The LEGO Movie (****)
Running time: 100 mins
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Starring- Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Cobie Smulders and Alison Brie
EVERYTHING about The LEGO Movie is indeed awesome; the big screen début of the Danish toy company’s iconic yellow-faced creations proves to be a hugely enjoyable viewing experience for all the family this half-term.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directorial duo behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, helm an animated feature boasting an enviable array of Hollywood A-list talent. Will Ferrell Morgan Freeman, Cobie Smulders and Northern Ireland’s very own Liam Neeson are just some of the famous voices that can be heard throughout the movie.
The plot playing out in a similar vein to Monty Python’s The Life of Brian has Emmet (Chris Pratt) an unremarkable LEGO construction worker, mistakenly identified as ‘the special’ and forced to embark upon a quest to save the LEGO universe from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell).
His coming foretold by Morgan Freeman’s character Vitruvious as the most important person ever, a ‘master-builder’ able to create anything he wishes by simply using his imagination. Emmet is the only one who can stop Lord Business’s evil scheme to stifle creativity and glue everything together permanently.
Much like with last year’s Wreck-it Ralph the writers have taken full advantage of the various franchises LEGO has at its disposal, with characters from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the DC universe all making appearances. Without a doubt Will Arnett’s LEGO Batman steals the show, getting many of the films better lines: “I only work in black. And sometimes, very, very dark grey.”
But the film’s real triumph is the beautiful way in which the LEGO universe has been brought to life. Almost everything onscreen from start to finish, even the Warner Bros logo, appears to have been created using LEGO pieces. It’s a real masterstroke by the directors to bring the man behind Robot Chicken, Chris McKay on-board. His involvement adds a wonderfully knowing sense of humour to the stop-motion effect of the film’s animation, that highlights the creative potential of LEGO, but also poking fun at the toy’s clear limitations.
Filled with the same offbeat, quirky sense of humour as seen in the directing duo’s earlier work, there’s enough gags, silliness and pop-culture references throughout this feature to keep viewers young and old entertained. It’s an unashamedly joyous affair, much like the Toy Story films it will remind older viewers of the unrivalled joy that playing with their toys once brought.
By William McClean