MY WEEK (August 7, 2014): An endlessly inventive film about little bits of plastic

The Lego Movie
The Lego Movie

To be honest, the idea of a Lego movie didn’t appeal to me when I first heard about it earlier this year.

I was pretty cynical, dismissing it as a money-making exercise by an already well-known brand. In short, I didn’t think it was going to be worth watching.

Well, once again, I was wrong. The Lego Movie is one of the funniest and sharpest animated films I’ve ever seen.

It tells the story of a Lego construction worker called Emmet (Chris Pratt), who is given the task of saving the world. The evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell), wants to superglue everything together to keep the world perfect forever. So Emmet teams up with punk girl Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), incompetent wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and Batman (Will Arnett) to foil the villain’s wicked scheme.

The plot is unthreateningly simple, but it gives the writers the chance to be endlessly inventive. Scenes take place in a modern-day city, The Wild West, a medieval realm and a bizarre Lego utopia in the sky called Cloud Cuckoo Land.

It’s the kind of storytelling style a child would embrace, as pirates, robots, talking cats, submarines and even The Millennium Falcon are thrown together for one wild adventure.

The possibilities of Lego are wholeheartedly embraced too. Vehicles change form as the characters frantically switch pieces around, turning motorbikes into battle cruisers and trucks into submarines.

This is, without a doubt, the perfect movie for Lego, right down to the computer animation, which aims to replicate the effect created by stop-motion animation.

Some may be disappointed that the filmmakers didn’t actually use stop-motion but the action sequences demand to look spectacular and whizz by at a pace that would be a nightmare for a production team clicking little bits of plastic together.

Besides, computer animation has reached a point where everything looks photorealistic anyway.

It’s visually stunning but the best thing about this film is that it’s not just for kids. The humour is universal and the comic timing is close to flawless, with a particularly strong delivery by Morgan Freeman. Alison Brie almost steals the show as a magical feline called Unikitty, a character who tries to remain positive in even the most anger-inducing situations with hilarious results.

I’m sure this film will boost Lego sales, but it’s about so much more than that. The Lego Movie is about the desire to create and that impulse to use our imaginations, regardless of logic.

If you’ve ever played with Lego you’ll understand.