Let’s cut to the chase and just say that I really, really enjoyed this film. But what is important is that, unlike the way every arsehole seems to consume things these days, within such praise there is absolutely no irony.
Laughing in the face of precocious slogan T-shirts, excessive hashtags and men with little buns on top of their heads, The Lego Movie does not subscribe to the so-bad-its-good school of thought. It instead falls confidently into the category of a well-made family movie that’s far cleverer than it lets on – much like Wreck-it-Ralph, which whilst being made principally for children actually includes more nuances and observations about adult life than many of its more mature, thoughtful and cinematically revered equivalents.
The film follows ordinary Lego-dude Emmett (Chris Pratt), who lives by the book and plays by the rules in a world where subliminal messaging and shite sit-coms are the norm and a coffee costs ten times the price it should – which all sounds hauntingly familiar, I know. Emmett finds himself involuntarily grafted into a force of Master Builders trying to stop the evil President Business (Will Ferrell), who is waging a war against nonconformism and creative freedom. In short, there’s a good guy trying to overcome a bad guy – there’s nothing too innovative about the narrative in its general buildup. The charm, however, lies within the clever details – of which there are many.
Characters are voiced by a stellar cast of twinkling names including Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Chris Pratt and Charlie Day, which in itself should help prove that this is no half-arsed affair. The attention to detail is also one that conjures up an alarming level of nostalgia, such as the recogniseable sound of the plastic building blocks clattering and clinking against each other and the helmet of the loveable Spaceman Benny, which suffers from a crack at its flimsiest part – as many toys unfortunately do. However, the film’s biggest strength is the way in which it acts as a gentle yet humorous nod towards the nature of popular culture, and just how seriously fucked up it can be.
I remember raising my often-elevated and readily judgmental eyebrow at the trailer; I remember having those doubts. But instead of liking something to be cute or quirky or mind-fuckingly ironic, I just enjoyed it and managed to find humour in its purest, unadulterated form. Anyone remember how that feels?