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The Lego Movie (2014)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/17/2014

All Ratings out of

Movie:

Video:

Audio:

Extras:
1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/11/2014

When Transformers became a monster hit and G.I. Joe did respectable numbers, the jokes began -- Which toy would become a movie next? (I remember hearing a lot of "Hungry, Hungry Hippos" jokes.) Many of these jokes were an exaggeration, for, if nothing else, both Transformers and G.I. Joe were based on toy lines where the individual toys had backstories and both had television shows and comic books which had demonstrated what could (or couldn't) make a story work. The real jokes could begin if someone decidedly to bring a ridiculously simple toy to the big screen, say, something likes Legos. Making a movie about Legos seems like an impossible task, as they typically rely solely on the user's imagination, but with the right story and a cast of unusual characters, there's a chance that The Lego Movie could succeed.

The Lego Movie takes place in a world where everything (and everyone) is comprised of Legos. Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is a construction worker (because they are always building and re-building things in the city) who is the ultimate conformist. He has set of instruction manuals for life and he does everything that they say. But, he's also so devoid of personality that he has no friends. While working late one night, Emmet sees Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) trespassing at the construction site. Emmet then falls down a hole and awakens to find himself attached to a strange red object. Wyldstyle informs Emmet that he is "The Chosen" and the that red object -- The Piece of Resistance -- is the only thing which can stop the evil Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) from endangering everyone. Joining the wise Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman) and Batman (voiced by Will Arnett), Emmet journeys through many strange lands in order to save the world.

Having seen projects like Lego Batman: The Movie and Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out, I had an idea of what kind of humor could be found in a Lego movie. However, those were based on specific franchises with recognizable characters. How could an original movie compare? Allow me to start in the middle of that question as isn't 100% original, as it follows in the footsteps of previous Lego entries by featuring recognizable trademarked characters, such as Batman, and inserting jokes which relate directly to that character and their universe. This may seem like a questionable way to draw viewers into the movie, but in the film's defense, these characters don't show up until the second act.

As for the rest of the film, The Lego Movie presents a decidedly mixed bag. I liked the characters, especially Emmet. Yes, it's become quite cliched to have a main character who is much dumber than those around him, but it works here as Emmet's naivetť make him the perfect person to be really excited about, yet not quite understand his predicament. While Emmet is the center-piece (pun intended) of the film, Batman steals every scene which he is in, and Arnett perfectly delivers dry, deadpan dialogue.

However, I did have issues with the jokes and the story. The Lego Movie is humorous, thereís no doubt about that, but itís rarely laugh-out loud funny. I donít often go into a family film expecting to be bowled over by the comedy, but the Writing/Directing duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller delivered the funny with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, so I was hoping for something similar here. The movie also gets bogged down in its own preachiness. At the outset, itís clear that we should question the fact that Emmet never questions anything and the movie tells us that conformity is bad. It goes on to roll out the idea that individual thought is the way to go. But, then Emmet convinces everyone that teamwork will save the day. Huh? What is this movie trying to tell us? And then we have the twist ending, which I saw coming in the first act. Itís nice that the movie tries something different in the finale, but astute viewers shouldnít be blown away by it.

The Lego Movie is a very rare movie...because I actually went to the theater to see it. Itís certainly entertaining, but I feel that some critics really went overboard about it. The movie takes the seemingly impossible task of making building blocks interesting, but itís not without its flaws. I wish that it had been funnier and the movie is nowhere near as subversive as it thinks it is. The animation looks great and the faux stop-motion look certainly adds some charm. The bottom-line is that those of you who have waited to see it may want to dial back on your hopes.

The Lego Movie has a nice cameo by a shark on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 24 Mbps. The image is incredibly sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fantastic and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is excellent and even in the 2D version, the depth is impressive. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.3 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are notably good and do a great job of highlighting in sounds coming from off-screen. The surround sound effects are nicely detailed and really come to life during the action sequences. The subwoofer effects are effective without being overpowering. The set also includes a Blu-ray 3D where the film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc offers a MVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 27/13 Mbps. The depth here is very impressive and the best shots show great multi-plane depth. The frenetic action offers characters moving about the space, showing off how detailed the image is. The image is not overly dark as some 3D can be. The audio here is the same as the 2D Blu-ray Disc.

The Lego Movie Blu-ray Disc contains several extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Directors Chris Miller & Phil Lord, along with Allison Brie, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, and Charlie Day. "Batman's A True Artist" (1 minute) is a fan-made music video to Batman's song from the film. "Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops" (1 minute) is a fake trailer for a fake buddy cop movie. "Enter the Ninjago" (2 minutes) shows what the film had been like if ninjas had been added. "Bringing Lego to Life" (13 minutes) is a featurette "hosted" by Emmet, which contains interviews with Miller & Lord, as well as members of the production team. We get a look at the character design process and how the film was animated. We also hear from the voice cast and get to see them at work. The piece also shows the filmmakers researching Lego. The "'Everything is Awesome' Sing-Along" (3 minutes) will ensure the song remains stuck in your head. "See It, Build It!" is a six-part production which features Michael Fuller, Senior Designer with Lego group, showing the viewer how to build certain things from the film. Then, Modeling Artist Adam Ryan demonstrates how the same items can be built in a virtual program. "Stories from the Story Team" (4 minutes) offers storyboards for various scenes which are accompanied by comments from the storyboard artists who discuss alternate versions of the script. "Fan-Made Films: Top-Secret Submissions" (4 minutes) allows us to see some of the mini-movies made for a contest. The 3-minute reel of OUTTAKES offers some Pixar-like bloopers. "Additional Promotional Content" (4 minute) offers a few interstitials that has the characters auditioning and describing their characters. "Alleyway Test" (1 minute) shows the first test of the animation. The Disc contains two DELETED SCENES which run about 3 minutes. These are in storyboard form and offer temp voice acting. "Dream Job: Meet the Lego Builders" (13 minutes) takes us behind-the-scenes to see how Master Builders from Lego consulted on the film.

Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long