The fact that The Lego Movie has taken this long to appear is something of a surprise. When you consider the amount of licenses that are held by Lego, it has surely always been only a matter of time until they all came together to create a movie. The problem is that much like many spin offs of beloved toys and games, it is all too easy to create something substandard and poor, with the knowledge that fans that will come flocking anyway. Therefore it was a relief when Phil Lord and Chris Miller stepped into the directorial seat, as their previously filmography suggests an ability to make gold out of something with the potential to plummet, mainly with 21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
The plot of The Lego Movie is really not the most important part, but I shall sum it up for you anyway. Eight and a half years before the events of the film, the evil Lord Business steals a The Kragle (a super weapon) away from the protection of the wizard Vitruvius, who after his defeat prophesies that one day the special will come and find the Piece of Resistance which can stop the Kragle. In the here and now we are introduced to a Lego world defined by order. The radio plays only one song (the brilliantly awful “Everything is Awesome”), the only TV show is “Where are My Pants?” and everyone follows detailed instruction manuals. Our central character, Emmett, is one of the hundreds of faceless bots that make up this world, with having literally no personality traits to make him stand out. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it is he who finds the Piece of Resistance and becomes the Special that the world has been waiting for.
There is no denying that it is a ludicrous plot. However, it doesn’t have to be anything more than a ludicrous plot, it’s really just a vehicle for the rest of this movie to ride along on. The star studded cast are great in their various voice roles, with Will Arnett in particular deserving a mention for his voicing of the rather ridiculous Batman. Elsewhere just the idea of having Dumbledore, Gandalf, Wonder Women, Superman and the 2002 NBA All Stars meeting in a room to attempt to save the world is enough alone, when you throw in that they are voiced by the likes of Channing Tatum, Cobie Smulders and Shaq himself it just adds to the fun. Elsewhere Liam Neeson shows his comedy chops with the ultra serious Bad Cop and Morgan Freeman adds his wisdom to Vitruvius. If I was to continue naming the voices supplied to this movie we’d be going on all day.
Where this movies strength really lies is in it’s visual gags. There is so much opportunity for fantastic set pieces with Lego and Lord and Miller have grasped a hold of them with eager hands. Everything from the cars in the street to the water in the sea is constructed from Lego and it creates a beautiful world full of opportunity. While the slapstick humour of character’s barrelling through the world creating and destroying as they go never grows old. On the other hand it has to be said that a lot of the vocalised jokes do fall a bit flat, but they have a good enough conversion rate that it doesn’t really matter when they are combined with the visual treats.
The Lego Movie defies categorisation. It’s over the top, ridiculous and yet so incredibly fun that I can’t see how anyone couldn’t come out of it without a smile on their face. It’s just a joy from start to finish and if you have small children, or even if you don’t, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.