Review: The Lego Movie

the-lego-movie

Lego is one of the most successful brands in the world, starting life in the shed of Danish carpenter, Ole Kirk Christiansen – who set up the company in 1949. The company has expanded ever since, spilling out into theme parks, lucrative movie tie-ins, computer games and now a full-length feature film.

The plot focusses on Emmet, a regular construction worker who builds things in a team and always follows the instructions until, one day, he stumbles upon a group of super-builders who are fighting against the tyranny of Lord Business, who controls the Lego world with instructions that the populace follow in complete obedience.

This is the thrust of the movie; don’t be constrained by the instructions, use your imagination and you can create what you want. Which is, kind of, the point of Lego. And, why wouldn’t a Lego movie be about anything else? Well, for a start, it could have been about anything. Literally. But instead, this is a very formulaic, paint-by-numbers, nuts-and-bolts film that is pretty devoid of any real soul.

Understandably, the calls of “but it’s a kids film” will be flung my way, but it could have been made a much more inspirational story and have a slightly more likable character at the centre of the action. Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, is fine and lovable when he’s playing by the rules, unaware of the control asserted on his world by Will Ferrell’s Lord Business. Emmet is upbeat and fun-loving, but when he is recruited, wrongly, but the master builders, led by Vitrvius (Morgan Freeman)among assorted heroes such as Batman (Will Arnett) and love interest, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Emmet turns overly reluctant and a little whiny. This is overcome by the end of the film, but doesn’t detract from his character’s personality in general.

The Lego computer games are peppered with sly bits of humour and there are moments in this film that elicits laughter, but not enough to raise it into the big leagues of Pixar or even DreamWorks.  The funniest moment for me involved the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, involving cameos from Anthony Daniels as C3PO and Billy Dee Williams as Lando, but not Harrison Ford as Han Solo.

I think, in the end, this film is missing something that the games have nailed. It’s difficult to say what it is, but perhaps it’s because the games are based on an existing script and story line? Whatever the reason, The Lego Movies is fun which you watch it, but not engaging or funny enough.

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