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The Lego Movie: Everything Is Awesome Edition
Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Review

The LEGO Movie (2014) movie poster The Lego Movie

Theatrical Release: February 7, 2014 / Running Time: 101 Minutes / Rating: PG

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller / Writers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller (screenplay & story); Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (story)

Voice Cast: Chris Pratt (Emmet Brickowski), Will Ferrell (Lord Business/President Business, The Man Upstairs), Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle/Lucy), Will Arnett (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Nick Offerman (Metal Beard), Alison Brie (Unikitty), Charlie Day (Benny), Liam Neeson (Bad Cop/Good Cop, Pa Cop), Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius), Craig Berry (Blake), David Burrows (Octan Robot), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Amanda Farinos (Mom), Keith Ferguson (Han Solo), Will Forte (Abraham Lincoln), Dave Franco (Wally), Todd Hansen (Gandalf), Jonah Hill (Green Lantern), Jake Johnson (Barry), Keegan-Michael Key (Foreman Jim), Kelly Lafferty (Lord Business' Assistant), Chris McKay (Larry the Barista), Christopher Miller (TV Presenter), Graham Miller (Duplo), Doug Nicholas (Surfer Dave), Shaquille O'Neal (Shaq), Chris Paluszek (Robot Foreman), Chris Romano (Joe), Jadon Sand (Finn), Cobie Smulders (Wonder Woman), Melisa Sturm (Gail, Ma Cop), Jorma Taccone (William Shakespeare), Channing Tatum (Superman), Billy Dee Williams (Lando), Leiki Veskimets (Computer)
The Lego Movie is one of DVDizzy.com's Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).The Lego Movie ranks 21st in our list of the Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).

Buy The Lego Movie from Amazon.com:
Everything Is Awesome Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Blu-ray Combo 2-Disc DVD Instant Video

For a while, Lego has been crashing the entertainment world with franchise-specific video games (Lego Harry Potter) and animated TV specials (Lego Star Wars). In 2014, we get the first bona fide feature film and this all-encompassing production could never be mistaken for anything less.

The Lego Movie, a 3D animated work set in the worlds of the interlocking toys, opens with a confrontation between an evil man and the good wizard Vitruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman).
Defeated, Vitruvius reveals a prophecy involving a special individual who one day will discover an item that will be the evil one's undoing. Eight and a half years later, an utterly average conformist construction worker named Emmet (Chris Pratt) becomes the unlikely one to discover the so-called Piece of Resistance.

Far from the Master Builder foretold, Emmet barely has an original idea in his head. His co-workers can barely identify him and no one considers him a threat. The two-faced Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson using his natural Irish brogue and a helium-esque tone, respectively) questions Emmet with great suspicion, but can do nothing more. Emmet gets an assist from a rogue female calling herself Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and is led straight into the Old West, a world unknown to him.

Wyldstyle, who later reveals her real name is Lucy, cannot believe that Emmet is civilization's best chance against the impending doom that popular, secretly evil President Business (Will Ferrell, channeling Megamind and Zoolander's Mugatu) has planned for the forthcoming Taco Tuesday. Joining up with Vitruvius, her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), and others, the two try to evade capture and thwart the President's dastardly plot.

Wyldstyle (a.k.a. Lucy) and Emmet Brickowski try to elude authorities and cross into another world in "The LEGO Movie."

Films based on toys and games invite a heightened level of skepticism. Sure, Clue is okay, but Battleship was as ludicrous as it sounded and the Transformers series has arguably done cinema more harm than any other modern property. Something called The Lego Movie sets expectations low, especially with an early February theatrical opening. The good news is that this film manages to absolutely shatter those low expectations.

Should you have thought critics' overwhelming approval ratings of the film were some cosmic fluke, the public proved otherwise, turning this into the first smash hit of 2014. As of right now, Lego Movie still stands as the top-grossing film of the year domestically and while Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which has been right on its heels since Memorial Day Weekend, might overtake it very soon, there's an excellent chance that no summer movie will and therefore most likely no other movie reaches the same heights until the third Hunger Games installment does by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

Lego Movie's North American haul of $256 million is extraordinary. Only one other February opening -- Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ -- has ever performed better domestically. Only two other films -- the original Hunger Games and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland -- have earned more while premiering in the first quarter of the year. Only a dozen animated films (seven of them, original) have ever grossed higher.

Lord Business shares part of his evil plan with Bad Cop.

As tempting as it is to take note of how much money Lego Movie made ($463 M and counting worldwide), what is far more important is that this commercial success has come to a film of great artistic worth.
The film's creative personnel were no more indication of greatness than the title and timing. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller together wrote and directed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, profitable comedies for different audiences that I'd consider slightly above-average but nothing more. Lego Movie takes them so much higher, above and beyond most of the competition and to the lofty heights of Pixar's brilliant majority.

This is a consistently funny film, but it also works as a legitimate sci-fi adventure. It embraces the subject matter wholeheartedly, both in visuals and story. The computer animation resembles stop-motion in the choppy way which characters are animated true to the movement of Lego figures' limbs. Separated by walls by the rigid President Business, the different realms are based on real Lego playsets, providing versatility, variety, and color. Visually inspired, the film has fun with the limitations of plastic parts, giving us the Lego versions of such elements as water, fire, smoke, and laser beams. The results are distinctive and distant from the relatively homogenous look that has emerged from CG family comedy ubiquity.

While Lord and Miller's direction is stellar, their writing may be even better. Their screenplay derives meaning from the actual experience of playing with Legos. This is a world where anything can be built from anything and at various times, it is. Besides packing a healthy amount of social commentary, the story comes to define a war between the two different ways to play with Lego. Without saying much more, a late game shift to live-action adds a layer of weight and intrigue to the already substantial world-saving heroics. The film gets so many laughs simply out of appearances by and mispronunciations of small everyday items of consequence to Legos like bubble gum, nail polish remover, and X-Acto knives.

Then there are the many licensing deals that Lego has secured in recent times, which results in a film that incorporates some extremely storied characters. Probably eased by Warner's ongoing partnership with DC Comics, Batman features prominently. Instead of promoting him, though, the movie makes him into a caricature. A scene-stealing caricature in the capable hands of Will Arnett. The witty interpretations of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and a handful of Star Wars characters (unexpectedly licensed) number among the film's many highlights. Other famous properties also cameo, from Milhouse to Dumbledore to Michelangelo to Shaquille O'Neal. The film doesn't need established personalities to entertain; some of its best bits are presented by fun, original characters, like the unqualified Emmet (whose big idea is a double decker couch) to the reinventive Lucy to the cheerful Unikitty (part-unicorn, part-cat, all-smiles and sparkles) and '80s astronaut Benny (perfectly voiced by Charlie Day). It helps that the voice cast is extremely well-assembled.

Emmet and Lucy try to blend in among robotic factory workers. Late in the film, Emmet winds up in a live-action world, sharing the screen with the actor providing the voice of his chief antagonist.

By not being plainly designed to sell you toys, The Lego Movie makes you want to go out and buy them. Brimming with imagination and wit, this film may be the one guaranteed 2014 Oscar nominee we've gotten thus far. I can't imagine we'll see a worthier Best Animated Feature than this, even if its timing is ill-suited for such an accolade (though Rango stretched the Academy's memory nearly as far). Like a much, much better (and more creative) version of "Robot Chicken", this crowd-pleaser is a marked improvement over its makers' first two films.

It's also by far the best thing we've seen from Warner Animation, a company that hasn't blazed an identity for itself with such disparate and generally underwhelming works as The Polar Express, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, and the two Happy Feet movies. Having seen the lucrative returns of divisions established at Fox (Blue Sky), Sony, and Universal (Illumination), Warner now seems determined to carve a niche for their own identifiable animation unit.
Lego Movie launches a new brand, the Warner Animation Group, on an extremely high note. They've already announced The Lego Movie 2 as their fourth movie, scheduling it to open Memorial Day Weekend 2017 after two original films called Storks and Smallfoot arrive over the next two years. It will be interesting to see if the studio can really define its brand and make it stand out in the face of so much competition. Lego Movie certainly does, but so did Rango and it still doesn't have a clear successor either at Industrial Light & Magic or the post-DreamWorks Paramount.

Arriving just in time for summer vacation and potentially boring rainy days, The Lego Movie hits home video tomorrow in a Blu-ray combo pack and a two-disc Special Edition DVD. The film's biggest fans, however, may prefer the Everything Is Awesome Edition reviewed here, which includes a Blu-ray 3D, a Blu-ray, a DVD, Digital HD UltraViolet, some distinctive packaging, and an exclusive Vitruvius Lego minifigure.

The LEGO Movie: Everything Is Awesome Edition Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-rays: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Video Extras Subtitled; Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: June 17, 2014 / Suggested Retail Price: $59.98
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (2 BD-50s & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase in Large Plastic Box
Also available as Blu-ray Combo ($35.99 SRP), 2-Disc Special Edition DVD ($28.98 SRP)
and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The Lego Movie's many delights certainly include its video and audio, which are of the utmost quality on the Blu-rays. The sharp, spotless 2.40:1 transfer presents the distinct, colorful, imaginative and active visuals without the slightest of imperfections, the CGI's stop-motion look adding clarity. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is also demo-worthy. It showcases engaging sound design including some very potent effects, while also springing to life with music. Some sound category Oscar recognition might be in order if this was released later in 2014.

Abraham Lincoln is half of a crime-fighting duo in the short "Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops." Captions identify writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in "Bringing Lego to Life."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Kicking off the standard Blu-ray's bonus features is an audio commentary by writers-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and voice actors Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, and Charlie Day. Elizabeth Banks joins them via telephone from near the beginning to the 47-minute mark. The screen-specific remarks generate many group laughs,
sometimes simply reacting to the jokes, but some sincere making-of information also emerges for those so inclined. Highlights of this easy listen include the cast sharing the reactions of family members and TV's Jeffrey Tambor to the film and an explanation for Will Forte being credited as "Orville Forte."

The all-HD video extras begin with a number of stop-motion shorts. "Batman's a True Artist" (1:19) is a music video for Batman's dark orphan anthem created with real Legos. "Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops" (1:21) imagines the two historical figures policing together through time. "Enter the Ninjago" (2:13) has Emmet sold on adding a ninja to his story by an unshaven movie exec.

Emmet hosts "Bringing Lego To Life" (12:36), an enjoyable making-of featurette that covers all the bases from the voice cast to Legos as inspiration to the animation by Australia's Animal Logic with a winning sense of humor.

Lyrics make it even easier to sing along with the infectious song "Everything Is Awesome." Adam Ryan shows us how to create a digital version of Emmet's double decker couch in a "See It, Build It" tutorial.

An "Everything Is Awesome" sing-along (3:19) places creatively animated lyrics over various clips set to the infectious original song after which this edition is named.

A See It, Build It! section consists of short tutorials. The first three, starting with an introduction (0:49), allow Lego senior designer Michael Fuller, the film's art director, to teach you how to create modified versions of Emmet's double-decker couch (3:53) and Emmet's car (2:55) using Legos. The next three, starting with another intro (0:41), has modeling artist Adam Ryan show you how to create more accurate versions of the couch (2:11) and car (1:51) in 3D computer animation with Lego Digital Designer. These are nifty variations on the drawing lessons we often find on animated films.

Abandoned concepts are preserved via story reel and commentary in "Stories from the Story Team." Garbage assembles into a giant monster in the second place winning fan-made stop-motion Lego short.

"Stories from the Story Team" (4:02) places comments from storyboard artists about discarded or evolved concepts over story reel footage.

Introduced by Chris Pratt, "Fan-Made Films: Top-Secret Submissions" (3:51) excerpts runners-up and shows in their entirety three winning short shorts produced by fans for a shot at making it into the film. They're creative and increasingly polished.

Lord Business and Vitruvius audition for the directors in this promotional short. A captive Wyldstyle is questioned and rescued in this deleted scene.

Fully-animated outtakes (2:33) give us alternate lines, ad libs, and flubs. Presenting it like a movie being shot by Legos, it's reminiscent of the Pixar gag reels of yore.

"Additional Promotional Content" (3:51) serves up an assortment of inventive ads for the movie. From direct camera addresses by Emmet and Batman to character auditions, these too entertain.

An "Alleyway Test" (0:55) is the first test shot created for the film.

A reel of deleted scenes (3:20) presents two unused prison conversations in animatic form.

The Blu-ray exclusive "Dream Job: Meet the Lego Builders" shows us how master builders contributed production design for the film's live-action sequences. The static Blu-ray and DVD menus opt for simplicity.

The final extra and only complete Blu-ray exclusive, "Dream Job: Meet the Lego Builders" (13:28) looks at the work of those who make their living building with Legos, who contributed design ideas to the film and production design for the live-action shoot.

Since Warner treats The Lego Movie to a two-disc Special Edition DVD and only the first disc makes the cut here,
the only DVD extra included in this combo pack is the audio commentary.

The Blu-ray opens with promos for UltraViolet and Legoland and Legoland Discovery Center. The DVD does the same but follows them with trailers for Dolphin Tale 2, LEGO: The Hobbit video game, Sophia Grace & Rosie's Royal Adventure, and The Lego Movie video game.

The basic menus attach a bit of Mark Mothersbaugh's score to poster art. The Blu-rays resume playback, but sadly do not allow you to set bookmarks on them.

The Lego Movie goes without a slipcover in this Everything Is Awesome Edition but that's because Warner has something more creative in mind. The blue keepcase is held in a plastic box around the size of a brick, a two-VHS set or one of Warner's Harry Potter Ultimate Editions. In front is a raised bust of Emmet whose cardboard back can be popped out to create a standee. In front of that is the safely-packaged aforementioned Vitruvius Lego minifigure. (A cooler assemblable one of Emmet was also included with my review copy.) Three inserts accompany the three uniquely-labeled discs inside the plain keepcase that may be all that makes it onto your movie shelf: your Digital HD UltraViolet code, ads for Lego Clubs and video games, and a coupon for a free children's ticket with purchase of an adult to a Legoland or Legoland Discovery Center.

Unikitty welcomes Batman, Wyldstyle, Emmet, and Vitruvius to the colorful and cheerful Cloud Cuckoo Land.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Lego Movie is quite possibly the most fun you'll get from a 2014 movie. This creative, hilarious, and visually striking comic adventure is bold enough to stand out among the glut of computer-animated family films being made. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Warner's Everything Is Awesome Edition isn't cheap, but it's a stellar package marked by a terrific feature presentation and a great collection of fun extras. Either that or one of the film's similarly loaded two other editions deserves a place in your collection, based on your format preferences.

Buy The Lego Movie from Amazon.com:
Everything Is Awesome Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo / Blu-ray Combo / 2-Disc DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Megamind Wreck-It Ralph Toy Story 3 The Muppets WALL-E Rango Frozen Elf Hotel Transylvania
From Phil Lord and Christopher Miller: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 21 Jump Street Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (story only)
LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out Night at the Museum Transformers Battleship Robot Chicken: The DC Comics Special
New: How to Train Your Dragon Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Pompeii Sinbad: Make Me Wanna Holla

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Reviewed June 16, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2014 Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Animation Group, Village Roadshow Pictures, Ratpac-Dune Entertainment,
Lego System A/S, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, and Warner Home Video. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.