The LEGO Movie could have easily been a hundred minute commercial but, instead, becomes an ode to imagination and creativity. It manages to be a film, that has incredible substance, but also has the ability to get audiences to buy LEGO products. At times, frantic fun and, at other times, a heartfelt love letter to the LEGO brand itself. Part Toy Story and part South Park, The LEGO Movie perfectly encapsulates the spirit and fun of LEGO and why so many adults and children, alike, are in love with the brand.
The film centres around Emmet (Chris Pratt), a humble construction worker, who is plucked from his mundane everyday life and is burdened with saving the LEGO universe from an impending apocalypses. He is nothing special. However, he goes on an incredible journey that changes his view about the world he lives and about himself.
On his journey, he meets and is joined by various characters, drawn from LEGO’s well-known licenses, as well, as wholly original characters. Surprisingly, it is the original characters that get a majority of the screen time and elevate the movie into something special.
Morgan Freeman voices the hippy wizard, Vitruvius. He is excellent, delivering on the laughs through the confused wisdom he dispels. Elizabeth Banks is kick-ass and heartfelt as the film’s female lead, Wyldstyle. Will Ferrel is incredibly maniacal as the film’s villain, Lord Business. But it is Chris Pratt’s humble construction worker who steals the film for me. Pratt brings the right amount of naiveness and goofiness to the role, helping to anchor a lot of the craziness that occurs around him. Also, his character is the film’s heart and soul, without him, The LEGO Movie would be nothing but a parody.
On top of them, I have to yet to mention, Unikitty, Metal beard and Bad Cop or how the film interrupts favourites such as Superman, Green Lantern and Benny the Spaceman. The film is filled with so many wonderful character, it is incredible that the film never feels overpacked.
The characters are imbued with incredible depth. They do not turn into the stereotypical action/adventure characters we’ve seen in other films before. It is actually the incredible character development that is one The LEGO Movie’s greatest strengths.
All of this character development takes places in a totally bonkers world. A world as alive and in motion as the characters that inhabit it. Certain characters, known as Master Builders, have the ability to create objects using the LEGO pieces found in the different worlds they go too. This creates, absolutely, bizarre and frantic moments that could only be possible in the LEGO universe. Moments, such as, Batman saving Emmett and his companions in the Old West or Wyldstyle and Emmett creating a bike to escape the police and the crazy chase that follows. Or when the core cast is creating a submarine while being on the move and trying to avoid being captured.
Speaking of Batman, this film’s version of him might be the best film version of the character ever imagined. It understands, that Batman is the cool kid that everyone loves regardless of how big of a prick he is. The writers portray Batman as a moody, spoiled teenager, who thinks he’s all that. So, exactly, the way people have always viewed Batman. The film is not afraid of making Batman seem childish and silly. Also, wow, Batman’s song! I wish they’d have released a full version of it.
A huge reason why this film works is due to the direction and writing of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. You can take a look at their past works, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, and see that these two men have a knack for placing character first inservice of story. They understand, that the audience will connect with the characters and that the characteristics of these characters, will produce the film’s comedic moments. Not only that, they understand the characters they work with. This prevents original characters from feeling unrealized and original or licensed characters from acting out of character.
As bonkers and fun, as The LEGO Movie is, the film takes a turn for the abnormal in the final act. Without spoiling it, all I can say is that it serves to tie up the film’s biggest metaphor. A metaphor that can be interpreted in having grander or simplified meaning in terms of how our own world operates.
The LEGO Movie is frantic fun, with incredible depth and character. It is something that adults and kids alike will have fun watching. The film warrants multiple viewings, packed with moments that only get better after we have time to think about them. Packed to the brim with life and energy, The LEGO Movie, is a fun time at the movies.
Score: 10 out of 10