The Lego Movie: Not Just Another Brick in the Wall of CGI Films

The Lego Movie, I confess, kinda snuck up on me.

I’d been mildly interested in it for a while, as the film marks the first cinematic appearance of Wonder Woman, like ever. Seriously. Don’t think too much about how the inaugural appearance on the big screen of the most famous and arguably the most beloved female superhero is a cameo in a film about bricks.

Still a better Wonder Woman incarnation than Man of Steel 2.

Still a better Wonder Woman incarnation than Man of Steel 2.

 

The film didn’t sound particularly promising on paper, but I decided to give it go. It was Valentine’s Day after all, and nothing says ‘I love you’ like Lego.

The Lego Movie centres on main character Emmett, a fairly ordinary little dude, just another smiley face in the contented crowd of the City. However, a chance encounter with Wild Style, a Master Builder (those who can manipulate Lego without the instructions), leads Emmett to a bizarre looking piece of equipment which is all that stands between the evil Lord Business and World Domination. But is Emmett the Special, the one Brick to lead us all, or is he just as ordinary as he seems on the surface?

The Lego Movie has a lot of stuff going for it- it’s comprised of not just good, but great ideas, that slot together to create a series of interesting worlds and scenarios. On the surface, it has some of the most innovative CGI of recent years. By embracing the limitations of Lego, the animators have created challenges that were not only fun for them to solve, but are also fun for us, as an audience, to watch their solutions. The sea set piece is amazing, and a lot of the goofy creations the Master Builders create are marvellous to look at.

The Lego Movie: silly fun, but fun all the same.

The Lego Movie: silly fun, but fun all the same.

 

In terms of storytelling, the film has not just one, but two very intriguing worlds which are deeply twisted, but oh so watchable. There are a number of points (and one quite early on) where the storytelling dips and the film becomes a little boring, but it’s definitely one to stick with- there is a love triangle that is so engaging and fresh that it puts Twilight and The Hunger Games to shame. I don’t think we’re going to see Team Emmett t-shirts any time soon, but the romance aspect of the film adds a lot of comedy and is definitely one of its highlights.

Emotionally, the film also works- it’s hard to watch a film about toys without the ghost of Toy Story hanging over the proceedings, but The Lego Movie really adds something to the idea that adults, teenagers and children will be able to take something away from.

This is a zippy, zany film with annoyingly catchy music, a decent female lead (in fact, it seems to thrive off developing characters which are normally one dimensional, like the love interest and the villain), a big heart, and the stupidest (but most fun) sound effects ever committed to film. It’s like being stuck in a child’s head for an hour and forty minutes, but yes, unfortunately it does sometimes feel very much like you’re trapped.

The Lego Movie is often delightful, and the makers should be very proud of what they’ve achieved with it, but it does feel like watching someone else play the most awesome game of Lego ever, and it never quite manages to engage you entirely as an audience- there is something slightly passive about the whole experience. There’s only so much you can take before you want to get in on the action- and I guess Lego’s hoping that desire will lead you straight to their stores. Touché, Lego. Touché.

 

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