***THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON MONDAY 10TH FEBRUARY, HERE***
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman.
Running Time: 100 minutes.
Synopsis: When the ordinary, rule-obeying Emmet (Chris Pratt) is mistaken as ‘The Special’, he finds himself battling the evil President Business’ (Will Ferrell) plan to glue the individual Lego worlds together.
Move over Michael Bay. There’s a new type of cinematic mayhem in town and it comes in the form of Lego. After keeping our planet happy for the last sixty-five years, the Danish toy company have gone full blockbuster with a completely bonkers but engaging underdog story that definitely ate all the blue Smarties.
Just like 2009’s CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, the duo’s second animated feature is heavy on both style and morals. Centering on the very ordinary Emmet, he may lack the crazy invention skills of CLOUDY’s Flint Lockwood, but he is equally trying to minifigure it all out. Perfectly happy with his daily routine, a chance encounter with the mysterious ‘Piece of Resistance’ sees an opportunity to break the monotony and open his eyes to the realities around him.
After its INDIANA JONES/LORD OF THE RINGS-esque setup, you are thrown amongst a sharp, incredibly meta playground that takes great pleasure in rarely letting you come up for air. Lord and Miller’s third directorial outing may boast a simple story, but they have once again created a film that requires multiple viewings to catch all the jokes. Ninety percent of what’s on offer will go straight over smaller audience members’ heads, but this colourful and fast paced joyride’s simple message will not go unnoticed.
Just like its food-based predecessor, the notion of championing everyone for being an individual may be force-fed, but in a film where Dumbledore, Shaquille O’Neal, Green Lantern and Shakespeare join forces, you’re hardly going to care. Boys will love seeing their favourite superheroes teaming up with pirate-Transformer hybrids, but girls also get their fair share to feast on, with both the sickeningly sweet Cloud Cuckoo Land and a kickass heroine in the form of Elizabeth Banks’ Wyldstyle.
From Will Arnett’s Batman to Morgan Freeman’s blind hippy, Vetruvius, you’re given a hard time deciding on your favourite sidekick, though Liam Neeson’s T-1000 and frightened Irish schoolboy mash-up is an obvious frontrunner. Combining animation and CGI with mindboggling results, the ability to identify with this band of merry Lego men is an astonishing achievement. Boasting countless, headshakingly impressive moments, whether it’s the Wild West, the high seas or a car chase the Wachowskis would be proud to call their own, the attention to detail is nothing short of miraculous. The directors may have taken a huge gamble with the film’s climax, but it perfectly captures the nostalgia Lego’s legacy has created, even if it produces a far neater resolution from the pair than expected.
THE LEGO MOVIE’s script may be above and beyond any animation of recent years, but its original and gloriously refreshing aesthetics are its undeniable trump card. A direct result of what happens when we let our imaginations run wild, it is exactly what you’d expect from Lord and Miller, proving they really can do it all. Every aspect fits together to guarantee that – just like its infectious title song continuously reminds us – everything is awesome.
(4 / 5) THE LEGO MOVIE is released in UK cinemas on Friday 14th February, 2014.