Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2009) return to computer animation in this vibrant and vivid adventure which sees ordinary average Joe, Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), become a true hero in the Lego universe. Mistaken for “The Special,” a master builder who finds the “Piece of Resistance,” Emmet teams up with Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Benny (Charlie Day) and Batman (Will Arnett) to take down evil businessman and president of the Octan Corporation, Lord Business (Will Ferrell).
With the help of bad cop/good cop (Liam Neeson), Lord Business intends to take over the Lego universe by fixing it down with superglue, and ultimately make it perfect. This idea of perfection is juxtaposed with the idea of the ordinary, and that a normal, everyday Lego minifigure can become special if he has faith and believes in himself.
The film really tries to get as many positive messages across to its target audience of children as it can. However, despite this, there is an abundance of humorous content specifically for parents. The intertextual references, such as the inclusion of the Millennium Falcon and some Star Wars characters, add something for adults as well. It seems that the directors have done what Pixar do best by making this film multi-layered. The use of adult humor is paired with a good storyline and well-developed characters.
In terms of pace, the Lego Movie starts off well. There are fast-paced action sequences juxtaposed with comedy sequences that work really well. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t retain this sense of pace. The film becomes quite slow in the middle and toward the end, and at times becomes quite tedious. Nevertheless, the film does take quite an unexpected turn, when computer animation is combined with live action. It seems that Will Ferrell’s Lord Business is a reflection of a young boy’s father, who doesn’t let his son play and use his imagination with Lego. This is because it messes up the image of by-the-book Lego constructions. The young boy, Finn (Jadon Sand), wants to stop his father from treating these building blocks like something fragile, so that Finn can build and be creative.
The film’s real strength is in its characters. The standout performer is Will Arnett as Batman; he provides a lot of the comic material of the movie. This is combined with a comic subplot which sees Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) try to get as close as he can to his favorite superhero, Superman (Channing Tatum). Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson also play important roles by providing some of the more memorable comic moments of the film.
Overall, the film succeeds in hitting both its primary and secondary audiences with the use of color, themes, references, and – perhaps most importantly – one of the world’s most famous toys: Lego. Phil Lord and Chris Miller produce a script that is both witty and poignant, and the mixture of live action and computer animation adds a feeling of originality to a film with an emotional narrative resolution.
Thomas Morgan is a film studies student at the University of Sussex. He particularly enjoys the films of Woody Allen, and hopes to become a film director and scriptwriter in the future.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Director Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Runtime 100 minutes