The LEGO Movie review

Review Simon Brew 7 Feb 2014 - 11:10

If 2014 has a better comedy than The LEGO Movie, then we're in for a treat of a year...

Let's do some superlatives first. At a time when Hollywood live action comedies are, on the whole, struggling to muster much of a titter, The LEGO Movie shows them how it's done. With its foot firmly on the accelerator from the very start, it's a fast, frenetic, quite bonkers piece of cinema, generating more guffaws - not just laughs - than any film we can remember in recent times. Packed to the gills with nerdy references, and with a plethora of surprises you don't want the internet to spoil for you, it's a concentrated blast of high energy entertainment. It also proves that when big brand names come together on one project, gold is a very tangible outcome.

The story's framed through the eyes of a seemingly homogenous, not very special and generally ordinary man by the name of Emmet. Voiced by Chris Pratt, Emmet is a construction worker who plans life literally by the rule book. As the film constantly reminds us, there's nothing special about Emmet, and there's no reason at all that he should be a threat to the sinister President Business.

President Business is, in part, the latest iteration of Hollywood's current villain of choice: the besuited boardroom dweller, presiding over a corporate entity with a public smile on his face, yet a malevolent agenda behind closed doors. The world he oversees has people happily where they're supposed to be, in their different lands (and there are treats in store for those who know their LEGO sets, right down to the individual code numbers), watching the same TV programme over and over again, and dancing to the same song.

We'd best address the song actually: Everything Is Awesome will live in your head, ears and lives for long after the film is finished. Doubly so if you have children.

The catalyst for change comes in the shape of the prophecy, with Morgan Freeman voicing a character who's spent equal title reading the Bible and watching the Matrix trilogy. So we learn about Master Builders, the broader world, and get a boatload of cracking gags as we do so.

But then, incredibly, The LEGO Movie finds yet another gear, as we delve into a world where Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and more (we're deliberately holding back, as some of the character introductions are pretty much guaranteed to bring the house down) work side by side. Batman gets the most focus, and Will Arnett is clearly having a ball voicing him. Yet there are so many joyful surprises as the film progresses, not least a daring and quite brilliant ending, that it's hard to believe a LEGO movie - with so many corporate entities involved - could work so well, and be so thoroughly mad.

Step forward then the real heroes of the piece: Christopher Miller and Phil Lord. If there are better directors of accessible, funny mainstream comedies currently working in Hollywood, then we've no idea who they are. Building on their work with Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, they've written and directed The LEGO Movie, and it's some achievement. They employ the same effective, borderline brutal editing style they demonstrated in 21 Jump Street at times, but also find comedy in lots of different ways.

Furthermore, some of the visuals are such exquisite. One moment where you see the ocean in particular shows the imagination on offer here, and they've managed to marry up what makes LEGO so popular with the visuals required for a film extremely well.

Faults? Well, perhaps the pace falters occasionally, and because large parts of the film are so funny, you're more conscious of the bits that aren't. If you've got your pickiest pants on too, the core plot's not that radical. But then if you take said pants off, the ending explains pretty much everything. Moral of the story: leave picky clothes at the door.

And be warned: we're ending the review with more superlatives. The LEGO Movie is a treat. It's the nerdiest comedy we've seen in years, the funniest comedy we've seen in years, and one of the most brilliantly bizarre explosions of lots of disparate ingredients we've seen in... well, years. If cinema at its core is supposed to be an entertainment media, then the rest of 2014 is going to have to go some to come up with more fun than this. A real triumph.

Oh, and one last nerdy tip: stay around for the last song that plays over the end credits. It's worth it...

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4

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Thank you, once again, for having the chance to be at a preview. OH MY WORD this was gooooooooood. Want to go see it again already, filled my journey home (with my daughter) with constant chatter and lots of "who was your favourite? what was the best bit?" and, inevitably, the repeated singing of the single ear worm line.
Look forward to going again...owning on dvd...never tiring of the song...still chuckling at bits this morning.

I devotedly sat until the end hoping for a post-credits tag. There isn't, sadly, but the song just before the end had me in as many stitches as the film did. The whole movie was insane and brilliant. I was lucky enough to see it via Den of Geek, but I'm going back and paying when it hits general release!

4 stars then? So it's as good as robocop? You've sold me.

As an employee of LEGO and a big reader of Den of Geek, this review makes me immensely proud... And humble to be part of such a great company.

Yeah, seriously, with a review like that what do you need to do to get 5 stars?

You've persuaded me to see this, when it wasn't remotely on my radar before at all. My only question is - in a review this full of superlatives and praise, why not 5*?

Back of the net! As good a poor remake? Really?

The Lego Movie and Robocop are two totally different films, so a star rating can't be used to compare them. That being said I want to see both.

Wow i better go watch this then,

Sounds like a 5. I'll go by that

I was lucky enough to see this at the screening last night.

If we're going on how many people did not stop laughing from start to end, this has to be a 5 out of 5 film.

I literally could not find one fault in it. It has a great morale idea at the heart of it for the kids and it has a really good over all message which I think family films should have.

But the jokes and pop culture references throughout, well that's for us adults to enjoy.

Best film of the year thus far.

4 stars... but the review is quite clearly describing a 5 star opinion. odd

Best comedy in years? So have they not given any comedy 5 stars in years?
Would be interesting to see what's better in their opinion.

Currently at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes with only one Rotten review out of almost 90 (and that one was probably 'Cinema Curmudgeon Monthly' or some such). So, yeah, I'm sold.

Five stars aren't really enough for an accurate rating. Either don't have a star rating or increase to 10.
I too was at the screening and can vouch, it's awesome (pun intended). So much fun throughout and genuine belly laughs.

Absolutely loved this film. Thanks again to Den of Geek for making it possible! Still can't get that song out of my head and also can't wait to see it again once it's released. I think the only thing the film lacks, and this will probably upset Richie C, is Andrew Scott.

SPACESHIP!

SPACESHIP!

SPACESHIP!

Sorry, that should have read thanks den of geek for making the preview screening possible.

That doesn't make any sense. From my point of view the star rating system is scoring how watchable the film is, so by that definition the Lego movie is equal to Robocop in terms of being watchable. Using your "scoring" system, they might as well given Robocop 4 artichokes and given Lego 4 cauliflowers - they're different films, so they might as well have different scoring systems. If Robocop is as good as Lego then they deserve to be equally rated, but if not, then they need to have different scores. Either Lego needs 5* or Robocop needs 3*. Or DoG need to change the scoring system to allow for a larger differentiation - perhaps go with 10 stars. In this new scoring system, Robcop would have got 7 or 8 stars and Lego would get 8 or 9. Or go with the artichoke scoring system.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller are top guys, looking forward to 22 Jump Street a whole lot. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 wasn't the same without them

That would be true if the reviews only consisted of a rating out of five, but they don't.

How can you possibly have written this review and then given it only four stars?

I agree a rating out of 10 works better, but when you compare a film out of stars, in my opinion it has to be on teh base of a film too. The Lego Movie is a different tone of film than Robocop. I think I read that they gave Dredd a 3 stars, which for me it can be compared against (apart from age certificate) they are similar genres. I think a parsnip rating would work better on Robocop....

What? You work in a factory and want recognition for being a part of the movie? Get stuffed!

yup. sold.

Seemed to have missed the part where I wanted recognition? For reference, everyone involved with LEGO, whether it be the kids/adults/AFOLs should feel part of this movie

I think we should have a parsnip rating full stop. Forget the Artichoke rating - I don't know what I was thinking.

Of course you want recognition. That's why you mentioned it where you work. The article makes you proud. That's the words you used. As if you were responsible for the film. As if the producers etc did nothing without your input or approval. At the very least, you're seeking recognition for being employed by Lego when they've just released a film for kids. You, Mr. Boldsworth can get stuffed with your attempts to bask in Lego's glory as if you're some kind of Lego apostle

Indeed "Funniest comedy we have seen in years" - 4 stars. Where is the 5 star level set at exactly?

5 is enough. Hell 3 is enough. 3 see it. 2 see it if you like that sort of film or have nothing better to do. 1 do not see it. And as for the scoring system it's always in the context of the type of film but it's 2 hours in front of a screen and a rating of how happy you are if you like that sort of film.

Wow, way to overreact. So nobody can be proud of having been a small part of something larger? Boldsworth never said he had any impact on the movie, just that he was proud to have been part of a great company. Chill yourself out, and stop being such a jerk. Your attitude is obnoxious and unnecessary.

He is NOT a small part of it. He has nothing to do with it regardless of his employment. "Immensely proud" are the words of somebody who is seeking admiration from pathetic fanboys with way too much interest in a children's film. His mentioning it is akin to somebody saying to you "I work in Argos so you can thank me for your new television."

And, let's remember, Lego didn't make the film. they licensed a company to make the film.

It's not really the same as working in Argos and taking credit for somebody's TV, is it? Gareth works at LEGO, he's clearly happy in his work and working for the company he works for, that the company he works for should release a movie that's evidently loved by a website he enjoys makes him happy- his life at work meets his life out work and it's a happy union... lucky Gareth. Why attack that with so much vitriol? Raise an eyebrow, perhaps, but why so angry? Were you sacked from LEGO?

I trod on some Lego once. Gareth works for Lego. Maybe it's his fault.

Cute (and sorry about your foot... I'm pretty certain I didn't have anything to do with that but sorry all the same)

"I"? I said that maybe Garteh was to blame, not you. Or are you Gareth? Have you created another account in order to defend yourself? That would be a peach.

Yeh, I created the account a month or so ago knowing we (you and Gareth, I mean me) would be having this conversation now.

Dude. Have a beer. Relax.

A lovely comment. Inevitably, we're all very jealous that you work at LEGO too!

That's a really mean-spirited comment. You are entitled to your opinion, although I can't for the life of me see what was in Gareth's original comment to invoke such a response. But as I said, it's your view.

It's not your site, though. If you come into our comments and tell someone to "get stuffed" again, then I'll remove your account. - Simon

It's like a reverse IGN. 'Worst film I've seen in years - 9.5/10 IGN'

Went to see it this weekend. Cracking film, some very very funny scenes and I'm sure some little in jokes that I missed the first time round. My 5 year old daughter loved it almost as much as I did, and was singing 'everything is saucepans' on the way home. Although I also loved Batman's song.

The retrospaceman had me pining for my lego set from the late 80's. If Lego don't re-release these they'll have missed out on a marketing coup.

Thanks to everyone who commented on this, good and bad. You are partly right Dark Doctor, I love telling people I work for LEGO. Not for admiration, but for the reaction you get. It always brings a smile to peoples faces, followed by how much LEGO means to them and their family - whether it be childhood memories or how their children love the bricks. That is what make LEGO so special. So, if this offends then I apologise. I would have also commented if the review was bad because I would have been gutted. As for standing on LEGO, I often get letters from children (and adults) complaining how much it hurts so you're not the first to blame me for this.

The trouble with LEGO movies is that they are constantly in need of a remake

Well you work for Lego. That's how it works isn't it? something lego-related happens, you take the credit?

This is hilarious, Dark Doctor you are so angry over nothing, do you have a really dull job? Cos it seems your angry at Gareth simply because he loves his job and seeing this film be praised so much makes him happy. I'm in the Royal Navy and proud of it, it that doesn't mean I demand respect or applause for when sailors get posted helping those in floods or even those who died during the many wars of our past. It simply means you feel a sense of pride to be a cog in the overall machine. So less hate dude, it serves no one and makes you sound crazy immature. :) also Gareth I'm super jealous you work for Lego! I actually got my old lego down from the loft after watching this film! :D

Especially if they get taken apart by critics

Just watched it. THOROUGHLY enjoyed it, me my wife and kids. Hilarious

Saw it a handful of hours ago...hilarious and heart-warming, everything I was hoping a Lego movie would be! Containing a few clever twists and some genius cameos this film - which is quite obviously written by two clever guys (it's not hard to see!) - is one'll just keep recommending to people! I'm twenty years old but this film is not just for kids...to end humorously if you grew up with Lego this is a film you'll click with! p.s 11/10

*SPOILER* Also, gotta say I loved the Duplo cameo at the end, Duplo better feature in the now guaranteed sequel! p.s as an after thought this could turn into a children's toy Avengers, include Duplo and Technic, put in a friendly shout out to the wooden railway system Brio and have a tongue-in-cheek-nod to Mega Bloks and you've got one hell of a film!

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