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Reviewed: The Lego Movie...

Written by (Editor) on 18th February 2014

Tune in, tune out... Lego. It's an all-ages block-party as The Lego Movie unites several universes-worth of action heroes in a solid family feature...

Emmet Brickowoski  (Chris Pratt) is a non-descript construction worker - a by-the-book guy happy to live in a world of routine and only vaguely noticing the consequences for those who don't follow the edicts of President Business (Will Ferrell) . But discovering a stranger WyldStyle ( Elizabeth Banks) on the work-site he finds himself plunged into the realms below the surface and firmly-fixed to the Piece of Resistance, a legendary block that is said will give the 'Chosen One' the power to save the universe. ..

Emmet is captured by the conflicted BadCop/GoodCop (Liam Neeson) who believes that he is an enemy to President Business, but he escapes with the help of WyldStyle who believes he's the legendary 'Master-Builder'. Both of them are wrong... but now various nefarious schemes have been revealed and our yellow hero must find reserves of strength, courage and imagination to ensure the various Lego worlds will continue to survive...

Sitting in a cinema and realising that you are being subjected to a trailer for a new My Little Pony film -  in which the horses are transformed into high school mean girls... and not even in a possibly interesting-David-Lynchian type of way - does not suggest that the state of young and family entertainment is in anything other than a rainbow-spewing death-spiral of epic propotions. 

Thankfully, the main feature, The Lego Film, largely restores one's faith in pint-size humanity. This is the kind of movie that is built to appeal to a genuine family audience rather than the modern habit of just throwing colours and sounds at a screen and hoping for the best. Not unlike Toy Story, this is a morality tale hidden within the crevices of the ultimate toy promotion. While harder-edged souls may see the whole endevour as a ninety-minute advert for a singular toy range, even they will have to admit that if so, it's all done with panache, imagination and a sense of in-built nostalgia for anyone who's ever been a child or had a child and possessed a beloved toybox.

Lego is everywhere nowadays - expanding out from the standard primary bricks of the past to gather up licences for a vast range of cultural and movie tie-ins. This is probably the one and only time one will see 'Gandalf' arguing with astronauts or 'Chewbacca' sharing screen-time 'Batman' and its that wonderful juxstaposition of familar faces and universes that  reflects the accepting, organic  nature of a childhood imagination in full flow. (Ironically, despite the imagination-imperative of the piece, given this is a Warner Bros. project, the corportational restrictions don't allow us to see Spider-man and Superman interact in a way that might have been of benefit to all concerned). 

Older members of the audience will recognise the irony and somewhat subversive undertow message of rebelling against  everyday conformity. While the likes of Fox News - who never met a family film with which they couldn't find hyperbolic fault-lines - point to the bad-guy being 'President Business' (okay, perhaps a little too on the nose... if Lego people had noses), the truth is that the film is a celebration of  an ongoing nostalgia and what it is to be young enough to paint outside the lines and 'imagine large' rather than just doing things by the numbers. 

The film is actually all CGI, though there are plenty of times when it looks like traditional stop-animation, capturing the feel needed for the project. Equally, the voice-cast give it their all, with the likes of Neeson, Banks, Pratt (soon to be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy)  Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Jonah Hill, Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders clearly having fun.

It's not hard to see why the film has done even better than expected at the box-office. Kids will love seeing their toys brought to life. Adults will get the nostalgia kick and action-fans will recognise this as  'The Matrix'  re-imagined with far less navel-gazing... if Lego people had navels)

On target to humble some of the other potential big-film releases (already outpacing the likes of the RoboCop remake at the US box-office), this will be music to the industry's ears.

(If Lego people had ears)

The Lego Movie is constructed by Warner Bros. and is out now...

Review score: 9 out of 10

Written By

John Mosby


John Mosby

Born at a early age, creative writing and artwork seemed to be in John’s blood from the start Even before leaving school he was a runner up in the classic Jackanory Writing Competition and began...

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