Movies In Focus doesn’t really do animation. That’s something of an unwritten rule around these parts – but there was something about The Lego Movie that made me curious (even though I was vocal about hating the movie’s concept). Maybe it was the great reviews, impressive box office or the fact that the idea seemed so crazy that I was just curious to see if the filmmakers could pull it off. Anyway, I watched it and I enjoyed it – it hit the mark. It’s great entertainment for kids, while adults will also enjoy the multilayered world that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have created.
The plot involves an average Lego construction worker, believed to be ‘The Special’ who is charged with finding the ‘piece of resistance’ that will stop the evil Lord Business from unleashing ‘The Kragle’. The film deconstructs Joseph Campbell’s hero myth, taking the ages old narrative and giving it a modern day subversive spin. Along for the ride is an impressive roster of voice talent including Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman. They all appear to be having fun, riffing on archetypes while being vital building blocks in this impressive animated feature.
Technically, The Lego Movie is a marvel, the CGI world that has been created is magnificent (it really looks and feels like it was made from lego bricks). It takes the audience deep into the world, a world that we all inhabited as children. That’s one of the reasons why the film works, because it tackles the concept of a movie based on lego head-on. There’s no condescension, just fun. Lord and Miller literally have a huge toy box to play with and it’s great to see the likes of Batman and Superman rubbing shoulders with Han Solo and Gandalf. This takes business synergy to a whole new level, delving into a child’s mind, one where copyright and legal issues can’t get in the way of a good story.
Is The Lego Movie crass commercialism aimed at selling a hugely successful toy range? You bet it is – but it never feels like a soulless cash-grab. To give Lord and Miller their due, nothing about The Lego Movie fails. They accomplish everything they set out to, creating a film that will transcend even the most hardened cynic. This has a finely honed story with strong narrative beats, which are coupled with a clever script. That makes it better than about 90% of most movies and that’s what makes The Lego Movie work.
The Lego Movie comes with a whole bunch of kid-centric extras. They cover the movie, but it would be good to have had something that feels a touch less superficial. However, it’s a kid’s movie after all, so you can’t complain too much. The commentary is much better, but it feels a touch crowded.