(Ed – This post is not by Gareth Newnham but a good friend of Laser Lemming – Holly Newnham. Enjoy!)
When I first heard about The LEGO Movie, I was dubious to say the least. Admittedly I knew nothing about the storyline until about ten minutes before the showing began but haven’t we all seen enough of desperate brand growth attempts in the form of movies before? I wondered if I was about to be treated to 100 minutes of 80s Saturday morning cartoon style self promotion, shamelessly plugging a new range of toys or products under the guise of children’s entertainment.
Even now, I’m not 100% sure that this isn’t the case. LEGO sales are not going to be hurt by this movie, not by a long shot. That said, even if a boost in sales is the end goal here; I honestly no longer care. The film is so good that they’ve earned every penny of extra revenue. Let’s face it, there are lot of toys less deserving of the attention than the imagination stimulating building blocks.
So, on to the film itself! The LEGO Movie follows the adventures of an ordinary minifigure, a completely unremarkable construction worker named Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt of Parks and Rec fame). Emmet inadvertently finds the legendary Piece of Resistance and lands himself in the middle of a prophecy concerning the downfall of Lord Business (Will Ferrell).
With the help of a surprising cast of Master Builders including tough girl Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Princess Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie) and the pirate Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), Emmet must achieve his potential and save the universe from Lord Business and his evil Taco Tuesday scheme. The world inhabited by our hero is a dystopian mish-mash of Brave New World and 1984. The people are distracted with vapid entertainment and catchy music whilst under-educated about their history as in Brave New World whilst controlled by a paranoid Lord Business and his ever present instructions, 1984 style.
I don’t want to talk about the plot too much, I recommend knowing as little as possible about the film as possible before seeing it so that each twist and turn will be a surprise. It’s worth it.
The LEGO Movie is beautifully animated, easily tricking you into believing that it’s true stop motion. The movement, character limitations and set design is all pure LEGO. Every brick, every detail and every feature is beautifully designed and accurate. Anyone who has ever played with LEGO will recognise the organisation of the construction site and the glorious insanity of freeform building. The animation manages to convey the simple charm of LEGO whilst also creating a riveting, captivating story that I honestly would never have thought possible through the medium of plastic bricks.
Normally, I’m a little wary of all star voice casts. Screen actors and voice actors are very different beasts and I find that using well known screen actors instead of seasoned voice actors can rob a good film of the depth of performance it deserves. Happily, The LEGO Movie has avoided this problem by striking an excellent balance in its cast. The cast is well known enough to be a draw but with enough voice acting experience to give the kind of performances that the story required. A special shout out has to go to the fantastic Liam Neeson for his split personality performance as the Janus-faced Bad Cop. I don’t think that anything made me laugh quite as much as his scenes and his apparent hatred of office chairs.
That’s saying a lot because the film is really, genuinely funny.
I’m not talking about funny in a childish, kiddy humour way. The LEGO Movie is filled with the kind of humour that appeals to both children and adults. Parents taking their children to the cinema will find no end of enjoyment in this blocky tale. Equally, adults without children, especially those lucky enough to have grown up in the 80s and 90s, will find plenty to love in Emmet’s adventure. There is so much more I want to say but really, I urge you to discover it for yourself.
If nothing else, you should want to see The LEGO Movie for its soundtrack. Everything Is Awesome!!! By Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island is catchy, obnoxious and delicious. I could listen to it forever, playing it on a loop until my ears bleed with pure joy.
If I had one complaint about The LEGO Movie, it would be the somewhat saccharin finale, I expected a happy ending and the ‘twist’ was quite obvious but still, the conclusion left me feeling a little disenchanted.
In short, I don’t care if The LEGO Movie is a 100 minute toy advert, it is fantastic. Brilliantly executed and only a little schmaltzy, you could do a lot worse than spending your hard earned cash on tickets for your whole family.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get yourself off to the cinema to watch this gem of a film; I’ll be here, making a spaceship.