To be completely honest, if you asked me how I would approach making a movie based on LEGO – I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Although animated movies are far from dead, they aren’t necessarily the box-office force they were a decade and have also gotten some stagnant as a genre. The back and forth between Pixar and Dreamworks has being going on so long and is so ingrained in the world animated movies that it is sometimes hard to imagine how a movie as fresh and fun as The Lego Movie gets made.
In any case, the movie made its Australian debut last weekend and Sydney Social 101 was on hand to see the film and give you our verdict on it.
The plot of the movie follows Emmet Brickowski (Will Arnett), an ordinary citizen of Bricksburg who stumbles upon an ancient relic known as the Piece of Resistance and is promptly dragged into a world spanning conflict between the nefarious President Business (Will Ferrell) and the Wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) by another character named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). According to Vitruvius, Emmet is the chosen-one of an ancient prophecy known as ‘The Special One’ and that he will be the one to use the Piece of Resistance to disarm President Business ultimate weapon and save the world. What ensues is an over the top race against time with Emmet, Vitruvius and Wyldstyle galavanting their way across several different Lego worlds to both gather allies and escape the relentless pursuit of President Business’s right hand man, Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).
The movie actually goes to some pretty interesting (and occasionally metatextual) places with the plot being just as much about Emmet and his journey of self-discovery as it is about the ideological division between ‘following the instructions’ and ‘building whatever you want’. Although I think the film’s opening scene does drop a little bit much on viewers, subsequent scenes did a really good job of introducing Emmet. The film has some clever satire and social commentary in these opening sections that does a great job of showing and teaching the audience everything they need to know about Emmet and sets him up for some character development later down the line.
While the main cast of the movie is already pretty high profile, there’s a lot of fun cameos – not just in terms of the actors themselves but also the figures they play. Will Arnett does a great job throughout as Batman and Charlie Day absolutely owns the movie towards the end as 1980s Astronaut Benny. Between Alison Brie’s great performance as Unikitty and the back and forth between Jonah Hill’s Green Lantern and Channing Tatum’s Superman – there’s almost too many great guest stars in the movie to list them all.
The animation style of the movie definitely deserves a nod. Animalogic’s approach falls somewhere between the usual meticulous CGI of Pixar films and the stop motion of stuff like Wallace and Gromit – it literally looks like someone sat down with a Lego kit and acted out their most wild toy-box fantasies. Part of the appeal here is the sheer variety in the settings that the film’s story takes viewers – while the story begins in the urban metropolis of Bricksburg it quickly moves to other themed settings like The Old West and the medieval Middle Zealand.The music of the movie also deserves some props with the movies opening tune of ‘Everything is Awesome’ ending up being so catchy that I’d probably be kind of okay if I was oppressed by it (there’s also another brilliant musical moment involving Batman but some things are best left unspoiled).
The Lego Movie is one of the most fresh and fun animated movies in years. It’s an adventurous movie that kids will love and while it might not blow you away if you’re a little older – it’ll definitely have you laughing right along with it at the countless cameos and genuinely fun gags.
Words by: Fergus Halliday