Do you remember what you were doing when you first heard about The Lego Movie ? Harrumphing? Snorting incredulously? Filing the notion alongside such disregarded projects as The Pacman Movie or Ridley Scott's Monopoly ?
We stand humbly corrected. The film that industry analysts are citing as the earliest Oscar lock for 2015 (no, really) arrives with delirious reviews and delighted exit polls attached. It's this year's Toy Story , apparently. It's an instant classic.
The hype don't lie. A thrilling, consistently funny, all-ages extravaganza, The Lego Movie is virtually critic proof, in that we can't find a darned thing wrong with it. It's got laser sharks. And robot pirates. And a uni-kitty. And Batman. The project's theoretically cold, corporate, plastic heart – the movie is fashioned from LEGO® after all – is deftly offset by an anarchic, anti-authoritarian theme. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an every-brick construction worker who finds himself at the heart of a vast conspiracy as orchestrated by President Business (Will Ferrell) and his evil, schizoid henchman, Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).
While monologuing, Bad Cop reveals the president's plan to turn the "Kragle", a super-WMD, on the denizens of Lego World. Enter an unlikely justice league featuring, for starters,a punk girl engineer Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a cryptic wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett), Abraham Lincoln, Superman (Channing Tatum), Shakespeare, Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders) and Shaquille O'Neal.
The best jokes make use of the physical limitations of small plastic bricks. The screenplay, by directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller ( Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ), utilises pop culture without the unnecessary snark. The music Batman has written for his girlfriend and the continuing unpopularity of the Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) work as comic book references and perfectly crafted standalone gags for the DC ignorant.
Mark Mothersbaugh’s score is as clever and playful as anything he’s ever done (and that’s saying something). The lighting is impeccable. The action sequences are convincing and plentiful. And just when you think the film can’t get any more awesome, there’s a devilishly Brechtian flourish.
Do you remember what you were doing when you first heard about The Lego Movie ?