The Lego MovieU ¦ Blu-ray, DVD
When it was initially touted that there was going to be a film based on Lego it felt like the film industry was no longer clutching at straws for fresh new ideas, but had now started clutching at plastic coloured blocks.
The notion became a more curious project with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller attached to direct. This duo worked on 2009's excellent Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which meant that there was a slight chance that it wouldn't be a complete and utter dog's dinner.
Not only is it not a mess, it's a film that's clearly been built with an incredible amount of love for all things Lego.
Although working in construction isn't normally considered fun, in the world of Lego it is. Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) isn't just your average construction worker, he's your average guy. He follows all his work instructions to the letter: that way he's sure of no surprises.
One day on site, he sees a shady character clearly digging around where they shouldn't be. He tries to get her attention but ends up falling into a hole, where he finds the Piece of Resistance. After experiencing some peculiar visions, he finds himself in the custody of Bad Cop (Liam Neeson); as the name suggests, he's not particularly nice, and he's asking questions that Emmet can't answer. Luckily for him, the shady character from earlier, who goes by the name of Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), helps him break out and the pair escape the clutches of the law.
She informs him that a prophecy spoke of him and how, as the 'Special', he is supposed to stop the evil that's on its way from the dark mind of Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who runs all of Bricksburg. Although Emmet struggles with the concept of himself as the hero it seems he has very little choice in the matter, as Wyldstyle leads him on an amazing adventure in the hope that he, as the prophecy suggests, can save the day for all of Lego kind.
For something that could have easily been an hour and forty minute advert for Lego products – which it still is, effectively – it's a lot more than that, mainly an immense amount of fun.
It has also been cleverly put together. Despite being created using super-powered computers, the film has been given the look of actual Lego characters given the stop motion animation treatment. The result has a state of the art retro quality.
It's also funnier than it has any right to be. The script is sharp and the visual gags come thick and fast. It has spot on voice talent on board too, with Chris Pratt (probably best known as Andy Dwyer in the US comedy Parks & Recreation) injecting a sweet and endearing personality into the leading lump of plastic Emmet; Will Arnett gives a playful performance as the voice of Batman, while Morgan Freeman delivers a masterful-like-no-one-else-knows-how turn as Vitruvius.
Where it ties itself in a few knots – if a film made out of building blocks can do such a thing – is in the film's plot; it gets unnecessarily convoluted in places, particularly when you consider its main young audience, but manages to distract with enough colour and noise for you not to really care whether it makes sense or not.
With a genuine fondness for its source material, The Lego Movie is not only a creative homage to the world's most famous toy brick, it builds on the company's own mission statement of inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow, which is pretty impressive for what is essentially a kid's film.
But even if you don't feel like building anything afterwards, the film is guaranteed to deliver more than its fair share of fun for all the family. The only concern is that with plans for a sequel on the table and with Lord and Miller not down to direct it, fingers crossed they don't get any dodgy builders in to do it and botch it the whole thing up.