Kids movies that can be enjoyed by the taller set have become a genre unto themselves, and the new Lego Movie — hyped as the best movie of the year, earning a ridic' 96% on Rotten Tomatoes — is the pinnacle of the genre, with the film's creators clearly counting on the fact that there are at least three generations of Lego fans out there who want to like this movie.
Despite the hoo ha, it's understandable that you might have reservations about parting with the $30 or so beans it takes to get your butt in a cinema these days, just to see a movie about a plastic construction set. (That's a lot of Lego.)
So, is it worth it? You bettcha! The Lego Movie is actually funny, with the largely adult themes of conformity and 1984-style oppression interspersed with loads of Lego-centric humour, action, and some very cool animation .
The story's creators have cleverly built the plot around the fundamental Lego dilemma (and cause of many an existential crisis): do you play by the rulebook or get creative with your bricks? The ensuing romp through the Lego universe is a fast-paced, primary-coloured visual spectacle, smattered with in-jokes and plenty of cultural references to keep the big people entertained.
The story follows Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt, of Parks and Recreation fame) an adorably earnest, perky everyman with helmet hair, who's completely content, trapped in his regimented Lego world where everybody follows 'the instructions'.
Barely capable of original thought, the story's unlikely hero stumbles upon the holy 'Piece of Resistance', meets a group of underground renegades and goes on a mishap-filled adventure through the Lego universe. Their mission? To stop Lego Land from being permanently glued in place by a maniacal dictator, President Business (vocal stylings by Will Ferrell), who presides over the brainwashed Lego Land with a robot army and tubes of Krazy Glue.
Lego fans with enjoy the nostalgically clunky stop-motion animation style, and the presence of classic Lego figurines (Batman Lego is very good quality, and there's also Star Wars references, NBA All Stars, Lord of the Rings characters, and Ninja Turtles for the '80s kids).
If you've never played with Lego, this movie might be not quite as filled with feel good reminiscence for you. But if you do fall into that deprived category, you're not really someone we want to associate with anyway, so drink your Frozen Coke and be quiet.
If all the little tykes in the cinema with me were any indication (gotta love school holidays) The Lego Movie has plenty of laughs for the kids, too. And while I'm not usually fussed by 3D movies, I didn't mind the little bricks flying at my face as much as I thought I would.
I could go on about the Lego movies blatant product pushing, but it's kind of refreshing that there's nothing backward about it. Yes, kids are going to want to play with Lego after watching this (heck, I want to play with Lego after watching this) but Lego's fun and — as the film's central theme so aptly demonstrates — all about being creative, so who cares? Life lessons are still life lessons, even when they come in plastic knobbly packages with massive marketing budgets.
The film's theme song, 'Everything is Awesome', is also irritatingly catchy and I'm seriously considering downloading it.
All-in-all, everything is pretty awesome in The Lego Movie.
Have you seen The Lego Movie? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!