Certainly one of the more obvious cases of product placement in cinema, along with Transformers, The Lego Movie nonetheless manages to click in all the right places.
The plot is relatively simple and sees Emmet (Chris Pratt) stumbling upon the Piece Of Resistance, the only thing able to put an end to President Business (Will Ferrell) and his plan to glue all of Lego world together. Joined by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet must find a way to become a master builder and put an end to the terror.
From Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the crazy minds behind Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and the 21 Jump Street reboot, Lego is a fun frolic into toy land. There will be parallels drawn with Toy Story and reasonably so. For, while it doesn’t live up to Pixar’s finest, it is always a visually brilliant and exciting little jaunt into childhood imagination.
So staggering are the animation techniques here that Lord and Miller have created, something close akin to photo-realism, to such a degree it’s hard to wonder how this isn’t stop-go-animation using actual Lego figures, the kind YouTube is littered with but with more polish and finesse.
For the most part, like the toy itself, The Lego Movie is squarely aimed at a kid audience, often forgoing Pixar’s, and most modern animations’, ability to appeal equally to adult audience members. That said there are some fun jokes throughout, the endless poking fun at other franchises (Batman and Star Wars in particular) are welcome, but more than anything it is the sheer inventive energy that Lego is so steeped in that makes the film endlessly engaging. In fact there’s so much on offer that the home format is arguably the preferable place to digest it all as you pause, rewind and revel in the sheer madness that Lord and Miller have infused into every nook and cranny Lego has to offer.
A good thing too as the biggest message of The Lego Movie is that you shouldn’t just follow the instructions but let your imagination run riot. Certainly Miller and Lord stick to this concept throughout and a third act climax, that sees the Lego characters enter our world, brings a sense of huge satisfaction for anyone who has ever dreamed of playing with those huge Lego models in toy shops.
Almost certainly a franchise builder, The Lego Movie is an inventive and fun-for-all-the-family film that has the potential to build and build. But whatever you do don’t step on it with bare feet.