that feels more like passion project than product placement, no thanks to the wit and charm of Lord and Miller. The film is lovingly crafted with a strong sense of nostalgia, Ben the 80's spaceman's helmet is cracked in the exact spot every 80's spaceman LEGO figure was and many of the pop culture references will appeal to the adults in the audience as much as the children. With a sequel on the way and Batman getting his own spin-off, The LEGO Movie proves that everything Lord and Miller touch turns to gold.