The Lego Movie ****Dirs: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller. With the voices of: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day. 100 mins. Cert: U
An unexpected joy. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the nutty professors behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, have picked up the pieces that might have made for a throwaway brand-expansion exercise – hey, Smurfs movies – and instead fashioned a work of unbridled imagination, apt to delight sociologists, stoners and six-year-olds alike. Lego logic has been respected in the assembling of its meticulous yet changeable and spontaneous-seeming universes; our humble everyman hero progresses from guileless construction drone to revolutionary Master Builder (very Joseph Campbell) in cherishably jerky motions. Countless pauseworthy flourishes should send DVD presales rocketing, yet the zappiness generates as many drolly satirical gags, finessed by the voice cast’s sitcom-sharpened timing. It doesn’t think outside the box so much as operate on another astral plain entirely, yet even at its craziest, the film retains a tactile, DIY-ish charm: it may be the closest any American animation has come to emulating the ludic spirit of Aardman or Adam & Joe.
The Lego Movie is in cinemas nationwide.