If ever a movie could be described as playful then it’s The Lego Movie, a beguilingly bonkers 3D computer-animation that slots together childhood innocence, adult irreverence and some brazen product placement to construct a work of joyous entertainment.
Endearingly, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the duo behind the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films) have not only built their film’s world entirely out of the eponymous Danish toy company’s plastic bricks, they have come up with a comedy adventure that bowls along with the freewheeling inventiveness and surreal leaps of a child’s imagination. The story is a delightfully loopy save-the-world quest, pitting Lego everyman Emmet (Chris Pratt) against Will Ferrell’s evil tyrant President Business and his chief minion, Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop/Good Cop, a swivel-headed minifigure with a rich Irish brogue and a schizoid personality. As Pratt’s hero careens in and out of different Lego universes, newly made-up characters – including Elizabeth Banks’s rebel fighter Wyldstyle and Morgan Freeman’s wise wizard Vitruvius – jostle with such iconic figures as Batman and Wonder Woman, giving the filmmakers the chance to fire off a barrage of witty pop culture gags.
The snarkiest jokes will fly right over children’s heads, but the film’s knowingness is tempered with a genuine sweetness. The film’s look is charming, too, with its nifty computer-generated images mimicking the more tactile handcrafted pleasures of stop-motion animation. Put all these elements together and you have a movie to enchant young and old.