directors: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
writers: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
starring: Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie and Will Ferrell
genre: Animation | Comedy | Family
released: February 7, 2014 (U.S.), March 20 2014 (Greece), April 10, 2014 (Germany)
Nobody had expected "Lego" video games to be one day of any value, as no one expected that a "Lego" film can be turned into a surprisingly fun and adventurous experience. Filled from start to finish with outstanding jokes, graspable meanings for the whole family and evident creative artistry. All due to the trusty hands of the filmmaking duo of Lord and Miller and their pitch perfect directing of family entertainment and achievement of childhood sensibility on script and screen.
In the world of Legos everything is awesome, planned, with instructions and followed. Young adult construction builder Emmett loves this kind of life, as its the only one he's ever been informed of. In charge of this world is President Business who wants everything to be planned, scheduled and stationary. And with his magic weapon called the "Kragle", he is finally to make his plan final.
Standing in his way is a group of heroes called the master builders. A group trying to fulfill the prophecy of a master builder that will save them all. That master builder might turn out to be Emmett, but he just doesn't know it yet or has seen it written in an instruction booklet in order to follow it.
A decade ago the animation scene was dominated by "Pixar Studios" and "Dreamworks Animation". Thankfully times have changed and everyone is shooting for the stars now. Trying out new paradigms, going for the jugular when it comes to jokes, giving also talented filmmakers opportunities to shine and the studio system being more open to new ideas. Inherently also weirder ideas that no studio head or marketeer would have thought before to be profitable, but are.
Films such as "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "Despicable Me" have become huge hits compared to the silly animation attempts of past like "Robots", "Bolt" and "Megamind". This change has led to animation becoming once again a meaningful and entertaining option for the whole family and not just an excuse to pass the time with your kid.
By the end of the film, it's difficult not to be touched by the film's simplicity in storytelling, its whimsical twist and touching father and son connection. Moreover the feelings we all have inside of us to be special, as well as the bond we wish to have with our parent, even though it might not always happen. Furthermore the incredible wit of the filmmaking duo, that always have something genuinely fresh to bring into their films. Either through pop culture jokes, incredible well thought gags or simply well orchestrated character arcs.
Additionally in "Lego" fashion the film is filled with well known brand properties owned by the Warner Bros. corporation that made the film. The good news is that they never steal the show or seem like an advertisement of their own franchise within the film. This could have been an issue, if Batman wasn't the only known intellectual property character to be a part of Emmett's supporting cast. Thankfully the star of the show throughout the film is Emmett and his journey to be somebody. A journey which is accomplished by having many obstacles in his way, with a weird tale of an oppressive dictatorial regime and revolt of it, within a kids film.
Worthy of note is that while the animation is computer animated, its done in a way to emulate and feel natural to its "Lego" property. As if the movie was filmed as a stop motion animation production. This was accomplished by replicating the movements of the Legos perfectly to the motion they would have if they realistically moved. Plus all the silly effects that probably would accompany them in their so called "life".
It's perfect when filmmakers have a good understanding of what it means to make a good family film. A film where jokes are entertaining for both the child and parent, but also the plot and it's meanings being simple enough to follow and suitable for the growth of a child into adulthood. Contributing to an experience that brings a real connection between child and parent, rather than the parent choosing another medium entirely over cinema.