Let’s get one thing straight from the start. When I went into the press screening earlier this year I was completely against this movie. While it looked unique and looked like it could be fun, I just did not want to invest the time in it and regret it later because you know life’s too short, yada, yada, yada. How could they possibly tie all these different brands together and cohesively make it all work? But then again I thought, what IF this was really good? What IF I would be missing out on something really special? Quite frankly, that’s too many what ifs for me. I must admit that I had a small glimmer of hope that I just might like this one because like the tagline says, it’s the story of a nobody who save everybody. That’s me! And anyway, aren’t all great movies like billed this? So I figured as long as The LEGO Movie can take me on a journey through the eyes of a hero and I fall for his character arc then just maybe I might be able to have a good time with this one. If not, then there was always the promise of popcorn to be had! So as nonsensical as this first paragraph really is, what do you say we talk about some LEGOs…on Blu-ray?
The LEGO Movie may not have the most original title to choose or call this feature, but you would think since it has literally been in development since 2008 it would of at least had a better one. But really, what’s more marketable than LEGOs? Maybe Barbie? Hot Wheels? So why not stick with what works. Regardless of word of mouth from the critics like me, parents are going to flock to buy this one on Blu-ray and DVD for their kiddies like bees to honey no matter if they’ve seen it or not. So why not Legos? And while we are at it, why not star the likes of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Jonah Hill and oh why not, Morgan Freeman and a whole slew of others that I feel may be a bit too spoiler-filled to reveal just in case there are a few virgins reading this. And before jumping into the crux of my review here let me set the precedence by going on record that I had no idea going into this year that come June I would be (still) referring to The LEGO Movie as my favorite film thus far of 2014. Edge of Tomorrow, after a second viewing is close, but I still have to give kudos and praise to the magic of The LEGO Movie. So let’s talk story now!
Our movie takes place in none other than the LEGO universe where an “ordinary mini-figure” named Emmet (Chris Pratt) gets mistaken for that of the Special, the greatest Master Builder who can save the Lego universe. Save the LEGO universe from what you say? Well, I’m glad you asked because you’re not going to believe this. LOL. Emmet, and his misfit gang of friends, which we will get to in a minute, are tasked with stopping the evil tyrant Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who is hell bent on destroying the LEGO universe on get this…Taco Tuesday of all days! Now do you understand my hesitation upon going into this one last Saturday?
So if you recall I mentioned Emmet’s misfit band of friends above? Well, they include an old wizard named Vitruvius, a tough woman named Wyldstyle (Banks), Batman (Arnett), Uni-Kitty (Brie), Benny (Day), a pirate named Metalbeard (Offerman) and some other DC superheroes that you will definitely look forward to. Yes, I said to look forward to. Now don’t rush me! By the way, when I first saw the movie poster for this film some year ago, I could not get out of my head the striking resemblance of Emmet to Marty McFly from Back to the Future, but I digress. The real reason we are here is to talk Blu-ray presentation and of course about the validity of The LEGO Movie, most notably, was it a beginning of the year turd or is it a golden brick. Hell no it’s not a turd! You see my score up above!
And here’s the deal ladies and gentlemen…I’m not even going to sugarcoat it because everything is awesome in The LEGO Movie! It’s like a Pixar film on steroids. So that’s why everything is awesome here! It’s something for all ages to enjoy! And quite honestly, I don’t think I laughed that hard at all in all the 2013 comedy films combined as I did throughout The LEGO Movie. I know that’s a bold and probably foolish statement to make (and I’m sure I will receive a lot of ignorant comments for ushering those words), but I had an absolute blast with this one and it goes without saying, although it’s not saying much considering we’re still in the first half of the year, but I’ve seen my greatest movie of 2014 twice now…The LEGO Movie! And if someone would have told me last year that going into the month of February The LEGO Movie would be my number one film of the year so far I would have said yeah right and probably said a few other choice words. I mean, I had The Lone Survivor, The Monuments Men, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, etc to choose from, right?! No! I ONLY had The LEGO Movie! Stranger things have happened I guess (insert sad face about the 2013 Denver Broncos choking in the Super Bowl), but as long as Lebron James and the Heat lose to the Spurs in The Finals that’s all that matters..
I have to admit though, when I first nestled into my seat during my initial theatrical experience and the first five minutes of this film began I was like oh no. What did I get myself into? But then something magical happened. Yeah, that’s right movie magic! I can’t really put my little finger on it still, but something just clicked and when it did it never let me go. It may of had something to do with the endless knocks to Batman and various jokes on his character or Green Lantern’s banter with Superman or even a surprise cameo or two that had me in absolute stitches, but whatever it was I don’t care. Why question something that makes you feel so good? It’s just not logical to do so in my opinion. It’s not like the Lego brand needed any more marketing to help sell its products. And of yes! A sequel has already been given a green light. Now the real question becomes whether or not Warner Bros. can top this one in a world where so many movies flop in their second outing.
Armed with a brilliant script, comedic, witty humor, cross-examination of today’s pop culture, numerous and clever product placements and endorsements of past and present, stunts and wild action, more unnecessary explosions that a Machete film, ups and downs and a message that all parents and kids can take away and learn from, The LEGO Movie will find its way into your heart (and home video collection) and hopefully you’ll leave feeling quite simply that everything is awesome and if not, at least I hope that damn song is stuck in your head (that’s what iTunes is for too)! It has been for months in mine! There’s no doubt in my mind that Warner Bros. is going to have a lot of golden bricks to play with now! You can take that to the bank and cash it!
So now let’s talk about the reason all you diehard LEGO Movie fans are really all here…drum roll please…
…the Blu-ray presentation.
It’s mentioned in more detail down below in the Extras section in regards to everything you will find in this “awesome” Blu-ray edition of The LEGO Movie, but for argument’s sake here please note there are two Blu-ray discs contained within this set, one that houses a 3D version of the film and the other a 2D one. My cumulative grade for watching both presentations is mixed and discussed in the review of the video below. I just wanted to call that to your attention and point out that it’s one of the reasons as to why it took me so long to get this review done. Not every place in Austin, TX here has a Blu-ray 3D setup, but rest assured I found one!
- Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1
- Clarity/Detail: I dare you to find anything to nitpick on here. Wow! From the closeups of finger smudges to the individual bricks, the detail is quite striking here. However, I think it’s also the insane attention to detail in the textures that really sets this one apart from most other Blu-ray presentations.
- Depth: Now let’s get one thing straight. I’m not a fan of 3D presentations. If they’re done right, then maybe so. But presentations like that are very few and far between. Most are sadly just cash grabs. The LEGO Movie, on the other hand, was done right. I still remember my initial theatrical experience with this title. It was amazing! However, let’s face it. If done right, most animated films render beautifully in the 3D format. I am pleased to report that The LEGO Movie on Blu-ray 3D makes no exceptions as it’s actually an exceptional demo worthy presentation full of insane depth, eye popping moments and most importantly, dimensionality. Ba da boom! I like what I see here! If you have a Blu-ray 3D setup, I would say this is worth the extra bucks. It’s like watching live LEGO bricks come to life right in front of you!
- Black Levels: Black levels are deep and consistent throughout the presentation. I think y’all will be quite satisfied here.
- Color Reproduction: What can I say here to make you understand how amazing this looks? I would say when you think of your typical animated movie on Blu-ray, you think of bright vivid colors. Now don’t get me wrong, you still have that here and so much more. You see this is a film. And like most good films, the color fluctuates to bring out emotions or maybe changes with the backgrounds, etc. Now get this! You have that all here! From advanced lighting to cold blues, you’ll drown in this presentation’s gorgeous color palette. And did I mention it’s an animated film?
- Flesh Tones: Haha. What do you want me to say here? Without ruining the film for anyone who has not partaken in this adventure yet I’ll just go on record by saying the flesh tones are all natural and lifelike throughout. How’s that? Good? Great!
- Noise/Artifacts: What do you think? Really? None!
After all that powerful talk about the stellar Blu-ray video presentations up above you didn’t think Warner Bros. was going to skimp in the audio department, did you? Nah! Not possible! Come on! I’ll fill you in on all the details below.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Dynamics: This one is all about the sound effects and the music. Like the song, I’m pleased to report, everything is awesome here! It’s great to hear such a riveting track along with masterfully blended effects injected into the soundscape when even at the most subtle of moments, you’re still immersed in this one.
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE output is huge here. Think of Godzilla in your living room. It’s really that big, rollicking and aggressive in both the explosion and collision department, which the subwoofer channel makes exceptional use out of. And wait until you get a load of Batman’s subwoofers. BOOM! BOOM!
- Surround Sound Presentation: Nicely done as well, the rear channels come to life here gleefully playing with you every chance they get from an approaching LEGO machine to Batman’s boomerang zinging across the screen. The directionality is where it’s at here.
- Dialogue Reproduction: The voices are all loud, clear and intelligible throughout and never really get lost in the shuffle. You can’t ask for anything more, can you?
Before I begin this section I want to say a big special thanks to our awesome Warner Bros. rep for hooking us up with the Everything Is Awesome Edition 3D Blu-ray set. Thank you so much! You truly made my day a special one when I received this at the WSB office! Not only is it packaged with both the 3D and 2D versions of the film on Blu-ray, but you also get the film in Standard Definition on a second DVD disc, a code to redeem an UltraViolet HD Digital Copy, an exclusive Vitruvius LEGO Minifigure, a 3D Emmet photo and a surplus of bonus features to keep you and your kiddies busy for a little bit. Best of all, our beloved Warner Bros. rep threw in an extra Emmet LEGO Minifigure. Thank you again! So below I have listed in no particular order everything you’ll find here in terms of supplemental features that I didn’t list above as well as some exclusive unpacking photos of this “awesome edition.”
- Commentary with Filmmakers and Cast – This selectable audio commentary contains Writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and cast members Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie and Charlie Day. I think just by seeing a few of these cast member names, not to mention them coupled with the subject matter in the film, that you can expect a fun and pleasant time here with this commentary track.
- Batman’s A True Artist (HD, 1:12) – Here we have Batman’s music video for his song about being an orphan. Yes this is real music courtesy of Batman and like the man himself, you can expect it to be quite “dark.” LOL.
- Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops (HD, 1:21) – Next up we have a stop-motion trailer for the next buddy-cop tag-team. Best of all, this trailer is presented via Grindhouse-style. This alone just made this Blu-ray package that much more awesome!
- Enter the Ninjago (HD, 2:13) – Why not add ninjas? That’s what is asked here. The President of Hollywood wants a ninja in The LEGO Movie. He even gives Emmet examples of how a ninja will fit into the film.
- Behind the Scenes: Bringing LEGO to Life (HD, 12:36) – Guess what?! This making of segment is hosted by Emmet himself! He basically interviews the crew here as to how things came to be about. You want to see models crafted and played with as well as computer animators working around the clock? If so, then great! You came to the right place. On an off subject note, Phil Lord looks so young! And did you know the LEGO headquarters is in Denmark? If not, now you do! They even go there in this short documentary and best of all the factory within is full of robots! So I guess you can say everything is awesome here! It’s pretty interesting how they said everything we see on the screen is 100% LEGO blocks. That’s bad-a$$ IMO!
- “Everything Is Awesome” Sing-Along (HD, 3:19) – Oh God! Want to talk about addictions? Try this one out! You’ll get addicted to singing along with one of the most “awesome” movie songs ever. I don’t think you need me to tell you that “everything is awesome” here do you? This extra alone is so very A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
- Behind the Scenes: See It, Build It!: Introduction with Senior Designer Michael Fuller (HD, 0:49) – This one is pretty cool. Below are two videos which basically serve as a how-to guide to help you recreate a prop and a vehicle from the movie with your own LEGOs. How cool is this?!
- Build the Double-Decker Couch (HD, 3:53)
- Built Emmet’s Car (HD, 2:55)
- Behind the Scenes: See It, Build It!: Introduction with Modeling Artist Adam Ryan (HD, 0:41) – Now this is even cooler! You want to design your own props using the software the filmmakers employed in the film? I know you do! Here’s a how-to guide how to build props from the moving using free, downloadable LEGO Digital Designer (aka “LDD”), LEGO’s virtual tool. This is the software the filmmakers used. I’m downloading it now to my Mac! And like above, we now build the same two things in the below videos, but using the computer software to create them.
- Digital Double-Decker Couch (HD, 2:11)
- Digital Emmet Car (HD, 1:51)
- Behind the Scenes: Stories From The Story Team (HD, 4:02) – This featurette takes a look at what a storyboard is and how they were employed in the development of The LEGO Movie. We get a glimpse of early drafts from you guessed it…the storyboards.
- Fan-Made Films: Top-Secret Submissions (HD, 3:51) – The LEGO “Re-brick” community were part of a contest to create and have their LEGO minimovie featured in The LEGO Movie. Here we are shown honorable mentions as well as the three winners.
- Outtakes (HD, 2:33) – Here we have your traditional gag reel with the only exception being that it’s in the LEGO universe where the actors are flubbing their lines. You know you want to smile!
- Additional Promotional Content (HD, 3:51) – Emmet is here to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, the “year of The LEGO Movie.” All in all, this is really just segments of promotional material to you guessed it, “promote” the film.
- Alleyway Test (HD, 0:55) – And here we have the first animation test for the movie.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:20) – These deleted scenes are only animated storyboard versions.
- Featurette: Dream Job: Meet the LEGO Builders (HD, 13:28) – Here wet to meet the real Master Builders at LEGO. They are even certified. How cool is that? Now here’s another career I want in life! You can tell these guys really enjoy what they do in life and honestly, why shouldn’t they? What a dream job! This is really an amazing extra to behold.
And now, moving on here, we’re almost done. But wait! I have one last surprise for you! It’s been awhile since I last did any unboxing pictures, but this “awesome” edition was just begging me to take its picture. I hope you enjoy these exclusive unboxing pics below as much as I did opening it up. I can’t wait for you to get your hands on this set!
Here’s the front of the Awesome Edition packaging and our Emmet Minifigure
Here’s the back of the Awesome Edition packaging before it’s even opened!
The 3D and 2D Blu-rays and DVD are housed in the included Blu-ray case!
Here’s what the back of the Blu-ray case’s cover art looks like.
Ah! The plastic seal has finally been broken! Let the discs come out and play!
If you made it this far in the review, I don’t think I need to tell you where your butt belongs this coming Tuesday, June 17th. If you haven’t pre-ordered it already from somewhere or bought it digitally, then you need to be outside lining up with the masses before the doors open at your favorite brick and mortar to pick up The LEGO Movie on Blu-ray or DVD. I know if I wasn’t reviewing it, that’s where I would be before work that day. Make no exception, EVERYTHING IS AWESOME here from the story and AV presentation all the way down to the extras you’ll grab and the pride you will harness and possess from simply just owning this gem. You cannot refute the facts. The LEGO Movie is a crowd pleasing good time for both young and old audiences alike and magic like this just doesn’t transpire all the time. You got to “seize” the moment as Eminem would say. Check out the videos below for even more enjoyment and thanks for stopping by and reading my review. I appreciate it!