The LEGO Movie - Blu-ray Review

'a mega-budget, feature length advert for plastic bricks that hurt when you stand on them in bare feet'

In all fairness to The Lego Movie it does at least have the gumption to wear its fairly cynical corporate heart on its sleeve during the moments that matter, even if for part of the film it tries to hide behind the thin veneer of a narrative concerned with the overthrow of a character called President Business (Will Ferrell). This is, after all, a company who made £2,549 million in 2012, of which £611 million was pure unadulterated net profit and yet one whose marketing consistently manages to believably paint it as an independent-ish, irreverent gem of the corporate landscape. The fact that the film seeks to do the same should come as no surprise being, after all, the brainchild of someone who works in Lego's marketing department.

With that in mind, don't be fooled into thinking that this is anything other than a mega-budget, feature length advert for plastic bricks that hurt when you stand on them in bare feet. Lego knows that it is currently at the height of its not inconsiderable cool (the above numbers come after a disastrous period of multi-million pound losses in the early naughties), it knows that somewhere, maybe far down inside, everyone (including me) wants to stick brick A onto brick B and it knows that, because of that, it can get away with serving up one-hundred minutes of plot conveniently manipulated to promote many of its licensed worlds. If you're in any doubt that this is the main aim of The Lego Movie, secondary to anything like artistic merit or entertainment, then look no further than the finale. Where other children's films might aim for a moral of significant import (be whoever you want to be, put family first), Lego instead go for something slightly less lofty: anyone can play with their toys in any way they see fit. The fairy tale conclusion Hans Christian Andersen always dreamed of, no doubt.

At least our corporate overlords had the good grace to place that message at the end of a film which can, at times, be significantly entertaining, if not the out and out riot some have promised. Getting Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who did such a good job in making Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs interesting, was a master stroke and there are times when their wit and snark shine through. A running gag about Batman's (Will Arnett) seriousness justifies at least that property's presence and the knockabout lad-laughs between Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) and Superman (Channing Tatum) work a treat. You wonder just how bland this could have been had it not had the irreverent shtick of Lord and Miller to counteract the cynical product push of the core plot.

In the end, even they struggle. There's only so many laughs to be had from Emmet's (Chris Pratt) sheep-like stupidity (unintentional irony: if Emmet is told something is awesome, he believes it blindly) and the nature of the narrative means there's little that could be done to avoid it becoming a series of episodic trips through several environments and groups of characters, occasionally punctuated by someone saying something unrelated and mildly humorous. Cloudy contains the ultimate comparison point: there just isn't quite the same level of craft, charm, sheer joy or fine scripting here. If Lord and Miller had have managed that level then they and Lego might just have got away with it, though a $253 million gross in the US alone, on a budget of $60 million, plus a second film in the works, suggests that they actually have.

The Lego Movie is released on UK DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 21st July 2014.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.


  1. I liked the LEGO movie, thought it was entertaining and humorous. However, it's far from being the superduperawesome movie of the year I had expected for some reason.

    1. I can definitely see how someone could get more out of it than I did but yes, I'm not sure I get the 'move of the year!' reviews. Like I say, I think it pales in comparison to Cloudy.