The Lego Movie (2014)

Directors: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

It’s… fast, isn’t it? Tears along at a speed that even the 21st century version of Doctor Who might consider indecent… Anyway, the challenge this month at the ICM forum is “animation”, so I decided to make this my first contribution to same in keeping with my plan to wipe some of the more recent titles in my backlog off it. It was a puzzling prospect when I first heard about it, much like The Social Network; if Facebook seemed an unlikely subject for a film, how much more bizarre did Lego sound? I know toy-driven cartoons are hardly new (I watched enough of them as a kid), but still… Anyway, much as The Social Network was unexpectedly hailed as a great work when it finally appeared, so was The Lego Movie; happily I reacted far better to the adventures of Emmet than I did Zuckerberg vs the Winklevii. Emmet is kind of the ultimate Everyman, or Everyfigure, a completely generic construction worker in the city of Bricksburg who inadvertently becomes mixed up in a battle to save the whole Lego universe from the machinations of benevolent (?) ruler President Business and his plan to unleash something called the “Kragle” upon it. As I said, this story is related at blinding speed—I remember being kind of shocked at one point to find only 12 minutes had passed and there were still about 85 minutes to go—which was a bit alarming at first (that was an awful lot more stuff that would be needed to fill 100 minutes) but is actually kind of referenced by the film itself and makes a certain sense, especially when it comes to the BIG TWIST (a sort of mix of Blazing Saddles and the end of St Elsewhere). Alas, the twist is kind of where the film falls down a bit and gives into the sort of sentiment it had hitherto managed to avoid or undercut. Actually, the overall message is a bit mixed, with the film’s libertarian leanings (that apparently gave that loon Glenn Beck a bit of a hard-on) and general attempt at being “subversive” being undermined somewhat by Emmet’s realisation that the Master Builders won’t get anywhere except by pulling together as a unit and following instructions, which is kind of, well. the opposite of what the film had been trying to say up to then. Still, it’s a fair deal of fun, and the consistent “Legofication” of everything results in some genuinely amazing visuals. Not surprised a sequel has been ordered, though I’m not sure I can envisage where they’ll take it…

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