The Lego Movie Review
On a weekend where we saw both The Lego Movie and the Robocop reboot, only one of them left an impression that justified sharing our opinion in a review. Sadly for action fans, that was not Robocop, which was a soulless, poorly scripted underachieving turkey of a movie.
Instead, the Lego Movie wowed us with its charm, its kitsch and its unique ability to relate to anybody who has ever picked up a Lego brick since the 1960s. It’ll impress you visually, it’ll make you laugh, and it’ll make you think (but not too hard).
Perhaps one of the greatest achievements the Lego Movie pulls off, is that it looks and feels like a classic stop motion animation, yet is almost entirely computer animated. In doing so, it brings the action of the characters of the Lego Movie closer to home. If you’ve ever played with Lego, fluid motion is NOT something you would expect. Indeed, it also makes the bricks feel like your own, with finger prints, scratches, broken accessories. It all makes it that much more personal, and suddenly you begin to forget that this could easily be a giant corporate commercial, but instead they feel like old friends from your past.
Playing with Lego was a big part of our childhood. We had a big old box full of random pieces previously bought as sets that were built up, knocked down and then left free for our own creations. That is the heart of the Lego Movie plot. Lord Business, a megalomaniac Lego Man with an obsession with order and rules, wants the Lego pieces to stay as they are intended forever. He intends to use an ancient relic to achieve his goal, with only a handful of master builders in his way. Master builders are the opposite end of the spectrum, seeing the value and potential of each Lego piece to be a part of something completely different and new.
Our hero Emmet, voiced by the affable Chris Pratt, is your everyman Lego person. He follows the rules, he does what he’s told, hell, he even loves the same song as everyone else does (good God, its so catchy we still can’t get it out of our heads). Emmet stumbles across an ancient relic capable of saving the Lego universe, and embarks on his quest of self discovery surrounded by unqiue lego characters across different Lego worlds. It felt an awful lot like a cross between the Matrix (being the Special one) and The Day The Earth Stood Stupid (a classic Futurama episode), and although the plot is entirely simple and obvious, that all feeds back to part of the movie’s charm, that it does feel a lot like something you might have done when playing with Lego yourself.
The supporting cast of characters and voice actors help pull the story along during its slow moments, and its remarkable how good some of them are. The stunning Elizabeth Banks’ voice is behind the inevitable love interest Wyldstyle and her boyfriend, Batman, is voiced by Will Arnett. Arnett, always a favourite since playing the role of Gob in Arrested Development, proves his voice is beyond comparison when it comes to the Dark Knight – perhaps he is the best batman to date?
There are other heroes in the form of Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, but they barely feature. The other main character is the wonderfully wise old master builder, full of insight and skill, the kind you’d expect to be voiced by Morgan Freeman, and in fact is. How could we forget the marvellous random 1980s Spaceman voiced by Always Sunny star Charlie Day and Metal Beard the pirate? Both have their moments in the spotlight. In fact, the different Lego worlds also get shown off, sometimes even rather self deprecatingly. Lego City has been one of the company’s bestselling lines, as have Star Wars, Wild West and Space. There are a few mentioned that perhaps didn’t do so well either, like Fabuland (what the hell were they thinking!).
The advertising campaign that Lego have been on has also been relentless, and their recent Dancing on Ice ad slot certainly stirred interest. Over an entire ad break, each typical ad was remade using Lego – including that horrifically bloody annoying Confused.com ad, Lenny Henry in a Premier Inn ad, and those frustratingly ridiculous douchebag BT flatmates. Thinking about it, these are possibly the MOST ANNOYING ads out there at the moment, but somehow they seemed all the more amazing in Lego. The Lego Movie bandwagon will definitely gather some pace when it is released on the 14th of February (take your mrs, women love Lego).
Sure, the story is a little worn just like the toys themselves, and some of the jokes are a little silly and incredibly obvious. However, the film is so charming in the way it takes you back to your childhood and feels so specifically relevant, that it simply succeeds in winning you over. The boundless enthusiasm and frenetic energy the film gives off will inspire you and any youngsters you take with you, and you will leave the move together feeling good although maybe not sure why… and yes, you probably will want to go buy some Lego afterwards.