Brand movies are notoriously not good.
Generally reliant on a calculated blend of nostalgia and big-budget cheesiness, they are essentially vampires of good will, and however much money they do make, it’s never quite enough.
Who, for instance, authorized a $200 million adaptation of Battleship, a children’s guessing game? According to this, The Lego Movie is all the more special, appropriate given its a film invested in the idea of specialness.
Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is just an ordinary Lego figure. He lives in Lego City, enjoys music – well, one song, “Everything Is Awesome” – and working on a building site, among other things. He’s so ordinary, in fact, that none of his coworkers can even remember him.
Then he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a punky resistance member and Master Builder battling against the evil schemes of Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Yadda yadda yadda prophecy yadda yadda yadda the “Kragles” yadda yadda yadda the end of the world. In short: Lego.
If you ever so much as picked up one of the multicolored stick-together bricks as a child, The Lego Movie will hold some appeal. The amount of love and commitment that has gone into every scene, every Lego-saturated frame, is truly impressive. The Lego World has a consistent – if not entirely coherent – set of rules, but they never get in the way of the imagination.
The visual jokes come fast and thick, general silliness is rampant – there’s Will Arnett as Batman and Abraham Lincoln on a rocket chair – and a great voice cast featuring the likes of Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman.
If The Lego Movie‘s overall message could have come off a cat poster, there’s still a twist to proceedings that turns the whole film on its head, breaking down the barrier between what’s “real” and imaginary. It’s a risky move, but one that pays off, imbuing the whole thing with real heart.
Name one other blockbuster in which you can find an anti-corporate agenda and a punchline homage to The Empire Strikes Back. It’s even child friendly.
If you’re looking for a big, silly, unpredictable film that will teach your kids to think for themselves then, against all expectations, The Lego Movie might be just that. Equally, if you’re a twenty-something bloke whose not in the mood for the blood-and-guts of the new 300 film and doesn’t really fancy the grandiose affectation of The Grand Budapest Hotel, you might want to check out Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s mini-masterpiece, too.
Having so far grossed $380 million off the back of a $60 million budget, a sequel has already been green-lit. Cynicism aside, if anyone can pull off making a worthwhile sequel to an unexpected, out-of-the-bag success, it’s the team behind The Lego Movie. If Lord and Miller’s film has taught us nothing else, it’s In Lego We Trust.