These days the only films I get to see in the cinema are ones pitched at the family market. It can feel like a rough deal when you’re sitting through the thousandth trailer for The Smurfs 2 but when you strike a diamond like The Lego Movie it seems a lot better than the times I spent whiling away evenings watching subtitled films in the ABC Piccadilly.
The Lego Movie does not have to be as good as it is. It’s lego, it’s animated and it’s got a great cast and huge marketing budget. They could have churned out virtually any old guff and got box office. Somewhere along the way though someone decided to have a look at (say) Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Toy Story and thought: you know what, we could do something like that.
So, we’re in a world that comes with instructions. Emmett, the generic-faced everyman, thinks everything is awesome and is delighted to pay $37 for his coffee. He dances with delight when President Business, ruler of the lego planet, announces that it’s Taco Tuesday. Neither Emmett, nor his thousands of identikit colleagues, know that actually President Business has darker motives.
After that joyous bit of scene-setting we get Plot. And characters. It’d be a waste to go through it all but, suffice to say, we get Morgan Freeman setting up and suberting his wise mentor role, Elizabeth Banks note-perfect as ‘wild girl with a heart’ Wyldstyle plus Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Abraham Lincoln and an insane 80s Lego spaceman. Plus a load more. The plot is all about The Special stopping the end of the world but you can probably guess how that goes.
Well, you can guess it to a point and it would be a major, major spoiler to go beyond that point. We’re not talking quite Sixth Sense levels of twist but the final twenty or so minutes are far more complex and satisfying than any U-rated film really should be. It left the kids in the audience slightly baffled (although they all appeared to have carried on enjoying the ride) but it does really add an unexpected level of understanding to what was already a top-level fun film.
There are too many jokes, aside, sight-gags to even begin to get them all in one sitting. And the film’s pace only rarely lets up. Every time you think there might be a mis-step it all comes together a moment later. There is only own downside: you will leave the cinema humming Everything is awesome. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is.
And, anyway, in the context of this film, pretty much everything is awesome.