“Everything is awesome!” Oh Lego Movie. You speak so fast but you speak so true. And never have truer words been spoken than in the case of the gloriously entertaining effort from Australia’s Animal Logic animation studios about an anonymous yellow faced construction worker destined to save his brick based world from the diabolical glue wielding Lord Business.
Having rather cynically assumed all the praise this “blockbusting” (Re-cycled joke – ya geddit?) cinematic beast had garnered recently was purely down to a mass movement of middle aged film critics having the mother of all rose tinted group nostalgia complexes over a toy they were too old to play with, I entered the cinema with expectations reserved and childhood memories guarded. Then the first 30 seconds of the movie happened and my concerns were dismantled faster than a Lego sandcastle in a room full of angry toddlers. From the frantic, audio-treacle electro-pop soundtrack to the non-stop, wildly inventive action The Lego Movie makes you feel like you’ve just snorted powdered creativity off the back a unicorn before mainlining molten joy straight into your fun balls. So yeah, it’s a pretty good time.
In addition to the brilliant, pulse pounding score and retina ruining action set pieces the cast, made up of a mind-boggling, rib-cracking veritable whose-who of comedy actors, is uniformly hilarious. Christ Pratt is supremely lovable, when is he ever not?, as Emmet Brickowski the films centre piece mistaken for the Lego World’s chosen savior while his opposite lady Elizabeth Banks draws the perfect line between strong, mysterious female character and strangely attractive Lego love interest. Morgan Freeman reprises his role as the omnipotent God protagonist, a part reserved in every film for him and him alone, while Will Arnett, Alison Bree and of course the great Will Ferrel, to name but a few, all turn in priceless supporting efforts.
It’s all in the details for The Lego Movie however; from the surface scratches and faded thumb marks on each of the characters to the diverse array of worlds and toy lines that make up their ludicrously vibrant, angular universe it is clear that a colossal amount of love, care and childhood feels have gone in to making this film work, with enthusiasm and affection for the craft of movie making and block building flowing from every plastic pore.
It even avoids the pitfalls of many children’s films; lining the fluorescent, rainbow colored visuals with a subtle, canny wit preventing the story from ever entering into diabetes enducingly sweet territory. Like the best family movies it is made for kids but written for adults. The simultaneously subversive and celebratory comedy is another of Lego Movie’s great strengths as the narrative pays homage to and gently mocks the films that it takes inspiration from, making fun of the classic troupes of the “Chosen One” movie sub-genre while skimming over the ludicrous, jargon heavy backstory in the most succinct and chuckle inducing of ways.
While ridiculously enjoyable throughout by the time the delightfully creative Lego credits started rolling I felt profoundly drained. It gives the term “non-stop” a whole new meaning and even thinking back to it the sensation that I just finished a 4 hour, casting sugar fueled DDR marathon with a team of coked-up morris dancers begins to wash over me. But in the end just reading that last sentence was probably more exhausting than any cinematic experience in recent years and The Lego Movie is a quality time regardless of sensory overload.
For a film about cold hard plastic, painful to the touch and confusing to the brain it has a poignant, if slightly cliched, message about family and the power of imagination at its core and is guaranteed to entertain all ages.