The Lego Movie

After an onslaught of Real American Heroes and Robots in Disguise, we often meet a new toy-inspired movie with the lament, “It’s just a two-hour commercial!” And so it is with no small measure of shock and awe that I watched The Lego Movie. The immensely talented filmmaking duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller has managed to tell an engaging story with boundless wit, originality, and even audacity, while still embracing what we know and love about these little bricks and the many associated characters.

We are introduced to construction worker Emmet, a seemingly regular guy but for his utterly unflappable enthusiasm for everyone and everything in his city of Bricksburg. He may also be “The Special,” destined to thwart a diabolical plan by evil Lord Business that spells doom for the entire Lego universe. A great quest takes us to strange and wonderful realms, full of gleeful little surprises on the way to a bold dramatic twist that reveals the film’s true pathos and ultimate triumph. Lord and Miller pull in winning elements from their past efforts (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) but also take particular delight in this new medium, a digitally animated world made entirely of Lego pieces. This leads to ludicrously clever, frequently subtle gags involving water droplets, plumes of smoke, and the inefficiency of claw hands. And we can’t forget their unprecedented take on Batman, a self-obsessed Dark Knight brought to life with giddy obnoxiousness by Will Arnett., the movie looks like it has been stop-motion animated from actual plastic pieces, but it’s all a stunning illusion across the vast, magnificently detailed 2.4:1 canvas, from long shots of Bricksburg to offices densely packed with toiling drones. Up close, we can readily appreciate the texture, shine, and tiny scratches on the figures, an errant fingerprint, the weave of a cloth poncho. The authoring is impeccable, and this Blu-ray is artifact free. Colors are remarkable in every scene, but the candy-flavored hues of Cloud Cuckoo Land are especially dazzling.

Warner was kind enough to send us the Everything Is Awesome Edition (named in honor of the saccharin pop tune that plays endlessly and never gets old to Lego ears), which contains a “Bonus 3D Movie” along with the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy, but in a somewhat confusing bit of newfangled marketing, this refers to the feature film itself on Blu-ray 3D. The Lego Movie was rendered in true 3D, and I highly recommend that you dust off the glasses: The realism of the “playsets,” the dynamic action, foreground flotsam, the careful positioning of characters, and more all benefit from the stereoscopic effect.

The fine soundtrack does its part, an upbeat but not overwhelming DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix with individual voices, squealing pigs, and all manner of atmosphere in the surrounds. Skyscrapers topple with requisite heft, but the Batmobile’s new subwoofers provide the most memorable low-end flourish.

Extras are allocated to the 2D Blu-ray, where the directors and cast members dare us not to laugh along during their audio commentary. There’s also a Batman music video, a Michelangelo/Lincoln movie trailer, genuinely funny featurettes, real-world building tutorials, fan-made shorts, and deleted scenes.

All in all, an outstanding movie in a terrific package. But why do I suddenly want to run out and buy more Legos?

Blu-Ray 3D
Studio: Warner Bros., 2014
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 101 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett

utopianemo's picture

I have kids, so I see this movie about once a week. And I am still not tired of it.

A bit of trivia: The same geniuses behind this movie also made the similarly hilarious Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs. It's interesting to note the similarities, from the self-aware humor right down the the same classic electronic beep of the alarm clock that the main characters use.