Writer-directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller, the makers of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, bring Lego to glorious life is this funny, clever & imaginative film for the entire family…
Assembling brightly coloured building blocks of LEGO has become a huge part of everyone’s childhood, creating our own little worlds to immerse ourselves in. This then became the saleable staple of the digital gaming revolution with the current audience market playing Lego Harry Potter for DS, LEGO Batman for PS3 or Lego Star Wars for Wii, and this clearly shows how much the brand name means to all audiences in different forms of media. So, the idea of a movie based around LEGO seemed to have sounded like a cynical marketing ploy in order to sell more stuff. Or it could’ve ended up being like The Pokémon or Moshi Monsters Movie, both of which were the worst animated-family movies that have ever been made. But you’d be wrong: this is one of the best films of the year.
That world is fully immersive as the use of LEGO really gives the film a unique style of its own. The animation has a jaunty quality about it that looks rough around the edges, but this is done in an endearing and intentional manner as it certainly feels like a film that has been handmade.
Even though we get iconic, licensed characters thrown in like Batman, it’s really the new characters that you truly invest in. Morgan Freeman is absolutely terrific as is Elizabeth Banks as Wildstyle. What also makes the film fantastic is its intelligently, funny and self-referential script that tips its head towards the self-aware set ups of Toy Story and Wreck-It Ralph. The directors and writers of the film, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, also did Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street and its upcoming sequel 22 Jump Street, and when you watch their films, it always feels like they write their scripts whilst experiencing a sugar overload and zany acid flashbacks combined. Their films are psychedelic, anarchic and mad whilst also being brilliant at the same time, and The LEGO Movie feels like this celebration of chaos and creativity, specifically the creativity of childhood, which is the key theme of the movie. Even though the film feels crazy, it still has a very tight story right at the heart of it, and the final act does have such an emotional kick.
In the end, it’s both ironic and heartening that The LEGO Movie reminds us that there’s something much more enduring and everlasting, and that’s LEGO itself. The film really gets to the heart of what the toy is really all about and why it has managed to prosper for over 60 years. It’s a film that believes that everyone can be creative, that everyone is special, and that imagination is so powerful it can flourish into something that is truly awesome. Also, you’ll come out singing its theme tune, Everything Is Awesome, in a mildly ironic fashion. Not just one of the best animated films ever made (alongside the likes of Toy Story and Wreck-It Ralph), but the best film of 2014 so far.