Despite twenty years of technical progress and the influx of competitors it spawned, Toy Story remains, to most film lovers, the finest and most visually innovative children’s film of all time. So, for directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to borrow freely from such an ageless and beloved classic, yet ensure The Lego Movie remains universally appealing is a testament to the way this existing material is handled. It may not be wholly original, but nor is it derivative and this rip-roaring homage is imbued with enough freshness of its own to offer an experience like no other. This is Toy Story for a new generation; a cinematic event expertly crafted to attract and inspire film lovers new and old.When Emmet, a lowly construction worker, accidentally discovers a Piece of Resistance and confirms his identity as the Special he is united alongside Wyldstyle, the blind wizard Vitruvius, Batman and a legion of master builders in a battle to rise up against the tyrannical Lord Business and his superweapon the Kragle.
On the surface it’s a simple adventure narrative, which follows a typical everyman rising up in the face of great adversity to become the hero, but this humble plot, however clichéd, is as intricately constructed as anything else and a perfect platform to build on. Its moments of drama are executed with as much skill as its non-stop action and the result is charming, touching and an impossible amount of fun.
Having proved themselves in both adult comedy, 21 Jump Street, and family animation, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, the directorial duo strike an effective balance between these two extremes to deliver a universal comedy that unites the entire audience. Fuelled by their comedic creativity, the hilarious improvisations of a top form ensemble voice cast and the terrific blend of slapstick and parody familiar to fans of Traveller’s Tales’ video games, their Lego Movie is among the funniest in recent memory.
Brick by brick, Australian animation studio Animal Logic have created a vibrant, fully immersive world full of visual flair. Their exceptional computer generated stop motion accurately and effectively captures the experience of constructing Lego pieces and by recreating that creative space they establish a direct connection with the audience whether by anchoring to younger viewers who still play or by invoking a sense of nostalgia in older audiences.
But, older crowds won’t only be amazed by the skilful animation on display. For all of the rapid, brightly-coloured action, laugh a minute jokes and goofiness, this giddy kids’ film has a provocative edge. Beyond its childishness lies crafty social commentaries, pop culture references, Orwellian contemplations and a cheeky, self referential satire of the Danish toy brand.
The Lego Movie may not tread new narrative ground, but likes its iconic ancestor it possesses the originality, stylish visuals and hilarious comedy to feel fresh and new throughout. Best of all, its adult themes ensure this children’s film isn’t just for kids, but the child in all of us.