One of the most loved toys for children, and indeed some adults, is Lego. When news broke that Warner Brothers were working on a feature film called The Lego Movie there were a lot of excited people the world over, and in a surprise to Warner Brothers (because they signed half the rights over Village Roadshow), the film became a monster hit making just under $US600 million worldwide. It's now available on Blu-Ray (in both 2D and 3D versions), and we've taken a look.
The Lego Movie follows the story of Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, President Business, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.
Ever since the first Toy Story was released in theatres I've loved CG animated films - it probably also helps working with computers, understanding the amount of work that goes into creating the images and animation. In recent years however the genre has lost some of its lustre, however The Lego Movie not only looks fresh with its deliberate stop-motion appearance, but also the use of realistic filming techniques and lenses.
Also impressive is the cast with some wonderful voice acting. Emmit is voiced by Chris Pratt (who is about to become a household name through Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy), Will Ferrell plays the main bad guy as only he can, Elizabeth Banks is the feisty Wyldstyle, Will Arnett is perfect as the hilarious Batman, Alison Brie as the bizarre Unikitty, Liam Neeson as the Good Cop/Bad Cop, and Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius. That's the tip of the iceberg as there are plenty of smaller cameos from actors such as Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill among others.
Without providing any spoilers it's clear that the conclusion of the film will polarize opinion - personally we loved it. It was a risk that few filmmakers would take, but it is also a standout moment in the film that lifts it well above many other animated films.
While it's pretty obvious that in many ways this is an "advertisement" for Lego, that doesn't stop this from being a very entertaining family friendly film which has a twist at the end which we didn't see coming.
Besides the lossless audio track The Lego Movie includes an English Descriptive Narration track encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps. The disc is pretty light on subtitles too with only a single English (for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) track which is accurate to the dialogue.
Commentary with Filmmakers and Cast: Directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord are joined by actors Allison Brie, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Charlie Day and even Elizabeth Banks phones in while they are doing the commentary too! It's a pretty good track which provides continual banter although there's a little too much describing the scenes, rather than production detail.
Michaelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops (1:21/HD): A fake trailer for a film starring the two historic characters. Occasionally amusing, but not groundbreaking.
Enter the Ninjago (2:13/HD): This is a pretty funny little film with a movie producer trying to add a Ninja to a film. It does give away some film plot points so watch after the main feature.
Behind the Scenes: Bringing Lego to Life (12:36/HD): This is the main featuette showing the development of the film and while it's still aimed at youngsters there is plenty of behind the scenes footage and discussion about the creation of the film.
"Everything is Awesome" Sing Along (3:19/HD): The theme song from the film gets a film clip with the words so you can sing along!
Behind the Scenes: See It, Build It! (12:20/HD): Here is a series of clips describing how the Double-Decker Couch and Emmet's Car were built both physically and digitally for the film. Included is "Introduction with Senior Designer Michael Fuller" (0:49), "Build the Double-Decker Couch" (3:53), "Build Emmet's Car" (2:55), "Introduction with Modeling Artist Adam Ryan" (0:41), "Digital Double- Decker Couch" (2:11), and "Digital Emmet's Car" (1:51).
Fan-Made Films: Top Secret Submissions (3:51/HD): The filmmakers of the feature film ran a competition for the best fan-made films. The winning one is actually quite superb.
Outtakes (2:33/HD): A series of "blooper" clips from the film. It's pretty funny at times.
Additional Promotional Content (3:51/HD): A series of promotional clips for the film, some of which are rather amusing including the "Audition" tapes.
Alleyway Test (0:55/HD): It's brief but is the first test of the animation and shows Wyldstyle building the motorcycle.
Deleted Scenes (3:20/HD): Two deleted scenes are presented here in storyboard format. Nothing too special or exciting.
Review By: Dave Warner