Tag Archives: Will Ferrell

Film Review: The Lego Movie

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just an average construction worker with no standout qualities. However, when he meets the mysterious Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), he learns of a plot by the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) to unleash a terrible weapon upon the Lego world and freeze them in place forever. He may be ordinary but Emmet could be the only one who can stop Lord Business.

There have been numerous straight-to-DVD Lego films, but by some unearthly miracle this is the first time the Danish foot-cripplers have made it to the big screen. And it was well worth the wait.

Anyone who has ever been a child will have come across Lego at some point, and The Lego Movie brilliantly taps into the toy’s nostalgia which ensure it does what every good kids need to do – appeal to adults as well.

Kids will go nuts for the bright colours and whizz-bangery of the action, whilst adults will beam from ear to ear as they reminisce about building castles, mazes, pirate ships or whatever else popped into their heads. Most of the types of Lego are present and correct, from the Wild West to Medieval sets, and will cause memories to come gleefully flooding back.

There are also plenty of pop culture references and nods to other, more adult-oriented films. For instance, much of the film’s story and characters owe a debt to, believe it or not, The Matrix.

A big barrel of the film’s fun comes from the sheer number of different characters that turn up in the film, even just for the odd line. There have been several Lego video games based on films, and there are characters present from most of them, including Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Batman, the latter of which is particularly brilliant. Voiced by Will Arnett, Batman plays a surprisingly big role and his riffing on the character and its lore is bound to raise a few smirks with Bat fans.

As you’d expect with a film like this, the attention to detail is just staggering. Literally everything is made out of Lego – water, smoke, explosions, the lot; it’s all made from different Lego bricks (not Legos; never, ever Legos) and studs, and it only goes to enhance the film’s appeal. It’s part stop-motion and part CGI and simply a joy to look at throughout.

In terms of story, there’s not a massive amount here that hasn’t been done before. You’ll recognise story elements from numerous action and adventure films (and The Matrix, as mentioned earlier) but that actually adds to some of its charm, and the way it’s presented really sets it apart.

There’s an interesting final act that melds the Lego and the real world that is ridiculously clever, even if it does end up turning into into somewhat of an advert for Lego. It also gets a little schmaltzy and saccharine at times, hammering home the ‘you can do anything with your imagination’ mantra, although it never becomes too problematic.

There’s really not much to dislike about The Lego Movie. It’s got a sharp script, charming visuals and will have children and adults alike grinning like fools long after they leave the cinema.

Everything is indeed awesome.

Pros

  • Amazing visuals and attention to detail
  • Laugh-out-loud funny
  • Tonnes of fun characters and references

Cons

  • A little too schmaltzy
  • Threatens to become an advert for Lego

4 and a half pigeons

4.5/5 pigeons

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Film Review – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), along with his trusty news team Brian (Paul Rudd), Champ (David Koechner) and Brick (Steve Carell), are back and are about to become the face of a new televisual sensation – 24-hour rolling news. However, the course of good news never did run smooth…

Gone are the days when a simple trailer, a couple of posters and maybe a few press interviews would make up the entirety of a film’s marketing campaign. Now it often seems the case that more effort is actually put into the marketing than the film itself. Unfortunately that feels the case with Anchorman 2.

The backdrop of Anchorman 2 is the 1980s but it actually has something to say about the state of news today, and this is where it has more substance than the first film. It makes a comment on the way we are fed news but also how we consume it. Once upon a time, much of what we consider ‘news’ wouldn’t even be entertained in newsrooms, but it’s now become something for that very purpose – to entertain – and that’s the message at the core of Anchorman 2.

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But we’ve not come along for that, have we? We’ve come along for the jokes, which unfortunately are a very mixed bag. Now, the film does have some very funny moments, but too often does its jokes labour or miss the mark completely. What we get is jokes recycled from the first film or overplayed so that they no longer become funny. For example, Ron struggling to come to terms with having a black boss is amusing at first, but after the third or fourth instance, the joke gets a bit thin. There’s also an incredibly bizarre 20 minute section involving a lighthouse and a shark which just seems ridiculously out of place and consequently feels unnecessary.

But Anchorman 2 isn’t a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, and for fans there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Brian showcasing his collection of condoms is a particular highlight, whilst Steve Carell’s Brick is still one of the funniest things about the whole film. There are also a couple of interesting new characters, namely Jack Marsden as young and stylish anchor Jack Lime, and Kristen Wiig’s Chani Lastnamé as a love interest for Brick.

Whether Anchorman 2 ever becomes as beloved as the original film remains to be seen, but there’s nothing here to convert those who aren’t already big fans of Ron et al. Even when the film isn’t working, there are still laughs to be had, but just like watching 24-hours news, it can start to feel a little stale all too quickly.

Pros

  • Interesting comment on the state of news
  • Very funny in places
  • Steve Carell’s Brick

Cons

  • Not as funny as it needs to be
  • Recycled jokes
  • Starts to feel a little long by the end

3 and a half pigeons3.5/5 pigeons

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By the beard of Zeus! Ron Burgundy confirms Anchorman sequel

In a surprise appearance on Conan O’Brien’s chat show, Will Ferrell aka Ron ‘kind of a big deal’ Burgundy confirmed the existence of the sequel to the 2004 hit, Anchorman.

After playing some of his legendary jazz flute, Burgundy got audiences everywhere ready for a glut of new quotable lines with the news. The even better news is that many of the originals are already back on board, including director Adam McKay, producer Judd Apatow and cast members Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana), David Koechner (Champ Kind) and Steve Carell (Brick Tamland). See footage of Burgundy breaking the news below.

The sequel, which is yet to get an official title, is a long time in coming, probably due to the move from Dreamworks to Paramount. Whatever the reason, better late than never.

Welcome back Ron, stay classy.

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