The Lego Movie: When plastic turns fantastic
No matter how old you are, seeing how Lego has been used in this film will make you want to get a box and start building your own world.
The message in The Lego Movie is simple: if you haven't built things using Lego, you haven't lived. For those whose childhood doesn't include a Lego set, the good news is that you're never too old to start with Lego. The Lego Movie is pure joy made out of colourful, interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of minifigures and other parts. (Yes, that's the formal description of Lego.) See? It's so much more than a toy.
Using Lego pieces and a brilliant combination of stop motion and computer generated imagery, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller tell us the story of Emmet (Chris Pratt), a lowly and lonely construction worker who lives in the pretty but regimented world of Bricksburg, ruled by President Business (Will Ferrell). In Bricksburg, everything is awesome because everyone lives life according to instruction manuals. President Business wants everything in Bricksburg to be perfect and unchanging, which is why the TV shows the same programmes and the radio plays the same song (it's called Everything is Awesome).
Emmet is reasonably happy with this unremarkable life until he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). The instruction manuals require Emmet to report Wyldstyle poking around a construction site to the police, but the sight of Wyldstyle with her pretty face and streaked hair leaves Emmet speechless. In no time, he's got President Business's right hand man, Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), chasing him while he follows Wyldstyle out of Bricksburg and into many fantastic worlds, all made of Lego. Stuck on Emmet's back is the Piece of Resistance, the one mysterious bit of plastic that can counter President Business's terrible weapon, the Kraggle.
Emmet learns that there are a group of people known as the Master Builders whom President Business hates because they change places by building and rebuilding things. President Business wants to fix everything in place by unleashing The Kraggle, a sticky gel. Among the Master Builders are Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) and Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal). The Morpheus-esque leader of these underground heroes is Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman).
But The Lego Movie isn't about the well-known heroes. They play cameos and supporting cast to Emmet, the Chosen One who must contain The Kraggle and defeat President Business. The Lego Movie is as cuckoo as you'd expect a movie about Lego to be, but it's also deliriously funny. It's wildly imaginative and filled with fantastic lines ("I think I heard a whoosh") and exchanges, like when Batman, while building a getaway vehicle, informs everyone that he uses only black pieces to build things. At a push, he'll allow dark grey.
The Lego Movie has bits and pieces from every fantasy and superhero blockbuster you can think of — The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, Batman — as well as its own original parts. Wyldstyle, Metalbeard and Unikitty (part unicorn and part kitty) are utterly delightful characters as is Emmet himself. While Neo of The Matrix was cool and brood-y while being clueless, initially Emmet simply comes across as an idiot. But of course, he redeems himself and in the process, shows us how Lego isn't an outdated toy from the 1950s, but one that can be used to build all sorts of insane, beautiful worlds, from choppy seas to fluffy clouds, doggy-faced buildings, spaceships, wagons pulled by pigs and a whole lot more.
It's no secret that The Lego Movie is selling you a product. The difference between The Lego Movie and, for example, the Krrish series is that within a few seconds of watching The Lego Movie, you'll be sold. Lego isn't a detail in Lord and Miller's film. It makes up everything from cast to sets to special effects. But for the actors who voice the characters, everything in The Lego Movie is plastic fantastic. No matter how old you are, seeing how Lego has been used in this film will make you want to get a box and start building your own world.
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