Following in the successful footsteps of Toy Story and Wreck-It Ralph, The LEGO Movie brings us an animated adventure in a world made of the children’s toy. But this world is threatened by the tyrannical Lord Business (Will Ferrell, Elf, Anchorman), who wants to stamp out chaos and creativity by imposing instructions on everything. The only one who can stop this is the prophesised “Special”, who turns out to be an ordinary construction worker, Emmet (Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation, Delivery Man).
The film features a huge ensemble cast, without a single weak link. Pratt adds his voice to something of an everyman, someone we can all root for, since Emmet is, at first, just a slave to the consumerist regime. Resembling Ed Norton’s character from Fight Club, Emmet leads a monotonous life, working the same job, day-in, day-out, drinking overpriced coffee, and watching the same sitcom every evening. But in a Brave New World-esque satirical kind of way, the residents are brainwashed to be super happy about it, as per The LEGO Movie’s super catchy theme song: “Everything is Awesome!!!” Trust me, if you aren’t singing or humming to this after the film, there’s something wrong with you. Ferrell gives a totally OTT performance, which works for his character as an exaggerated pantomime villain, and you could tell he loved every minute of it.
The rest of the cast were all brilliant, with stand-out roles going to Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as the wizard Vitruvius, Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) as leading lady Wyldstyle and Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who brings his own unique brand of eccentric comedy as Benny, the “1980-something Space Guy”. Liam Neeson (Taken) is surprisingly hilarious as the bipolar, split-personality Good Cop/Bad Cop. But the scene-stealer was Will Arnett (Arrested Development) who played Batman. Arnett delivered some truly brilliant one-liners, and satirised the character brilliantly, especially considering the recent Christopher Nolan films.
That’s another thing; the script manages to get the balance of humour just right. There are plenty of jokes and slapstick comedy to keep the kids entertained, yet also enough cameos, pop culture gags and movie references for the adults as well (I picked up on one’s from Terminator, The Dark Knight and Air Force One). There was a surprise twist at the end as well, which while being a little too didactic, was deep and emotional.
As the animation design goes, everything looked like it was made of LEGO and used some stop-motion, despite it all being practically CGI. This was great in that the directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller decided to go for authenticity, just a shame that there weren’t any stop-motion segments. At just 100 minutes, the film is short enough to keep the kids attention span, but as an older viewer, I couldn’t help but want to see more.
The LEGO Movie is a delightfully funny animated comedy that works well for both children and adults. Chris Pratt and Will Ferrell lead an all-star cast, with Liam Neeson and Will Arnett particularly standing out. Everything about The LEGO Movie is awesome.