The Lego Movie (2014)

PHIL LORD, CHRISTOPHER MILLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

Australia/USA/Denmark, 2014.  Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Relativity Media, Original Film, Stephen J. Cannell Productions.  Story by , , Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Screenplay by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by , .  Academy Awards 2014.  Golden Globe Awards 2014National Board of Review Awards 2014.  New York Film Critics Awards 2014.  Washington Film Critics Awards 2014.  

A nameless face in the crowd dreams of being unique, and thanks to luck and happenstance ends up becoming the hero for a nation: it’s a tale as old as time, and one that animated films have been mining countlessly since A Bug’s Life (or maybe earlier if I actually give it more thought, which I won’t).  Here we have a spin on the familiar yarn that might capture the viewer’s imagination, as the setting is a world made of Lego toys and the characters involved are the figurines that scores of children have played with for decades.  Emmet () is a common construction worker who hopes one day to be popular but isn’t even well known to his colleagues.  He gets his chance at stardom when he is mistaken for a MasterBuilder, slated to fulfill a prophecy that will see him stop an evil corporate tyrant () from ruining the many different Lego worlds with his doomsday machine.  The wry humour is enriched by a clever commitment to the situation at hand: everything really is made of Lego and addended by common household items in this technically impressive adventure, and the Wizard Of Oz-ish outcome revealing that what we thought was universal power is actually a little man behind a curtain (not exactly, but I don’t want to give too much away) makes sure we never forget that we are watching a movie made of toys.  At the same time it’s something of a tiresome exercise in cuteness, a premise that establishes its gimmick quickly and never really builds (no pun intended) on it.  It’s not as mundane as Wreck It Ralph, one of the many films whose plot it easily echoes, and, despite an overextended live-action sequence that promises far more emotional payoff than it actually delivers, is bright and bouncy throughout.  That said, many of faster-paced action scenes will annoy anyone not struggling with ADD.

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