They've built a near masterpiece

STEVE KILGALLON
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2014

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REVIEW: How could you possibly make a movie about plastic interlocking bricks?

And yet, once you've seen this comedy-drama masterpiece, it's hard to imagine them doing anything different.

The Lego Movie animator Chris McKay put it best: "We took something you could claim is the most cynical cash grab in cinematic history, basically a 90-minute Lego commercial, and turned it into a celebration of creativity, fun and invention."

Of course, The Lego Movie is still making plenty of money (enough already to have commissioned a sequel, due in 2017) but at least they've worked hard for it.

There is remarkable attention to detail here: the animation is incredibly complex and realistic; the jokes subtle and plentiful, a plot which appears at first to be laughably simple proves layered and intelligent.

And yes, the little yellow men do have proper characterisation: thus the rather brilliant Batman (Will Arnett), a skirt-chasing egomaniac who only builds in black.

It opens with a very sharp piece of dystopia: a Lego city in which President Business owns almost everything and encourages excessive consumption and a mindless happiness among his adoring subjects, not least Emmet, an everyman construction worker.

Like everyone else, Emmet loves the TV show Where's my pants?, sings along to the hit song Everything is Awesome! and enjoys buying over-priced coffee. And yes, he sticks to Business' mantra: "Follow the Instructions".

But a renegade band of "master builders" - who can throw together just about anything without reference to a leaflet - are a continual thorn in Business' side.

Led by blind soothsayer Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), and including basketball hero Shaquille O'Neal, Batman, Superman, a pink unicorn and a spaceman, the Master Builders race to foil Business' plan - executed by the literally two-faced Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) - to suspend everything in perfect harmony with the use of the Kragle (a tube of Krazy Glue). And a prophecy has foreseen that it is Emmet who will lead them to glory.

Just when you see where all this is going, everything changes again in a very clever final 15 minutes that really makes you appreciate the work that's gone on.

Then you leave the cinema, and for the next three days, find yourself singing the refrain from the annoyingly catchy Everything is Awesome!

THE LEGO MOVIE (PG) 100 mins

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