I'd be the first to admit that I can be a bit of a cynic. And I have to confess that when The LEGO Movie was greenlit, I thought: "Oh no, not another crappy toy tie-in." Toy-based films have not had that good a run – witness Transformers, Battleship and the GI Joes. But it gives me a humungous amount of pleasure to be able to report that The LEGO Movie well and truly breaks the mould and proves to be simply awesome in every way imaginable.
The film does have a plot, but the less you know about it before you see it, the better. It's basically about a pretty ordinary, rather nondescript LEGO minifigure named Emmet Brickowoski (Pratt) who lives his day-to-day life happily following the instructions. It's a world ruled over by the ruthless tyrant President Business (Ferrell), a megalomaniac who hates anything or anyone that deviates from the rules. Business plans total control of the universe, but a mishap sees simple construction worker Emmet mistaken for the prophesised "Special" and is enlisted by freedom-fighter Wyldstyle (Banks) and sage Vitruvius (Freeman) in the fight to save the LEGO worlds.
The LEGO Movie is utterly bonkers, yet it has more wit, charm and heart than most films released these days. Once again, directors Lord and Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 and 22 Jump Street) show themselves to be two of the smartest filmmakers working today. Among all the silliness (and there is a LOT of silliness) is the central theme of imagination vs following the rules. The film even, cleverly, takes quite a surprising turn in the final act that could quite easily have derailed the whole affair; instead, it works to perfectly balance everything that has gone before ... an may even lead to the shedding of a tear or two.
The voice cast is an absolute dream team: Smulders finally gets to play Wonder Woman; Tatum dons Superman's cape; Arnett is possibly the best Batman since Adam West; and Brie is utterly adorable (and totally wacky) as the rather freaky Unikitty. And Neesson playing good cop / bad cop? It really doesn't get any better than that. There are some lovely cameos to watch out for too, so keep those eyes peeled. The jokes fly so fast you're bound to miss quite a few of them, which makes a second (and maybe even a third, fourth and, yes, a fifth) viewing compulsory. The look of the film is perfect too – although it's CGI, there is such care and attention to detail that you'd swear it was made using stop-motion animation and real LEGO bricks.
The LEGO Movie is that rare beast: a virtually perfect film. It speaks to the child in all of us, yet is full of sly satire and sharp digs at corporate branding that adults will embrace. It's very smart, incredibly funny and a true delight for all ages. And you don't switch off your Blu-ray player singing the theme song, Everything Is Awesome, then your heart must be made of plastic.
3D QUALITY ★★★★ To be honest, the film is so good that it's just as enjoyable in 2D as it is in 3D. But the good news is that, if you saw The LEGO Movie in the cinema in 3D, well the experience at home is just as good – clear, crisp 3D with minimal ghosting. The depth and dimensionality are both excellent - the characters almost bounce out of the screen, while the cityscapes have believable depth to them It's a very immersive experience, and proves once again that the best 3D we're getting at the moment is in animated films.
EXTRAS ★★★★ The bonus material is pretty awesome, and there's simply loads of it to work your way through. There's an audio commentary with writer-directors Lord & Miller, along with voice cast members Brie, Pratt, Arnett and Day; an Everything Is Awesome sing-along (3:19); the behind-the-scenes featurette Bringing LEGO To Life (12:36); the featurette Batman's a True Artist (1:12); the featurette Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops (1:21); the four-part behind-the-scenes featurette See It, Build It! (20:40); the behind-the-scenes featurette Stories From The Story Team (4:02); a selection of Fan-made Films (3:51); Outtakes (2:33); Deleted Scenes (3:20); the Alleyway Test (0:55), the first animation test for the film that involves Wyldstyle building a motorcycle; and some other Promotional bits and pieces (3:51).