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The Lego Batman Movie: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) movie poster The Lego Batman Movie

Theatrical Release: February 10, 2017 / Running Time: 105 Minutes / Rating: PG

Director: Chris McKay / Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith (story & screenplay); Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington (screenplay)

Voice Cast: Will Arnett (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Zach Galifianakis (Joker), Michael Cera (Robin/Dick Grayson), Rosario Dawson (Batgirl/Barbara Gordon), Ralph Fiennes (Alfred Pennyworth), Hector Elizondo (Jim Gordon), Jenny Slate (Harley Quinn), Siri ('Puter), Jason Mantzoukas (Scarecrow), Conan O'Brien (The Riddler), Doug Benson (Bane), Billy Dee Williams (Two-Face), Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Kate Micucci (Clayface), Riki Lindhome (Poison Ivy), Eddie Izzard (Voldemort), Seth Green (King Kong), Jemaine Clement (Sauron), Ellie Kemper (Phyllis), Channing Tatum (Superman), Jonah Hill (Green Lantern), Adam DeVine (The Flash), Mariah Carey (Mayor McCaskill), Lauren White (Chief O'Hara), David Burrows (Anchorman Phil), Laura Kightlinger (Reporter Pippa)

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One of the most widely beloved animated movies of the century, The Lego Movie had to be the start of a franchise. Three years after that colorful, character-filled comic adventure was met with better reviews and better business than anyone could have expected, Warner delivers a follow-up in The Lego Batman Movie.
With the direct official sequel still two years away, this is actually a spin-off with Will Arnett's scene-stealing take on the Dark Knight placed front and center. In fact, though it takes its look and tone from Lego Movie, the story adds to and comments upon Batman's 80 years in entertainment.

Batman applies his commentary to the studio logos and opening images. Then, it's straight to action, as practically all of the villains from Batman's universe join forces...only to be thwarted yet again by Batman, his weapons, and skills. After that, it's back to the Batcave, where we see Batman has bigger foes than the costumed rogues he's always dispensing of. Batman/Bruce Wayne is lonely. He misses his parents and is too afraid to get close to anyone else.

Batman has to get used to having the adopted Robin around by his side in "The Lego Batman Movie."

That is the main thrust of the narrative and it distinguishes what could be a feature-length toy commercial or just another Batman movie (albeit one performed by interlocking toys animated in a way resembling stop-motion). Batman's issues are funny, because they're in line with the brooding loner we've seen in many a blockbuster film and various television incarnations. But there is also some genuine emotional weight to them. Lego Batman does a fine job of using that story both for laughs and as something in which to ground the often hyper and high-spirited hijinks.

Batman has opportunities to grow with a number of people pushed into his life. There is the orphan Robin (voiced by Michael Cera), who gets adopted and remains in awe. There is the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who wants nothing more than Batman to acknowledge they have a special relationship, an amusing way to frame their decades-old rivalry. There is Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), the commissioner's smart, forward-thinking daughter (an alumnus of Harvard for Police) who wants to clean up Gotham City by no longer depending on Batman's inefficient vigilantism. Also along for the ride is Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), Batman's wisdom-supplying father figure and butler.

Lego Batman may differ in characters and plot, but it finds the same winning atmosphere of irreverence that made The Lego Movie so irresistible. Nothing is sacred here or beyond ridicule, least of all Robin's costume or Superman in general. The movie not only makes use of the DC Comics rogues gallery, but even utilizes other screen villains in Warner Bros.'s vast copyright library, from King Kong, Gremlins, and the Wicked Witch of the West to Voldemort and Sauron of The Lord of the Rings.

The Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) is crushed to learn that Batman doesn't consider their relationship any more special than those he has with the other villains he battles.

This central stretch may be a bit much for some to digest and recall the cameo overkill scene of Anchorman 2. But the film's brush with the unexceptional is short-lived and soon forgiven. For most of its running time, Lego Batman is sharp, funny, and exciting. While all animated movies aim for those qualities, it takes more to stand out these days.
Lego Batman succeeds on that level too, as it manages to find wit and narrative value in everything from Jerry Maguire to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."

The Lego Movie's failure to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature is one of the most egregious snubs in recent Oscar history. It's too early to say if the omission of Lego Batman Movie would be a comparable miscarriage of justice. Obviously, if you're releasing a movie to theaters in early February, awards are not your top priority. But with 2017 almost halfway done, no animated film has even come close to entertaining as thoroughly.

Warmly received by critics and even more so by moviegoers, Lego Batman Movie nonetheless didn't have the same commercial impact of its predecessor or of Batman's live-action blockbusters. Still, the $176 million domestic and $311 million worldwide make it a hit and plenty profitable on a relatively lean production budget of $80 million.

Four months after opening in theaters, Lego Batman hit DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and 4K Ultra HD from Warner. This review covers the 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD edition.

The Lego Batman Movie 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (English), 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English DVS, French, Mexican Spanish, Colombian Spanish, Portuguese)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Latin Spanish, Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-66 & BD-50)
Suggested Retail Price: $44.95
Also available as Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD ($35.99 SRP), Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + Digital HD ($44.95 SRP), 2-Disc DVD ($28.98 SRP), and Amazon Instant Video
Black Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover

VIDEO and AUDIO

You would think because they haven't had an established animation division as long as their competition that Warner might be behind the curve visually, but The Lego Movie showed that wasn't the case and Lego Batman Movie further adds to the trend. Whether judged by the standards of 4K or Blu-ray, the 2.40:1 picture is vibrant, dynamic, and short. Similarly, the soundtrack, whether you're listening in Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 or 5.1 DTS-HD master audio, is lively and immersive. While this remains the best movie of the year that I've seen, you could even just treat it as demo material and it'd be hard to find something better.

"Cooking with Alfred", Batman's butler gets derailed by plans regarding something called Bat Monkey. Two-Face crashes a Foley session in the short "Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That?"

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Extras begin with a section of four funny original animated shorts. Lego Hoser (2:08) finds Batman applying to the Justice League of America and being assigned to Canada instead.
Batman Is Just Not That Into You (2:10) lets Dr. Quinn (Harley Quinn) advising Joker on his relationship with Batman in this parody of daytime talk shows. Cooking with Alfred! (2:02) starts what it sounds like: Batman's butler hosting a cooking show, with Batman and Robin guesting, but it devolves into concern over something called the Bat Monkey. Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That? (1:24) finds Batman villains Bane, Poison Ivy, Riddler, and Catwoman recording Foley laser sounds, a session crashed by "Aquaman."

Next up given its own listing is The Master. No, not the 2012 Paul Thomas Anderson movie, but the 5-minute, 23-second LEGO Ninjago animated short that preceded Storks in theaters last year. It upstages an old Jackie Chan-voiced martial arts warrior with a chicken. It's better than Storks.

This musical deleted scene may have you asking which one is Batman and which one is the Mayor? Though the extras skew more entertaining than informative, "One Brick at a Time" offers a somewhat detailed making-of.

Then, we find a deleted scenes section consisting of four deleted bits (7:00), which are presented in a mix of simple but appealing animatics and full color story reels. They offer a melancholy Batman/Commission Gordon phone call, Batman dramatically chasing down an unleashed dog named Lollipop, musical number "Mayor Swap", and a mostly animated scene of Clayface infiltrating the power grid.

Featurettes houses six videos, most of which are as short as the shorts.

"One Brick at a Time: Making The LEGO Batman Movie" (16:10) details the creative processes of the film, from turning real Legos into digital animation to the voice cast bringing the characters to life. The movie is different enough to make it stand out from other animated movie making-of featurettes you've seen.

"Rebrick Contest Winners" (2:47) shares three Grand Prize-winning very short stop-motion shorts created by Lego fans. Will Arnett introduces them and explains the contest rules.

Batman gives you a tour of the mansion he "shares" with Bruce Wayne in "Inside Wayne Manor." Michael Cera enjoys the minifig of his character Robin.

"Inside Wayne Manor" (2:36) lets Batman and his "roommate" Bruce Wayne show you around the Batmansion. I'm not sure why it's here and not listed in the shorts or promotional material, where it would seem to fit better.

"Brick by Brick: Making of The LEGO Batman Movie" (3:50) offers a more superficial companion, namely just looking at the voice cast and letting them talk about their roles. "Behind the Brick" (4:13) finds the movie's characters talk about the movie as if they are just actors making a movie.

Closing the section, "Me and My Minifig" (0:56) lets Arnett, Dawson, and Cera play and ad lib with their tiny Lego alter egos. There are glimpses of the footage in the main featurette.

Bruce Wayne channels Baz Luhrmann's Jay Gatsby in this New Year's-themed promo "Batsby's New Year." Conan O'Brien introduces Batman in this animated Comic-Con panel short.

Under Promotional Material, we begin with three Lego Batman Movie trailers (1:59, 2:39, 2:34). There's also a promo for the Lego Life app (0:40), Lego Batman's "Follow Me Online" (0:31) and "Don't Skip" (0:21) spots, a "Happy Holidays" jingle (0:25), Great Gatsby-parodying "Batsby's New Year" party (0:24), and a trailer called "Team Cutdown" (1:53).
The section closes with a humorous animated Comic-Con panel (2:55) featuring Conan O'Brien, Batman, Joker, Barbara Gordon, and Robin. Warner almost never includes trailers on a movie's disc and these ones, mostly utilizing Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow", are a good deal of fun.

Last but not least is an audio commentary on the film recorded by director Chris McKay and various other crew members including editor David Burrows, co-producer Amber Naismith, layout artist Laurence Andrews, and lighting supervisor Craig Welsh. It's more technical than you might expect, as such movies cited as inspiration include Crimson Tide and Se7en (lighting), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (symmetrical framing), and Scrooged and Groundhog Day (story). At the same time, it also boasts the fun you expect given the movie and the large group assembled.

The discs open with an ad for watching Lego Batman Movie on the WB All Access app, a trailer for The Lego Ninjago Movie, and, on Blu-ray, a promo for 4K Ultra HD.

The static menu features a pose of our three heroes while score plays for a limited time.

The two similar looking discs share a black eco-friendly keepcase with a Lego ad booklet (which includes a coupon for a free kid's ticket to Legoland with the purchase of an adult ticket)and a Digital HD insert. The case is topped by a sleek, embossed slipcover.

Batman learns to stop worrying and let his new family help out in "The Lego Batman Movie."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The year isn't even halfway done and most of the really good stuff has yet to be seen, but six months in, The Lego Batman Movie is the most enjoyable 2017 film I've seen. Applying the winning sensibilities of The Lego Movie just to Batman and his universe yields a fun, fresh, and surprisingly original take on old, familiar superhero lore. That alone would make this one of the easiest recommended 4K and Blu-ray releases of the year. That this edition also boasts outstanding A/V and is surprisingly loaded with good extras makes the recommendation even easier and stronger.

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Related Reviews:
Warner Animation Group: The Lego Movie • Storks | Directed by Chris McKay: Robot Chicken: Christmas Specials
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Batman: Complete Television Series • Son of Batman • Batman vs. Robin • Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice • Suicide Squad • The Incredibles • Big Hero 6
LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out • Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United

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Reviewed June 20, 2017.



Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Animation Group, Ratpac-Dune Entertainment, Lego System A/S,
Lin Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.