The Lego Movie (2014) Review

So I won’t pretend that I loved “The Lego Movie” as much as seemingly everyone else did. I’m sat in the horrible position where the thoughts going through my head are along the lines of “How on earth did this receive any sort of acclaim?”. I’ve been here before, most notably after watching “Gladiator” around a year ago. I’m sure most have dealt with being told a film is amazing and seeing evidence everywhere around them that this is in fact true, but upon getting around to viewing the film, the feeling of just being completely underwhelmed is crushing. It did surprise me though, I was surprised to see the raving reviews, and I was surprised again to see that my initial assumption of how “The Lego Movie” would turn out, was correct. This is the longest advertisement you will ever watch, sure it will self mockingly point out that it is an advertisement, but that just makes it a clever one.

Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is a very very average worker in his city ruled by Lord Business (Will Ferrell). He follows instructions on how to do anything everyday, and he fits in so well that no one really notices him. When a prophecy with debatable amounts of truth claims that a certain Lego character will find the “Piece of the resistance” and use it to defeat Lord Business, this person will be very very special. Emmet finds it of course, and finds himself on a bizarre journey which takes him to many different Lego settings that have been effortlessly realised by the creators of the film. It’s an adventure that goes too far.

“The Lego Movie” is gorgeous. It’s incredible how well the world that has been created was realised, it actually blew me away the first time Emmet wandered out into the streets with that horrible song bellowing out of my TV, watching the city just be a city is incredible. The Lego figures themselves are meticulously detailed, with scratches and fingerprint marks which actually make the movie feel like a huge Lego project. You can practically see the hands putting the pieces in place and arranging the sets to make it just so. The film is CGI, so it wasn’t actually done with real Lego bricks, but it looks like it, so who cares? Aesthetically I can’t fault the movie, it uses everything at its disposal to maximum efficiency.

I did find the rest of the film rather tedious in all honesty. It adopts a joke-a-minute approach, it’s relentless with its humour. At first it’s quite amusing in the way it pokes fun at the real world and at Lego itself, but it’s a style that gets old after maybe half an hour. I don’t recall ever finding it all that funny past that, and that’s a shame because one of the most prominent features of “The Lego Movie” is its humour. Clearly, people disagree with me and find it hilarious, comedy is somewhat subjective in its very nature so each to their own I guess.

I don’t believe that just any film can have a pace this fast (in terms of its narrative and dialogue) without getting tiring. “Speed” is the most successful one I can think of, once that film got going it never ever stopped, and it was fantastic. Something to note is that “Speed” had to get going, “The Lego Movie” hits the ground running but when you’re about to run a 15K circuit holding a sprint from the start will just end up in a swift burnout.

A stellar cast of voice actors though, Liam Neeson as a cop with a head that swivels between good cop and bad cop. Chris Pratt sounds really great as Emmet and Will Ferrel is brilliant as Lord Business. The sound is great and the characters are absurdly varied, Will Arnett voices Batman, Jonah Hill as Green Lantern, Morgan Freeman as Vetruvius and the list goes on. I can complain as much as I like about the needlessness of all this star power but everyone sounds like they are investing everything into it and to hear Liam Neeson try his best to sound kind and cheerful as good cop in his Irish accent is just… just beautiful.

I can absolutely see why “The Lego Movie” held the attention of so many for its entire run time, with its relentless switching between settings and characters. That’s the kind of stuff that would be brilliant in a video game, but the medium of film requires a little more. No doubt this review will surprise and disappoint a fair few but look on the bright side…

Never thought you’d see the film compared to “Gladiator” and “Speed” did you?


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