The Lego Movie. Build It And They Will Come

legoWe LOVE a cracking animation. We’ve watched Up more times than permissible for a grown adult and it never fails to make us laugh (talking dogs flying planes!!). So we approached The Lego Movie with nervous anticipation. Would it deliver that vital adult / kiddie crossover appeal?

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker. He’s earnest, dull and always follows the instructions. Which is handy because Emmet lives in a Lego universe presided over by Lord Business (Will Ferrell), a megalomaniac despot determined to replace all creativity with rigid conformity, aided by his bi-polar henchman Good Cop / Bad Cop (a marvellous Liam Neeson). Literally rigid, as Lord Business intends to smother the Lego world in glue, never to be broken apart and rebuilt again.

Working to thwart this dastardly deed are an underground resistance movement of Master Builders, free-thinking liberals who NEVER follow the instructions, throwing together random Lego parts to create motorcycles, spaceships, bridges, the crazy fools. Headed by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and assisted by action heroine Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), they include every pop culture icon you can think of, from an exasperated Superman (Channing Tatum) who fends off The Green Hornet’s (Jonah Hill) creepy idolisation to arrogant babe-magnet Batman (Will Arnett) and a grandiose Gandalf (Todd Hansen). Vitruvius predicts a Special One shall appear, to save the Lego universe. Against all odds, that Special One turns out to be Emmet.

It’s bonkers. A kaleidoscopic rush of saturated colours and intense action that whirls from one scene to the next, taking in the Wild West, futuristic cityscapes and the trippy, candy coloured Cloud Cuckoo Land (if the writers didn’t ingest performance enhancing substances before coming up with that sequence, we’re a giraffe). Crucially, it’s backed with a witty and surprisingly satirical script that continually throws out surreal gems. From New Zealand described as the land of “Knights, poverty, leeches and illiteracy” to Bad Cop absent-mindedly crooning Danny Boy, there is much to savour. And look out for the live-action nostalgia trip towards the end. If that doesn’t warm your cockles then there’s no hope.

UK release 14 February

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

downloadIt’s been 9 long, Burgundy-free years since Anchorman first hit our screens. How old does that make you feel? Those depressing thoughts aside, The Sloth was quite beside ourselves in anticipation of catching up with our favourite cringeworthy newscaster. Would the years have been kind?

Bouffant, ‘tache and fake tan intact, Ron’s (Will Ferrell) over- powdered mug is as distinctive as ever. Sadly, his career isn’t holding up quite so well. Dumped from the station whilst his wife is promoted, Ron’s macho ego can’t take the strain and it’s the end of his marriage as well as his career. Until he gets a call from an old industry buddy. News network GNN (see what they did there) are planning a crazy new concept – 24 hour rolling news and need anchormen. Nothing else for it, Ron takes the gig and sets about reuniting his old news team; Brick (Steve Carrell), Champ (David Koechner), Brian (Paul Rudd) and Baxter the dog.

And with a new network comes a whole new cast of characters for Ron to insult. From slick newscaster golden boy, Jack Lime (James Marsden), to network owner Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson) a Aussie who also owns Koala Bear Airlines (love child of Rupert Murdock & Richard Branson, anyone?? ).  And we’re sure we don’t have to spell out Ron’s reactions on finding his new boss Linda (Meagan Good) is not only female, but black.

The gags come thick and fast. To be fair, not all hit the mark. But there are sufficient sly digs at contemporary news, topped off with a liberal helping of slapstick, to ensure at least some will tickle your funny bone.  The real treat is the ending. Hold out for a rather splendid and off-the-wall finale with more A-list cameos than you can shake a stick at. Good to see you back, Ron. Just don’t leave it so long next time.

UK release 18 December

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