Monday 7 April 2014

Film Review: The Lego Movie

Lego. An innocent array of colourful cubes and infinite opportunity. Who hasn't been charmed by their addictive and inventive nature over the years?

It is apt therefore that this full-length motion picture all about the Danish-born blocks captures so perfectly this giddy sense of fun, imagination and playfulness we all know and love. When it comes to The Lego Movie, everything is awesome. 

After being released in pretty much every other country in the world (including Antarctica I assume) before it arrived here in Australia (where the film was made), The Lego Movie went toe to toe with Captain America this weekend, blockbuster vs. block-a-ganza.

On paper, a film about little plastic blocks should not work. Captain America should win hands down. But then, these are no ordinary blocks. Lego, whether in its original, classic form or under the guise of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and the various other franchises that have tied in, are an almost omnipresent feature in all our youths (or in my case, present).

It's this nostalgia and fondness that the makers (or is that builders?) of The Lego Movie have managed to capture so perfectly. Like Toy Story before it, The Lego Movie is a film for all ages that basks in in-jokes, kooky nods and winks and throwing an endless stream of rose-tinted ideas at the audience. Kids will giggle at the silly goings-on, the poppy visuals and the general wackiness; adults will love the zany pop-culture jokes, meaningful message and overall sense of fun.

Things start off with a cute, wonderfully catchy tune that sets up the universe in which the film takes place - we meet Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), an ordinary everyday mini-figure who lives his life according to the instruction manual and is generally an all-round good guy. He stumbles across a glowing red brick, the Piece of Resistance, and is mistakenly identified as the most interesting, extraordinary person ever. Supposedly possessing the ability to save the world, Emmet joins a rag-tag band of loveable misfits in a quest to destroy an evil plan hatched by President Business to glue the Lego world together for good.

The voice acting in this film is top-notch, with a brilliant array of talent voicing the huge cast of cute, yellow-faced minifigures. Alongside Pratt, love-interest Wyldstyle is voiced by Elizabeth Banks, with hippie/wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett), hyper spaceman Benny (Charlie Day), cyborg pirate Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) and cutesy unicorn Unikitty (Alison Brie) rounding out the bunch of loveable characters accompanying Emmet.

Also lending their voices to the film are Channing Tatum (Superman), Jonah Hill (Green Lantern), Liam Neeson (Good Cop/Bad Cop), Dave Franco (Wally), Cobie Smulders (Wonder Woman), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian, obviously) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO).

There is something wonderfully bonkers about seeing characters like Batman, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Michaelangelo (both the Ninja Turtle and the painter), Abe Lincoln and Han Solo all share the same room that will make your inner child sing with joy. I'll be honest; I nearly punched the air with joy when the Millennium Falcon swooped in and John William's iconic score from Star Wars kicked in.

The direction by Phil Lord (Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) was brilliant, his now recognisable frenetic style coming across right from the off. The film zips across multiple Lego worlds, from Bricksburg City to the Old West, Cloud Cuckoo Land and an Medieval England type realm. It's a really rapid pace at which the narrative progresses, barely pausing to draw breath before plunging once again into another string of wacky, colourful action. It's the kind of film that will take several watches for it all to sink in.

It's in the film's final thirty minutes however that all the pieces fall neatly into place. The final conclusion, the writing and the emotional message it carries is pretty much perfect. The absurd action and explosions are put aside for a moment of contemplation, the film reflecting on a rather heart-warming central message that, again with obvious parallels to Toy Story, really hits home to audiences.

My only complaint is that some of the action, which is frenetic and completely hopped up on Red Bull, is sometimes a little too much to take in. At certain points, it felt like there was a billion things happening at once, with all manner of different bricks flinging about the screen as the characters build, blow-up and rebuild planes, trains and auto-mobiles. This wasn't always the case, but certain parts stuck out. I can't imagine the migraine you'd get from seeing this film in 3D.

The film is like a child's imagination, zig-zagging right and left with the action often squashing the plot underneath the zany goings-on. It's seriously good fun, but adults may find themselves rubbing their eyes or temples upon leaving the theatre. Kids will lap it up, with the eye-popping visuals the biggest selling point in their eyes.

On the whole however, animation is flawless, and you can really tell that the whole crew poured every ounce of their creative potential into shaping every frame. It's meticulously crafted chaos.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

The Lego Movie is a near-enough perfect animation that will appeal to ages 8 to 80. It's completely bonkers and bursting with irresistible energy. Try to suppress a grin during the film, I dare ya.

It's a pun that just screams to be used in any Lego Movie review, and I'm not one to disappoint - The Lego Movie is an absolute blockbuster, in every sense of the word. Don't miss out on this breakneck roller-coaster of a film. A must see.


  1. Dang, opening this up against Captain America where you are? Seems like an odd decision, wonder how it'll fare. In any event, though, nice review, definitely a fun as hell movie this was! :)

    1. I don't know the numbers from the weekend, but judging by my own experience at the theatre, it was pretty close! Lots of kids and families for this one - and rightly so, it appeals to them all. Thanks for commenting Chris!



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