19 February 2014

The Lego Movie Review

When it was first announced, I thought that The Lego Movie would just be another cynical, brainless attempt to capitalise on a recognisable property in order to wring more nostalgia money out of people. Then Warner Bros. made the smartest decision they could; they hired Phil Lord and Chris Miller to write and direct the film. Their absolutely insane approach to films, as seen in the insanity of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, felt like the best way to make this film work by just going all out with the possibilities that Lego provided. That is exactly what they did and they have created one of the best comedies that will be released this year.
The plot of the film concerns Emmet, an ordinary Lego figure who is believed to be The Special, the greatest master builder in the Lego universe and he has to stop the evil Lord Business from using super weapon the Kragle on Taco Tuesday to end the world, teaming up with old wizard Vitruvius, action girl Wyldstyle and Batman, amongst others, to help him. What I really like about the plot is that it's a complete skewering of the Hero's Journey plot that virtually every big action movie is putting in now, taking apart every element of that trope whilst also having a lot of fun with the trope. I also love how the film takes advantage of all the different Lego sets that have been produced in order to create as many creative situations as possible. The real genius of the film though comes in the major message of the film, that of embracing creativity in any possible form. This film could have been incredibly cynical but this message gives the film a great deal of heart and embraces what everyone who's ever played with Lego has been faced with, the choice of following the instructions or embracing the creative nature of Lego and I love just how far the film is willing to go to convey this message, especially at the end of the film. It also helps that the film is incredibly funny, there are jokes in the film for everyone and I was laughing from beginning to end. There's this great sense of fun that fills the entire film and makes the film an absolute blast to watch.

The cast of the film is also incredible in the film. Chris Pratt as Emmet really nails the everyman hero aspect of the character, Morgan Freeman is really funny as Vitruvius, Will Ferrell is a surprisingly effective villain as Lord Business, Elizabeth Banks gives a lot of depth to Wyldstyle, Nick Offerman gets a lot of laughs as Metalbeard and Allison Brie gives a hilariously cute performance as Unikitty. I also find it weird that Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill give their interpretations of Superman and Green Lantern more personality than the most recent film and it's pretty bad that this is the screen debut of Wonder Woman. The scene-stealing performances though are from Will Arnett, Charlie Day and Liam Neeson. Arnett is a brilliant parody of just how dark Batman has gotten over the past few years, with there being a few specific digs at the Nolan films, his Batman voice is excellent and he may just be my favourite screen version of Batman. Day meanwhile is hilarious as Benny, the 1980-something-spaceguy, he provides a lot of heart for the film at the end, which I won't spoil, and his clear enthusiasm in the part is so much fun to listen to that you can't help but laugh. Neeson meanwhile gets a lot of great lines and has great comedic delivery as Bad Cop/Good Cop, especially the bits when he switches between the characters which, as behind the scenes footage shows, he did in the same take with his Good Cop voice being incredibly funny to listen to.

The animation of the film is incredible. The film is deliberately designed to look like a stop-motion Lego film, even down to lowering the framerate and making it so the movements of the characters are incredibly rigid, reflecting the rigid nature of Lego figures. I love how everything in the film, from the cars to the fire to the water, looks like it's made out of Lego with the Lego sea in particular being a brilliant piece of design and I highly commend Animal Logic for how incredible the animation looks in the film. There's also this high energy to the entire film from beginning to end, with the film moving so fast that there are a lot of jokes that can just go right past you if you're not paying attention, mainly in Bricksburg and Cloud Cuckoo Land and the action scenes in the film are so energetic and so much fun to watch. It's clear that Phil Lord and Chris Miller put great care to the look of the film and this attention to detail can be seen by the audience, it's just a great looking film.

Overall, The Lego Movie is brilliant. It is one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time and I was laughing from beginning to end. This is a film that takes a premise that could have created an incredibly cynical film and injects so much fun, creativity and life into everything. The fact that the film wasn't bad was astonishing, the fact that The Lego Movie will end up being one of the best films of the year is nothing short of a miracle. Phil Lord and Chris Miller have once again proven that they can make even the most cynical of film prospects an incredibly fun experience to watch.

My Rating: 5/5

One last thing: SPACESHIP

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