Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

My gawd. Five mins into this movie and I was already a blubbering mess.

By the movie’s end I was bawling like a baby. And in between I laughed, wooped with excitement, and re-watched so many of the one-on-top-of-another gags, either to catch gold that whizzed past, or to take another moment to howl with laughter at the genius of particular gags that warranted extra time.

This movie is overwhelmingly fun. It’s obviously made with a lot of love, and it feels like everyone involved is having a blast. The script is funny, and the movie treads an incredibly delicate line and juggles an impressive number of elements: heart without schmalz; wise-cracking without cynicism; humour without stupidity; geekery without exclusion; pop culture references that are accessible without being obvious or lazy.

The Lego Movie is about imagination and play of course, but more importantly it’s about inclusion: all ideas, references and stories can live together in the Lego world. All kinds of lego (or almost – which is also addressed in an endearing, knowing way right at the film’s end) are visited, but so is the other really important, human idea: that all kinds of construction, ideas, and most of all stories, are welcome and can play together in the same world – that “genre” is limiting and, in the end, the opposite of fun.

The real star here is the attention to detail – and most of the stunning details flash past in quick succession, never lingered upon or flaunted for cred or production value, instead adding such richness to a world already over-stuffed with characters, dialogue, action sequences, and invention. From the incredibly realistic rendering of the lego pieces themselves, to explosions and ocean waves, to ideas about how pieces fit together – and how imagination drives them all – this movie feels like it was built by grown-ups who never stopped digging amongst the bricks, who never lost the joy and excitement of discovering new combinations, realising visions and creating adventures within the worlds they build and then break just to build again.

Vox examines how The Lego Movie “embraced the idea that amateur creators matter”: