Review – The Lego Movie

As chaotic as it is clever and comedic, this gloriously absurd tale about the “highly sophisticated interlocking brick system” should be required watching for Michael Bay to see how movies about toys should be made.

As cunningly catchy as the signature awesome tune that plays throughout, The Lego Movie is that rarest of Hollywood gifts - a genuine and delightful surprise

As cunningly catchy as the signature awesome tune that plays throughout, The Lego Movie is that rarest of Hollywood gifts – a genuine and delightful surprise

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while a film comes along that goes some way to make amends for the many wasted hours long-suffering cinemagoers spend sat in popcorn-encrusted multiplexes being force-fed creatively bankrupt Tinseltown trash.

For all intents and purposes The Lego Movie shouldn’t be that film. What should (read: normally) have happened is that it burst into cinemas and made a pot of cash before anyone realised it was rubbish. However, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller chose instead to take the road travelled most recently by Disney’s Frozen of making a well-written, funny and charming movie that appeals to young and old alike and attracts repeat viewings.

Simple, ordinary Emmet (Chris Pratt) is about to have his world rocked in The Lego Movie

Simple, ordinary Emmet (Chris Pratt) is about to have his world rocked in The Lego Movie

Lord and Miller’s previous animated flick, 2009’s Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, was weirdly anarchic in itself, but the crazy juice is in full flow here.

We all have something that makes us something, but construction worker Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt) is the definition of ordinary. That is until he inadvertently stumbles across The Piece of Resistance which, according to the prophecy set down by wonky wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), makes him The Special; the person capable of stopping the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from using a superweapon called the Kragle to freeze the world and preserve perfect order.

Wonky wizard Vitruvius  (Morgan Freeman) faces evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) in The Lego Movie

Wonky wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) faces evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) in The Lego Movie

Emmet suddenly finds himself in a strange new world and is helped on his quest by the feisty Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett) and an army of Master Builders, recognisable from the world of comic books, movies and real life. However, they must all contend with Business and his relentless right clawed man Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).

The chaos of The Lego Movie is, aptly enough, exactly why the film works. As the makers of Minecraft would no doubt agree, the beauty of Lego is that it can be anything its builder wants it to be; whether that be an elaborately designed world (Bricksburg), a free-for-all (as depicted in the movie by the visually bonkers Cloud Cuckoo Land), a pirate ship, or simply two blocks randomly stuck together (the height of my Lego creativity as a youngster).

Batman (Will Arnett) prepares to "wing it" with Emmet (Chris Pratt) in The Lego Movie

Batman (Will Arnett) prepares to “wing it” with Emmet (Chris Pratt) in The Lego Movie

Taking Toy Story and The Matrix as building blocks, Lord and Miller’s knowing and subversive script weaves in everything from the unhealthy ties between politics and big business to cultural dumbing down (the TV show Where’s My Pants?), overpriced coffee, good old-fashioned satire and plenty of jokes.

By way of example, there’s the throwaway parody of Batman via the lyrics of a self-penned song he plays through the Batmobile’s new subwoofers: “Darkness… No parents… More darkness… Get it?… The opposite of light… Super rich… Kinda makes it better.”

The Lego Movie gang

The Lego Movie gang

To achieve this level of chaos without the film imploding in on itself takes some doing, while the animation itself is ingeniously rendered. Even water is fashioned from Lego blocks and somehow fits in with everything else that’s happening on screen.

The film also deftly underscores the cross-generational appeal of Lego and the different outlook that kids have (build whatever, deconstruct and start again) and adults (build something elaborate, stick it together with glue, remove the fun out of it) have when it comes to the little blocks.

As cunningly catchy as the signature awesome tune that plays throughout, The Lego Movie is that rarest of Hollywood gifts – a genuine and delightful surprise.

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26 comments

  1. Amen! I adored this one!! You are spot on with that Bay comment

    >

    • Three Rows Back · June 16, 2014

      Thanks Roy! Just think we’ve got Transformers 4 to endure…

      • Oh, Heaven help me. We saw the trailer this weekend, and one of our friends said, “haven’t we seen that movie three times already?”

  2. CMrok93 · June 16, 2014

    Good review. It was a very smart, funny and exciting movie that can practically work for anyone who appreciates a nice time. Kids and adults alike.

    • Three Rows Back · June 16, 2014

      Thanks as always Dan. You can’t beat a movie that works on more than one level.

  3. ruth · June 16, 2014

    Glad you saw this Mark! I LOVED this movie, it’s just so awesome all around and that catchy tune gets stuck in my head for weeks. Not that I’m complaining though.

    • Three Rows Back · June 16, 2014

      I thought you would have liked this!

      • ruth · June 19, 2014

        Well, everything is awesome! 😀 So yeah I absolutely loved this one.

  4. Pingback: [NEWS] The Monday Spew (16th June 2014) « The Verbal Spew Review
  5. jjames36 · June 16, 2014

    A delightful surprise? Amen.

    Great. Review.

  6. CinemaClown · June 17, 2014

    Nice review there, mate. This one surprised me out of the blue.

  7. Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop · June 18, 2014

    Great stuff man, really glad you got around to seeing this. I thought it was fantastic. Genuinely funny and clever, which I really wasn’t expecting from it.

    • Three Rows Back · June 18, 2014

      Cheers Chris. Was looking to start that Blogathon in the next week or two if that’s good with you?

  8. mikeyb @ screenkicker · June 18, 2014

    Loved it too. Its crazy but always fun

  9. ckckred · June 20, 2014

    Nice review. I’m a big fan of Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman’s work on Parks and Rec and have a lot of nostalgia for lego figures. I didn’t get the chance to see it in theaters but I’m eager to rent it on DVD.

    • Three Rows Back · June 20, 2014

      Never seen Parks and Rec (a big admission I know) but they are great in this. Check it out mate. Cheers for the kind words.

  10. Tom · June 22, 2014

    Hahah! Great little review man, I loved this film so much. I have it pegged as one of the biggest surprises of the year. The Batman running joke was perfectly played up by Arnett. That was a role tailor-made for him!

    • Three Rows Back · June 23, 2014

      Thanks buddy! Alongside Blue Ruin and Edge of Tomorrow, this is the most pleasant surprise of the year for sure. Loved that Batman parody too!

  11. bhatiayash60 · July 6, 2014

    One of the best kind of surprises that are left for film maniacs like us. Great review, amazing film. Lord and Miller are phenomenal writers.

  12. Lights Camera Reaction · July 22, 2014

    Great review! I absolutely fell in love with this film! It’s charming, funny and the animation is incredible.

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