Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The LEGO Movie - Everything is Awesome Edition 3D / 2D Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Everything will be awesome when The LEGO Movie arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition, and Digital HD on June 17 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures. The LEGO Movie stars Chris Pratt as the voice of Emmet, an ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary Master Builder, and Will Ferrell as the voice of President Business, aka Lord Business, an uptight CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life. Voicing the members of Emmet’s rebel crew on this heroic mission are Morgan Freeman (Oblivion) as the ancient mystic Vitruvius; Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) as tough-as-nails Wyldstyle, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest; Will Arnett (“The Millers”) as the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure with whom Wyldstyle shares a history; Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) as the craggy, swaggering pirate Metal Beard, obsessed with revenge on Lord Business; Alison Brie (“Community”) as the sweet and loveable Unikitty and Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) as Benny, the 1980-something Spaceman.
Film (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The wise Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) has foretold that the piece of resistance that can disarm the dangerous Kragle and will thwart Lord Business’ (Will Ferrell) evil plan.  The prophecy states that this master builder will be the “greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times.”  Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an average LEGO citizen.  He follows the instructions for How to Fit In, Have Everybody Like You and Always Be Happy.  Emmet is content to be ordinary and happily heads to his construction job.

While attempting to report an unauthorized visitor to the site, Emmet falls upon the piece of resistance.  Emmet touches the piece and wakes being interrogated by the two faced Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).  The beautiful woman from the construction site, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) rescues Emmet because she believes that he is the most important person alive.

Wyldstyle and Vitruvius take Emmet on an adventure he could have never dreamed of.  Emmet tries to be “the special” and Wyldstyle doubts him early on.  He travels to distant realms and meets a variety of mini figures including Wyldstyle’s boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett).  The world is about to end, so Emmet must try to become the man in the prophecy, capable of saving all the realms.

Anyone who spent a significant amount of time playing with LEGOs will immediately recognize familiar faces and LEGO bricks.  The way the filmmakers used many of the pieces is very inventive. It’s a surprisingly clever script and adults will have no problem getting into this film.  An impressive list of voice actors signed on to work on this project and they are all perfectly cast. Liam Neeson’s good cop character is by far my favorite.  It’s fun to hear him switch between his scratchy voiced bad cop and the sweet sounding good cop.  

If you've seen The LEGO Movie or know a child who has, “Everything is Awesome” is not just a statement; it’s a song that you can’t get out of your head.  Parents are often subjected to hours of animated torture that their children love but this is a film that I would watch on my own. The film also offers a positive message for children as it encourages them to be creative and use their imagination. The Everything is Awesome Edition also comes with a bonus Emmet photo as well as a LEGO mini for the kids to start their own playing as well as the 3D version of the film. 
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
2D Video (5 out of 5 stars)                                             3D Video (5 out of 5 stars)
The LEGO movie is presented on Blu-ray 2d and 3d in 1080p high definition with a 16x9 2.4:1 ratio. While most of the film was created digitally the detail is incredible. You can see the tiniest scratches in the LEGO pieces and it’s clear the filmmakers spent a great deal of time thinking out every detail. The LEGO pieces look worn, used and authentic. You could never tell what was real life LEGOs and what was created digitally. Listening to the audio commentary gives you additional details to watch for and with each repeated viewing I noticed a lot of really cool things. This might be the first time I've applauded imperfections, but they are what sells this film in both two and three dimensions. Each of the different realms has a different color palette and the movie doesn't bombard the viewer with blinding primaries (all the time). The depth perception in the 3D version is excellent. The movie looks great in 2D but it's extra fun when the LEGO lasers start firing in 3D.
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
The LEGO Movie's audio presentation is at par with the video across the board. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is so good I can't imagine it sounding any better than this. The dialogue is crystal clear and the rear channels deliver a lively surround experience that is very active. The cross channel activity is accurate and adds a lof of fun to the listening experience. The music is well prioritized and doesn't overwhelm the rest of the mix. This is an absolutely fantastic mix!
Extras (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The LEGO Movie contains an impressive list of special features. The details behind creating the LEGO world are very interesting as is the audio commentary. If the extras included a true blooper real instead of manufactured out takes I would have given this section a 5/5.

The Blu-ray contains the following extras:
  • Audio Commentary – Commentary with Filmmakers and Cast including Will Arnett, Alison Brie and Elizabeth Banks who literally phones it in.
  • Batman’s A True Artist – A one minute video for Batman’s music.
  • Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops – A short trailer for a fake buddy cop film.
  • Enter the Ninjago – A few minutes of film with ninjas added to the mix.
  • Behind the Scenes: Bringing LEGO to Life – A look at creating the LEGO world including a visit to Denmark, LEGO HQ, and LEGOland.
  • “Everything is Awesome” – Sing along – In case the song isn’t stuck in your head, learn the words and sing along.
  • Behind the Scenes: See It, Build It! - Senior Designer Michael Fuller takes your through building the Double Decker Couch, Emmet’s car and Modeling Artist Adam Ryan teaches you to use the LEGO Designer to create the same items digitally.
  • Behind the Scenes: Stories from The Story Team – Storyboard artists and script supervisors take you through four minutes of storyboards.
  • Fan-Made Films: Top Secret Submissions – Chris Pratt introduces fan films entered into a contest.
  • Outtakes – LEGO outtakes, not the voice actor flubs I hoped to see.
  • Additional Promotional Content – Teasers, and other marketing clips.
  • Alleyway Test – The first animation test covering Wyldstyle building the motorcycle.
  • Deleted Scenes – Two storyboarded deleted scenes with explanation.
  • Featurette: Dream Job: Meet the LEGO Builders – Toy designers and filmmakers work together. This lengthy feature discusses character development, vehicles and the final scene.
Summary (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Everything is awesome with the LEGO movie and the Everything is Awesome Edition Blu-ray. The film is funny and clever with jokes for children and adults. It will make adults nostalgic for their old LEGO sets. The special features provide interesting insight into the LEGO world and the creation of this film. Warning: there are commercials for Legoland adventures that will likely have your children begging to go there. Most of the cool things you see in the film are also available as LEGO sets so that could cost you, as well. I don't know about my son, but I'm ready for a trip to the LEGO store.
    Order your copy today!

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