Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Village Roadshow Pictures
Somehow The LEGO Movie has played the best trick of all – it’s got that thin little message about not playing by the rules, about being creative and doing what you want, building things the way you want to and about sticking it to the man. It’s also got a theme of Big Brother overlords that are pushing brands down the throat of an unsuspected audience, of brainwashing people.
And so The LEGO Movie plays by the rules, follows formula and has no real heart at all – it is instead a giant fucking advert for a giant fucking brand.
But it’s so fast moving – almost disturbingly relentless – that it has been decided by basically everyone who has seen it (except me) that it works. It not only works it’s amazing. Brilliant. The best animated film in…ever…
Actually it’s like lining up about a hundred 45-second YouTube clips, it knows that its adult-audience is (mostly) there with kids so will chuckle along at anything that seems like a mature – made-for-adults – joke. But the film just isn’t at all funny.
Oh, it’s no real chore to watch it – it’s not in that sense ghastly. But it’s brutally cynical and snide and smug and it offers nothing of any value at all beyond the deeply implanted aim to sell even more Lego. There are Batman and Harry Potter and Spiderman Lego sets, and all sorts of other ones, Star Wars, the works. But some clever sod decided to cut out the small-fry percentage points and just make the main film as part of the brand, then do the offshoot toys and stimulate an extra huge rush of old-school Lego nostalgia.
That’s not sticking it to the man. It’s sticking it to the audience. It’s the man thinking he’s being pretty fucking creative.
I attended this with a four year old, a five year old and a six year old. All boys. They took turns drifting off, nearly falling asleep, zoning out, giggling inanely at stuff they probably didn’t understand, removing their 3D glasses, complaining of headaches, asking when it was finished, wondering if we could go now, asking what was happening and then staring blankly as, most likely, tiny purple dots danced around in their skull and then a giant LEGO sign appeared, the 3D probably only worked to implant triggers around birthdays and Christmas.
The film finished and on the walk to the car, yawning, I asked the boys if they liked they film. I was figuring I had let them down. We should have chosen anything else – including the option of staying at the park on a Sunday day.
“It was so cool!” they chimed. “Awesome!” said one. “Ye-ah!” said another. “So cool”, the third.
I asked what their individual favourite bit/s had been.
Without looking at one another, without knowing they were speaking in unison they all said in perfect time with one another: “BATMAN!”