Last year was one of the finest years for cinema for we saw a number of quality releases throughout the year and in almost every genre, there were some incredible examples to choose from. But unlike others, the genre of animation failed to impress much and 2013 was one of its weakest years. We saw Pixar coming out with Monsters University; very fun & enjoyable but didn’t live up to the level of cinema we expect from the famed studio. DreamWorks Animation came up with The Croods; hilarious as hell but weakly plotted too. Disney’s very own Frozen broke box-office records & earned acclaim from critics but it’s still no match to studio’s best films. Entered 2014 and with it came an animated motion picture which ultimately showed each one of them how it’s actually done in the right manner as The Lego Movie brims with enough creativity, wit, energy & charm to already make an indelible mark on this year’s charts.
When the trailers came out, at first I wasn’t much intrigued by it in any way and expected it to bomb but the manner in which it has won the hearts of critics & viewers alike really took me off by surprise. So, I decided to give it a shot & damn, it was worth every moment. And now I wish if only I had experienced it on the big screen. Based on the famous Lego line of construction toys generations have grown up playing with, The Lego Movie tells the story of an ordinary Lego mini-figure named Emmet; a construction worker no one gives a damn about & who has lived his entire life following the instructions of others. But when he accidentally discovers the Piece of Resistance, his life turns upside down as he is mistakenly thought to be the prophesied Master Builder and is drafted into a fellowship including other Master Builders who are on an epic journey to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the entire Lego universe together.
Written & directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (co-directors of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), the film is masterfully envisioned, excellently written, carefully crafted & is infused with heavy use of pop-culture references from start to finish. The animation is wonderfully carried out with careful attention to the smallest of details & although it gives the impression of using stop-motion animation, it’s entirely CGI. Cinematography provides a vibrant look to the Lego universe with strong use of different colours & smoothly blends it with the film’s live-action sequences. Thanks to its terrific pace, the movie never really lets you breathe for it pays one homage after another to famous films of the past and delivers them in rapid-fire succession. Also, the humour is perfectly timed and properly weighed so that it has something for both kids & adults. And finally, the background score further amplifies its rollicking plot with its adventurous tracks and turns everything more awesome with its “Everything is Awesome” song.
Coming to voice performances, The Lego Movie employs a pretty impressive voice cast in Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman & others with each one of them donning equally fascinating characters. Chris Pratt voices the main character, Emmet Brickowski; an ordinary construction worker Lego mini-figure who later is mistakenly identified as ‘the Special’ but eventually goes on to save everybody in the Lego world thus fulfilling the prophesy. Will Ferrell voices the main antagonist named Lord/President Business; the evil businessman & tyrant of Bricksburg town. Ferrell also plays ‘The Man Upstairs” featured in the live-action part of the film. Elizabeth Banks is Wildstyle/Lucy; a Master Builder who jailbreaks Emmet out from the totalitarian community he’s been living in. Will Arnett gets to be the voice of Batman; the coolest character in the film, Liam Neeson is the Bad Cop/Good Cop; a police officer with split personality who serves Lord Business & Morgan Freeman plays Vitruvius; a blind old wizard who prophesied the coming of “the Special”.
Also making their appearance in the film are Metal Beard, Unikitty, Superman, Green Lantern, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Wonder Woman, Benny, 3-CPO, Han Solo, Abraham Lincoln & many other notable figures. Yet what lies beneath its plethora of one liners & interesting characters is a simple, poetic & heartwarming message that it’s not some tag but your own self-belief which makes you special and anything is possible when you start believing in your own strengths. On an overall scale, The Lego Movie is a thoughtfully structured, hilariously narrated & intelligently executed work of originality, fun & creativity that takes its story as seriously as kids do when playing with their toys. Exuberantly directed, deftly written, gorgeously animated, fiercely paced, splendidly photographed, superbly voiced, nicely scored & jam-packed with never-ending funny lines plus cultural references throughout its runtime, The Lego Movie is a 90 minute commercial of the planet’s most famous toys which viewers of all ages are going to end up enjoying in more ways than one. Delightfully recommended.