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The Lego Movie
Genre Animation
 
Review:

It seems strange that LEGO the beloved building block toy brand, has only just got a movie adaptation in The LEGO Movie. Well, it was worth the wait... because The LEGO Movie is nothing short of AWESOME! While still regarded as a toy for kids, it's a rite of passage for many people who used to be kids. Now that we've grown up and know everything we need to know, it seems that we don't need to be as creative, imaginative or playful. Society has managed to turn the child inside into a logic-driven factory worker, who conforms to what popular culture deems acceptable and what the people deem necessary.

This is the same restrictive world, our hero, finds himself in. He's an indistinct and simple construction worker, enthusiastically following the rules to the tune of "everything's awesome"! Well, under President Business a megalomaniac and control freak hell bent on manufactured "perfection", this society seems normal to the brainwashed masses. That is, until Emmett inadvertently becomes The Special and learns of the prophecy of the MasterBuilder.

LEGO has created an empire of characters and themes from popular film franchises such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and a range of DC superheroes. To house all these broad themes in one film was always going to be a serious undertaking, which is probably why they hired creative, playful and silly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, to lighten things up. The directors have a knack for comedy and manage to create another zany, comic world for their LEGO characters to exist in.

The voice cast is like a wish list for directors, featuring: Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Chris Pratt and Morgan Freeman in lead roles. This interesting mix of typically comedy and drama voices provides the plastic people with personality and allows the film-makers to poke fun at film franchises and the toy itself without losing its all age appeal. The stellar voice cast contribute to the overall sense of fun, playing up the tongue-in-cheek comedy and giving the characters real substance.

The LEGO Movie is jam-packed with lovable characters. Lord Business is like a blend of Megamind and X from The Incredibles. As an evil mastermind, Will Ferrell has just the right mix of stature, misguided smarts and crazy to pull it off. Will Arnett's Batman is a regular source of hilarity as he does the impossible without flinching. Morgan Freeman is also a barrel of laughs, playing the ancient wizard, Vitruvius, with a chewed off sucker stick as his magical wand. Liam Neeson does a great take on a two-faced good cop/bad cop named Bad Cop. Then there's the relentless '80s Spaceman, scrapyard Metal Beard and great play-off between Superman and Green Lantern.

The visual effects department play an enormous role and have made use of YouTube stop-motion effects and CGI to create a seamless blend of life-like LEGO characters in a world built out of everything LEGO from the '80s to the here and now. The animation is simply spectacular and while it takes some time to adjust to this style, its energetic pacing and whirlwind of LEGO bricks and people make it one colourful, creative and wild ride from start to finish.

The story has strong influences from The Matrix, as our would-be hero, Emmett (Chris Pratt) unwittingly becomes the saviour of the world, after stumbling down a mine shaft. Guided by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a Trinity type character, he learns of a parallel free world and takes a crash course on the art of finding your inner builder under the tutelage of Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). All the while, the adventurers are tracked by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson)... commander of Business's robot army and threatened by the abduction of their friends and the dreaded micro managers.

While this forms the basic skeleton for the story, there are also strong influences from Wreck-It Ralph, Back to the Future III and Transformers. The LEGO Movie is similar to Wreck-It Ralph's eclectic animated arcade world about an unlikely hero trying to find meaning in his routine life. Then, the theme-hopping, especially the Western scenario, bright-eyed yet clumsy heroics and lead character's name take aspects from Back to the Future III. The way LEGO's unleashed like an urban wrecking ball, transforming into vehicles and mechanical warriors has some strong similarities to Transformers.

The LEGO Movie embraces all its various toy themes into one crazy world with an epic, all-encompassing message about unleashing creativity and living life out-of-the-box. The dazzling animation lights the way for an entertaining, fun-filled, imaginative, silly, smart and at times touching journey for everyone to enjoy. It's not just for kids, it's for everyone who ever was a kid too! From the catchy soundtrack and the recognisable Hollywood voice cast to the laugh-a-minute comedy and surprising inventiveness, The LEGO Movie has it all!

The bottom line: Awesome

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