The LEGO Movie Blu-ray ReviewJune 13, 2014
On the surface, to the more cynical viewer, The LEGO Movie may seem like a marketing ploy – designed for the sole purpose of selling toys. It turns out that this is in fact one of the greatest animated films of the last few years; a wildly creative, exciting, hilarious film that even manages to evoke some true emotion. And it has Will Arnett as Batman – what more do you want?
Emmett Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is an everyman construction worker; a very average and cheerful man who follows every rule, likes what everyone else likes, and gladly pays 37 dollars for a cup of coffee. When Emmett stumbles upon a relic — the fabled Piece of Resistance — buried underneath a construction site, his life is forever changed. A wise old mystic named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) tells of a prophecy: “The Special” will find the Piece of Resistance and save the LEGO universe from certain annihilation at the hands of the evil Lord Business. Emmett is aided in this journey by Master Builder Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Unikitty (Alison Brie), Batman (Will Arnett), Metal Beard (Nick Offerman), and plenty of others, including licensed characters like Superman, Green Lantern, Han Solo, Gandalf the Grey, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Emmett’s adventure takes him through plenty of diverse LEGO locales, from his home city, to the Old West, to “Middle Zealand”, a medieval land home to dragons, wizards and probably hobbits. The action is relentlessly fast-paced, and the cast is so fun and enthusiastic that the film’s 101-minute length never drags. The “anything goes” creative ideology that is the essence of the LEGO toy line is echoed in every aspect of the production, and it’s very obvious that this film was a labor of love for everyone involved. The LEGO Movie rattles off one-liners and sight gags so fast that it will take multiple viewings to catch everything.
The animation in The LEGO Movie is fantastic. Everything has a handmade, stop-motion feel – pause the movie at certain spots and you might even see digital fingerprints on the toys. There is no “cheating” going on here – as the special features reveal, the entire film is built with CG modeled LEGO bricks, and even effects like ocean water, smoke, and fire are created with undulating LEGO parts. It gives the film a really unique look and feel.
The LEGO Movie’s Blu-ray release offers plenty of interesting extras. Fans that want to know about every aspect of the production, as well as see every hidden sight gag and easter egg, will want to listen to the engaging commentary with Alison Brie, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and briefly, Elizabeth Banks via call-in. Bringing LEGO To Life is a 13 minute look at the production of the film, but it doesn’t offer as much insight as it could and is geared more towards kids. Stories From The Story Team takes a look at the evolution of the script, from storyboards to early overdubs by the story team, and even some abandoned sequences. See It, Build It! is a kid-friendly series of clips that teach viewers to create some of the props from The LEGO Movie, both with real LEGOs and using the CG models via LEGO’s website. The clips include “Introduction with Senior Designer Michael Fuller,” “Build the Double-Decker Couch,” “Build Emmet’s Car,” “Introduction with Modeling Artist Adam Ryan,” “Digital Double-Decker Couch” and “Digital Emmet’s Car.” There’s also a sing-along for “Everything is Awesome”, some fan-made LEGO short films, the first animation test, a short song by Batman, deleted scenes, in-character bloopers, additional promotional content, and finally a fake trailer for Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops.
The LEGO Movie feels special in that it’s an ode to creativity and imagination, and what makes everyone unique. It’s an incredibly witty, fast paced, exhilarating film with a hilarious cast. There are a ton of visual gags and easter eggs, and it’s hard to catch all of the jokes in one viewing since they’re fired off at such a rapid pace. Phil Lord and Chris Miller have brought this motley cast of brick characters to life in a charming, intelligent piece of filmmaking, and I can only hope the inevitable sequel is as inspired. The Blu-ray contains tons of interesting commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and an in-depth look at the process of creating this digital world, as well as the history of LEGO itself. If you enjoyed The LEGO Movie in theaters, you’ll definitely want to own this Blu-ray.