The Lego Movie, dir/scr. Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, st. Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman
Hearts may sink at yet another toyline/movie mashup, but Lord and Miller's film is a faithful big-screen adaptation of not just the plastic, but the spirit of creativity Lego inspires. Everyman construction worker Emmet (Pratt) spends his days attempting to toe Bricksburg's party line to consume, follow the rules (or in his case - instruction manual), and be happy without question, though he represses niggling thoughts that he doesn't belong. Unbeknownst to Emmet however, a battle has raged between a wizard named Vitruvius (Freeman) and Lord Business (Ferrell), who plans to seek ultimate control of the Lego universe. Much for Fox News to love there then. Emmet soon realises he's the star of his own monomythical tale in which he has to rise to the challenge of hero, fulfil the prophecy, and save the world. Much of the film's success emanates from its ability to conjure pure-joy childhood memories of the exact nature of Lego mechanics. A lot of what I saw in the film had me gleefully realising my playtimes weren't entirely dissimilar to other kids'. It was like finding out at 35 that we all actually belonged to a secret club all along - which cunningly, Pixar-style, gives the upper hand to the toys themselves. Thus the film's animators have lovingly digitally recreated those tiny imperfections we knew so well; the minifigure characters show fingerprints, worn edges, grime, knocks, scrapes and scars, while - critically - not betraying Lego's own limitations in articulation, animated with an ingenious mixture of lampooning and loyalty. This reverence for its subject matter continues too into the gloriously daft plot - you'll remember it from the ones you dreamed up in your youth - and flirts with the idea of real-world, ex-Lego objects and entities that infiltrate the narrative. There's even an ending that teeters precariously along that moving/mawkish precipice, but ultimately proves too adorable to resist.