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It looks like a cross between a standard kid’s movie and the longest ad for Lego in history, but The Lego Movie is an absolute treat for all ages – not just for children. In recent years films based upon toys have become more and more common, with the dismal Transformers movies or the truly dismal Battleship – but this film is nothing like that. If you’ve ever picked up a piece of Lego, built a higgledy piggledy structure from mismatched blocks, or even just stepped on a piece with bare feet (the agony!) then this film is for you. Even if Lego was never your thing, this film still has lots to offer you: it’s consistently witty and fun, and there’s enough pop culture references to keep anyone interested.
The Lego Movie tells the story of Emmet, voiced by the adorable Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation. Emmet is the most nondescript everyman in the history of everymen: he follows the instructions to the letter, from drinking hilariously overpriced coffee to loving everyone’s favourite song, ‘Everything is Awesome’. A warning though: this is literally the catchiest song you will ever hear, and you will be humming it for a week after seeing the film. Emmet’s life changes when he finds the mysterious ‘Piece of Resistance’, and discovers that he is the chosen one destined to defeat the evil Lord Business from making the universe constantly ordered, efficient and dull! With the help of characters like tough-girl Wyldstyle, the hilarious Good Cop/Bad Cop and Morgan Freeman’s slightly daffy wizard Vitruvius, the film keeps up a frenetic pace that never drops, and it’s all the better for it. From the second Batman appears in the Batplane, blasting a song about how being dark and brooding is awesome, demanding everything be bat-themed, you know you’re in for a fun ride.
The film trips through the Wild West, the hilariously-named fantasy realm Middle Zealand and the wacky Cloudcuckooland, where we meet characters like Princess Unikitty – as cute and slightly demented as she sounds – and cameos from everyone from Wonder Woman and Abraham Lincoln, with celebrity voices like Channing Tatum and Liam Neeson in wacky environments made wholly from Lego bricks. The animation is stunning: a seamless blend of CGI that looks like stop-motion, with Lego figurines that look like the real thing even as they’re hurtling across fantastical landscapes. Despite the film’s main characters being plastic, there’s real emotion in their yellow faces, and at the movie’s core it’s got just as much heart as any Pixar movie, with a heartfelt message about imagination and the importance of having fun together.
You can imagine that the Lego Movie could have been a very different thing: a soulless endorsement of a toy line, an empty money-spinner. And while you know it’s going to help to sell a lot of Lego tie-in sets, it never lets that overtake the sheer joy of the film: it’s a fun, hilarious, heartwarming movie, with one of the best twists I can remember seeing in a film for a long time. It might sound like I’m over-praising this film, but it’s honestly fantastic from start to end – not just for kids.