One of the surprise hits so far in 2014 was The LEGO Movie. Released in the dumping grounds of February, the movie definitely benefited by a lack of new family-friendly competition at the box office. The movie could have gone horribly wrong in less capable hands, but writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) place a lot of love and appreciation into the story, resulting in a film that celebrates imagination and creativity.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 1080P/MVC, 480P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Other
Run Time: 1 Hr. 41 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, UltraVioletClear plastic box
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)
Release Date: 06/17/2014
Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy) is a generic, boring, slightly dim-witted (and brainwashed) construction worker in LEGO City. That is, until he comes across the mythical “Piece of Resistance” in some construction rubble, gets captured by a schizophrenic “Good Cop/Bad Cop” (voiced by Liam Neeson) who is under orders to destroy the “Piece,” only to be rescued by Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) in one of the most thrilling chase sequences captured in an animated film. They escape to “The Old West” to meet up with Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman), a wizard who was tasked to protect a secret weapon known as the Kragle from Lord/President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). Lord Business plans to release the Kragle throughout the entire LEGO world to regain order and to “keep people from messing with my stuff.” It is up to Emmet and a team of Master Builders (which include Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, and a Spaceman, voiced by Charlie Day) to reunite the Piece of Resistance with the Kragle, and defeat Lord Business.
The Production Rating: 4.5/5
LEGOs are part of my family tradition, starting with my uncle, who began collecting pieces in the early 1960s. His collection was handed down to me in the early 1970s, my collection to cousins, and eventually to my nieces. What I always loved about LEGO was taking a box of interlocking bricks and creating a house, office building, vehicle, virtually anything my mind could come up with. Over the years, I felt that LEGO had diminished that creative urge with its model kits, pushing more generic boxes of assorted pieces off most retailer’s shelves. In essence, creating a world of Emmets, young people who can only build something according to instructions. And that, I think, is what appeals most to me in The LEGO Movie, as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller satirize that loss of creativity with the workers, making them drones to Lord Business, willing to spend $11.00 for a cup of coffee, faithfully watch the banal one-joke sitcom Where Are My Pants, and listen to the hit song Everything Is Awesome ad nauseum (“I could listen to this song for hours!”).
Animation studio Animal Logic replicates the stop-motion style of the fan-made LEGO short “brick films” so well, it rarely, if ever, resembles CGI animation (which was used for more than 80% of the film). That includes the lack of motion blur (often resulting in some occasional choppy animation), textures on the plastic pieces (sometimes including cracks and fingerprints), and using computer generated LEGO pieces to create everything in the film (including smoke, fire, water, etc.).
The LEGO Movie could have easily been nothing more than a 100-minute LEGO commercial or a big-screen version of the many made-for-video releases that have come before. Surprisingly, the result is a film full of warmth, laughs for all ages, and a storyline that isn’t afraid to thumb its nose at its corporate sponsors.
The 2D version contains a 1080p AVC encoded transfer that retains the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Colors are vibrant and consistent, detail is exceptional (you would think that actual LEGO pieces were used in the film), blacks are deep and inky. This could very well be considered reference material and a great demo disc.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: 3.5/5
The 3D version consists of a 1080p MVC encoded transfer, also retaining the film’s 2.40:1 aspect ratio, and is everything listed above in the 2D version. The major difference is the wonderful sense of depth that is used throughout the film, from the confined spaces of Emmet’s apartment, to the never-ending streets of LEGO City, and the vast wasteland of The Old West. There are a few instances where items come very close to a pop-out effect (such as Vitruvius’ staff during the opening prologue), but, unfortunately, that’s all there is. It’s a pleasing and enjoyable 3D experience, but could have been much more. More good news - I saw no evidence of cross talk or ghosting on my Samsung UN60F7100 LED TV while viewing with the Samsung-provided active glasses.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is as much fun as the film itself. Dialogue is directed mostly to the center channel, and is always clear and intelligible. The track also uses a lot of discrete surround effects, including some mesmerizing 360 degree panning effects (particularly at the 34:52 mark). LFE is also strong throughout, particularly during Batman’s Untitled Self Portrait song where he demos his new subwoofers and the final battle sequence. Like the video presentation, this is reference material worthy of a demo disc.
Audio Rating: 5/5
The Everything Is Awesome Edition comes in a clear plastic box that includes a 3D Emmet “photo” plus an exclusive Vitruvius LEGO minifigure, along with the 3D and 2D Blu-ray and DVD discs housed in a 2-sided Blu-ray case. I am refusing to list the 3D version of the film as a bonus feature. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume, based on the artwork on the Blu-ray keepcase, that Warner Bros. was originally going to release a stand alone 3D combo pack in addition to the DVD, BD/DVD, and this collector’s edition.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
All of the special features are provided on the 2D Blu-ray disc.
Audio Commentary: Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are joined by cast members Chris Pratt (Emmet), Alison Brie (Unikitty), Will Arnett (Batman) and Charlie Day (1980s Spaceman).
Batman’s A True Artist (1080p; 1:12): A fan-made music video for Untitled Self Portrait.
Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops (1080p; 1:21): A fake trailer for a film that features two of The LEGO Movie’s master builder characters.
Enter the Ninjago (1080p; 2:13 ): What is a Ninjago was added to several scenes of The LEGO Movie?
Behind the Scenes: Bringing The LEGO Movie to Life (1080p: 12:36): Chris Pratt (as Emmet) narrates this look at the making of the movie.
“Everything Is Awesome” Sing Along (1080p; 3:19): Music video, with on-screen lyrics, of the movie’s theme song.
Behind the Scenes: See It, Build It! (1080p): Senior designer Michael Fuller shows viewers how to build the double decker couch and Emmet’s car out of LEGO bricks, while modeling artist Adam Ryan shows how those same two items were created for the movie.
Behind the Scenes: Stories from the Story Team (1080p; 4:02): Members of the storyboard team discuss some of their favorite sequences that didn’t make it into the movie.
Fan-Made Films: Top Secret Submissions (1080p; 3:51): Chris Pratt introduces several short films submitted by fans that were used in the finished film.
Outtakes (1080p; 2:33): A tongue-in-cheek blooper reel.
Additional Promotional Content (1080p; 3:51): Promo spots for the film.
Alleyway Test (1080p; 0:55): The first animation test createds for the film, featuring Wyldstyle building the getaway motorcycle.
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 3:20): Two scenes in storyboard form that were cut before final animation.
Dream Job: Meet the LEGO Builders (1080p; 13:28): A fascinating look at the people who design the LEGO kits. This featurette is exclusive to the Everything Is Awesome Edition.
DVD Version: Includes the feature film and the audio commentary only, in standard (480p) definition.
UltraViolet Digital Copy: A redemption code is included on an insert along with instructions on how to obtain a digital copy of the film.
- VUDU: HDX 1.78:1 with Dolby 5.1
- M-Go: SD 2:40:1 with stereo audio
- CinemaNow: HD 2.40:1 with DTS-HD 5.1
- Target Ticket: HD 2.40:1 with stereo audio
- Flixster: HD 2.40:1 with stereo audio
Free Child’s Admission to LEGOLAND: Coupon for free child’s admission with paid full-price adult admission to LEGOLAND California or Florida.
Forcing fans who want the 3D version to purchase the collector’s edition caused me to drop my overall score by a half point. That being said, The LEGO Movie is a treat, both in 3D and 2D, and deserves to be on any avid movie fan’s shelf.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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