Taking a beloved toy and turning it into a film is a path paved with difficulty. Calling it 'The LEGO Movie' hardly instils great faith that this adaptation will prove anywhere near as imaginative as spending the corresponding 100 minutes simply playing with a box of these classic bricks. Yet Phil Lord and Chris Miller have injected a verve into this project that will appeal to adults and children alike. Maybe even the adults more than children.
The first ever full-length LEGO feature follows the journey of the unremarkable Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), one of many identical construction workers in the seemingly idyllic world of Bricksburg. Encountering the mysterious and beautiful Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Emmet inadvertently comes in contact with the fabled "Piece Of Resistance" - prophecised to help stop the maniacal Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and his "Kragle" (Krazy Glue) as he seeks permanent conformity.
The prophecy, as told by the wizard Vitruvius (who else but Morgan Freeman?) states that the person who comes into contact with the Piece Of Resistance is the "Special" - a particularly amazing "Master Builder", who can construct anything they can think of. Unfortunately, much to the disappointment of Vitruvius, Wyldstyle and the fellow Master Builders, Emmet is rather dependent on packaged instruction manuals. Nonetheless, he joins the quest to take on Lord Business and save the day, all the while chased through a slew of LEGO worlds by lead henchman Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).
Bearing in mind that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are responsible for the riotous 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs' and '21 Jump Street', it's little surprise that this offering is deliciously witty and quirky. From Tegan And Sara's generic/amazing Bricksberg electro-pop anthem 'Everything Is Awesome!!!' to the string of gleeful cameos including Will Arnett's hilarious Batman, Lord and Miller bring an infectious enthusiasm to the film.
The notable turn in its final third, which is both elongated and jarring, ultimately ties the film together. Reflecting on the unbridled joy of the likes of Charlie Day's Benny, the eighties spaceship guy who channels previous Lord/Miller character Steve from 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs', soon erases any disappointment.
'The LEGO Movie' could easily have been viewed cynically as a feature-length advert. Instead, it rises above that in a refreshing manner, carrying a positive message about creativity and each viewer's own wonderful individuality. Think the spirit of 'Team America World Police' without the anarchy but with all the fun.
'The LEGO Movie' is out tomorrow in UK cinemas, through Warner Bros.