Lego Movie: A love letter to a toy company

the_lego_movie_2014-wideLET’S be honest. Most people assumed The LEGO Movie would be a lazy, juvenile, cynical cash-in. I was always hopeful for one major reason; they hired the joint writing & directing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. If you don’t know their names, they are the wunderkinder behind Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street. They have a strong sense of how to take existing and, in some cases, much loved properties and update them with visual flare, intelligent writing and the ability to ably handle large casts. With The LEGO Movie, they have another hit on their hands.

The movie is quite cleverly knowing. Chris Pratt voices Emmett, the most generic man in the LEGO universe. Honestly, how many blockbusters have you seen where this is the lead but without the awareness to understand it?  His love interest Wyldstyle as voiced by Elizabeth Banks is almost the definition of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius plays on the stereotype of the magical mentor to hilarious effect. The rest of the cast including Will Arnett as Batman and It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia’s Charlie Day as a hyperactive 80s Spaceman are very game and frequently very funny.

It’s not all great though. The film has a completely manic tone at times, with almost too much happening, and it does lead to its detriment. There’s also the point that, beyond Wyldstyle and Alison Brie’s Uni-Kitty, the film sadly lives up to LEGO’s reputation as a ‘boy’s toy’. This isn’t helped by Wyldstyle’s story, which begins well but increasingly becomes based on a love triangle involving Emmet and Batman. They could have made a female character who isn’t defined by her male relationships, but completely missed the mark. That said, what the arc does produce is surprisingly sweet and interesting.

I’m in the last year of a Film and Television Studies degree. Soon I’m going to have to start facing the worrying truth that I have to grow up. The LEGO Movie reminds me why I wanted to make films in the first place. This is a movie for any kid who grew, or is growing up, with the marks of bricks almost permanently burnt into their feet. It’s for those who bought models and within minutes of building it, got bored and rebuilt it as something new. It’s clear that Lord and Miller were (and still are) those kids and I’m unashamed to say so am I. It is a love letter to a toy company and it has all the humour, heart and invention that you could ever want.  Maybe it’s seeing it at this point in my life, but this hit me at just the right time in just the right place. I recommend everyone goes to see it, sits back and remembers how good it feels to be a kid with a box of bricks.

The Lego Movie is in the Commodore until the 27th February.

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