Director(s): Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett
Forget what you think you know about Lego. Those age guidelines on the boxes are exactly that, a “guideline”, as Will Ferrell points out towards the end of this film. I knew that with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller sharing the director’s chair once again, ‘The Lego Movie’ would find a perfect balance between fun kids movie, and clever entertainment for adults who are “forced” to accompany the children. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to see ‘The Lego Movie’, there was no persuading my daughter to join me, so I abandoned the plans. Well, the joke is on her, because 19 months later I got to enjoy this film all by myself.
Just in case you hadn’t guessed, this is a story about various Lego figures, although interestingly, the word “Lego” is not mentioned in the film once. Anyway, let’s explain this ridiculous yet brilliant plot to you. The evil Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) rules over all of the world, and wants everything to be perfect, which would be a whole lot easier if everyone just followed the instructions. To prevent any threat to his pristine world, Lord Business, with the help of Bad Cop (voiced by Liam Neeson), plans to spray the population with Kragle (aka Krazy Glue) to keep them in their place. It is up to Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), an ordinary construction worker who is believed to be the prophesised “special”, to break the rules and lead a team of master builders to stop the evil plans of Lord Business.
Lord and Miller really didn’t hold back when assembling this cast of talented voice actors, who are all on top form here. I’ve mentioned him a couple of times already, but Will Ferrell was brilliant as always, providing a devilishly entertaining side to the film’s antagonist. His sidekick, Bad Cop, was voiced perfectly by Liam Neeson, who was a real highlight for me. Morgan Freeman’s voice is arguably his most famous attribute and he put it to good use here as the wise Vitruvius, adding that touch of dry humour that we know he’s capable of. As the leading figurine, Chris Pratt was characteristically sharp, delivering an energetic and likeable character not unlike the man himself. Amongst the vast array of big name cameos, Jonah Hill lending his voice to a needy, simple-minded Green Lantern was a real highlight; it’s clear that he loves working with these directors.
Along with the Green Lantern, we are treated to multiple cultural references, including Batman and Superman, Dumbledore and Gandalf, and my personal favourite, Han Solo and Chewie. Every time a familiar character showed up, or an aspect of popular culture was alluded to, I couldn’t help but break a smile. But this name-dropping wasn’t just a cheap gimmick to pull the story along. Far from it in fact, as Lord and Miller clearly didn’t need any help in that respect. ‘The Lego Movie’ has an immensely clever and original narrative, which entertains and excites relentlessly. You are plunged pretty much straight into the story, and it’s non-stop from there on in.
This is an all round brilliant family film. The Lego aspect and silly comedy will certainly draw in a younger audience, but hints of the ‘Jump Street’ ironic and bizarre humour are evident beneath the surface. Lord and Miller nail just about everything – the characters, the story, it’s all just beautifully imaginative and intelligent. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, “everything is awesome”.