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Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell
Writing Credits:
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

The story of a nobody who saved everybody.

An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied 'Special', is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.

Box Office:
$60 million.
Opening Weekend
$69,050,279 on 3,775 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 6/17/2014

• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and Actors Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Will Arnett, Charlie Day and Elizabeth Banks
• “Batman’s a True Artist” Short
• “Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops” Short
• “Enter the Ninjago” Short
• “Bringing Lego to Life” Featurette
• Sing-Along
• “See It, Build It!” Featurettes
• “Stories from the Story Team” Featurette
• Fan-Made Films
• Outtakes
• Additional Promotional Content
• “Alleyway Test”
• Deleted Scenes
• “Dream Job: Meet the Lego Builders” Featurette
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Lego Movie [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 8, 2014)

Though many disparaged its apparent cross-promotional origins, The Lego Movie turned into one of 2014’s bigger hits. With a relatively cheap $60 million budget, Lego snared a solid $253 million in the US, a figure good enough to make it number two for 2014 as of early June.

In a prologue, evil Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) attempts to obtain the powerful “Kragle” from the good wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). He succeeds but not before Vitruvius offers a prophecy of a “Special” who will eventually find the “Piece of Resistance” to stop Lord Business and restore order.

With that we jump ahead eight and a half years later to meet Emmet (Chris Pratt), a completely ordinary construction worker. On the job site, he meets a rebel who calls herself “Wyldstyle” (Elizabeth Banks). She comes to believe that Emmet fulfills the prophecy as “The Special” and encourages him to break out of his conformist existence.

Coming into Lego, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord had directed two films: 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 2012’s 21 Jump Street. I called Cloudy “a smart, clever experience with many laughs along the way”, while I referred to Jumpo Street as “a fun romp”.

That set the bar for Lego fairly high – maybe not Coppola-in-the-Seventies high, but high enough to create certain expectations for the film. Abetted by nearly uniform rave reviews, I figured Lego would be as good as the prior Lord/Miller flicks, and possibly better.

Alas, my dreams failed to come true, as Lego delivers a watchable little comedy adventure but not one that I think excels. On the positive side, the actors have fun with their roles and add zest to the production. We get a good assortment of talented performers, and they all being lively takes on their parts.

In addition, I like the visuals found in the film. It uses the Lego motif in a creative manner and comes with a real visual punch. Lego moves at a brisk pace and comes with a number of lively moments.

So why does the end result leave me oddly cold? Sometimes I see movies that appear to come with all the requisite components but the final product just doesn’t gel like it should, and that’s what happens with Lego.

Mostly this relates to story and characters. In terms of narrative, Lego riffs heavily on The Matrix but largely uses its plot as an excuse to take its characters to a wide mix of nutty situations. That becomes a decent framework but it means the story fails to become especially rich and the characters lack a lot of personality. Again, the actors lend a hand, but the roles remain a bit lackluster and feel like they exist more to serve the situations than anything else.

The narrative also suffers due to the movie’s mixed messages. Much of the time, it appears to rail against the monotony of following the rules; it assails us with heavy-handed comments about how unthinking acquiescence is bad and how coloring outside the lines is good.

Both of which can be true, but the movie’s one-dimensional, ham-fisted view of the theme makes it tough to take, and matters get worse as the film goes, largely because the message becomes muddled. After a relentless assault on conformity, the flick eventually decides that maybe playing by the rules isn’t so bad after all.

Buh-what? On one hand, I appreciate the film’s attempts to balance its one-sided nature, but this change comes out of nowhere and seems to contradict much of what precedes it. The movie never joins the differing themes in a satisfying manner, so it ends up as jumbled and unsure of what it wants to tell us.

In addition, Lego goes off the rails for its finale. To avoid spoilers, I don’t want to say too much, but I will note that the film abandons its already-established universe and does so in an unsatisfying manner. This becomes such a flawed choice that it threatens to ruin everything it established.

Not that I think it established all that much in the preceding period. When I saw Lego theatrically, I left it disappointed, but I hoped that a second screening would reveal its charms more clearly.

It didn’t, as my additional viewing left me with the same opinion as the first. The Lego Movie shows a lot of creativity but it simply doesn’t entertain as well as I’d like. It comes as a significant comedic step down from the hilarity found in the directors’ two prior films.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

The Lego Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though attractive, the transfer wasn’t quite as strong as I’d anticipate.

Sharpness was usually positive, as most of the movie exhibited fine clarity and delineation. However, some shots looked a smidgen soft. These examples were far from being problematic, and I suspect they were intentional; I’d guess that the movie got rendered a little soft to make the inherently plastic look of the material seem more organic.

Whatever the case, the movie may not have been super-sharp, but it was more than adequate in that realm. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source defects also failed to materialize in this clean presentation.

Colors looked solid. With its wide variety of realms, the movie boasted a broad palette, and the hues consistently came across as vivid and dynamic. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed clear and full. I wish the transfer had been a little more precise – even if I do suspect the light softness was intentional – but it became a consistently good presentation.

I felt very pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Lego. An action-comedy that didn’t skimp on the “action” side of things, all of the shenanigans ensured that the mix offered plenty of involving material. The chaos filled out the spectrum in an active, involving manner that created a lot of exciting audio.

All five channels featured many unique elements, and they fit together in a fine manner. Even quieter scenes used the soundscape in a satisfying way. Music featured nice stereo imaging, and we found some localized dialogue.

Audio quality also was very good. Speech seemed crisp and distinctive, as I noticed no flaws like edginess. Music seemed warm and full, while effects added a real bang to the proceedings. Those elements showed good clarity and accuracy, and they offered tight, deep bass as well. The track seemed vibrant and dynamic as it accentuated the movie in a satisfying manner.

Alongside the movie, we can check out an audio commentary with writers/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and actors Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Will Arnett, Charlie Day and Elizabeth Banks. Banks joins the chat via phone after about nine minutes – and leaves around 47 minutes - while the others sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. The track looks at cast and performances, visual effects and animation, story/characters, Lego influences, music, and other elements.

Don’t expect a ton of movie-making details here, as the conversation tends toward comedy. Lord and Miller occasionally try to ground it, but mostly the actors joke around and provide attempts at humor. These work to a degree, but I admit I’d like to learn more about the film. We get a smattering of good details but not enough to make this a particularly informative piece.

Three short films follow. We find “Batman’s a True Artist” (1:12), “Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops” (1:21), and “Enter the Ninjago” (2:13). “Artist” gives us a NIN-style music video, and “Cops” casts its leads in a bad 70s-influenced police movie. “Ninjjago” introduces a ninja character into Lego. None of these seem remarkable, but they offer some amusement.

For a behind the scenes featurette, we go to the 12-minute, 36-second Bringing Lego to Life. Along with narration from “Emmet’, it includes notes from Lord, Miller, Pratt, Arnett, Banks, production designer Grant Freckelton, additional editors Todd Hansen and Doug Nicholas, producer Dan Lin, Lego Group VP of Design Matthew Ashton, animation supervisor/co-editor/animation co-director Matthew McKay, CG supervisor Aidan Sarsfield, associate producer Amber Naismith, and actor Will Ferrell. We learn about character and production design, storyboarding and editing, cast and performances, research and animation, and promotion.

“Life” goes for too cutesy a tone, as it invests heavily in an “Emmet is real” concept. That gets old quickly and makes it a little tough to wade through the actual movie-making info. We do find some decent notes, though, so they make the show worth the effort.

The movie’s ubiquitous song “Everything Is Awesome” gets a Sing-Along. This goes for three minutes, 19 seconds and edits movie scenes into a music video with the lyrics on display as well. It’s a cute compilation but nothing great.

See It, Build It! delivers a collection of four featurettes. Bracketed by intros from senior designer Michael Fuller (0:49) and modeling artist Adam Ryan (0:41), the four segments fill a total of 10 minutes, 50 seconds. Fuller shows us how to use actual Lego bricks to build two movie props, while Ryan demonstrates how those items can be created in the computer with Lego Digital Designer. Both men give us reasonably enjoyable looks at the nuts and bolts of the props.

With the four-minute, two-second Stories from the Story Team, we hear from storyboard artists Theresa Cullen, Yori Mochizuki, David Tuber, Craig Paluszek and Craig Berry, and script supervisor Kelly Lafferty. They chat about storyboards, deleted sequences and a mix of story issues. The show takes on an anecdotal form and delivers a nice mix of tales.

Under Fan-Made Films, we get three minutes, 51 seconds of footage. Pratt introduces this domain and we find quick snippets of six shorts along with full-length versions of the top three winners. These offer clever stop-motion efforts.

Next we shift to Outtakes. This two-minute, 33-second reel takes improv moments from the actors and animates them for an entertaining reel. Additional Promotional Content occupies three minutes, 51 seconds with a mix of little character bits used to sell the flick. All prove to be amusing.

Alleyway Test lasts 55 seconds and shows the movie’s initial animation trial. That makes it worth a look.

Two Deleted Scenes take up a total of three minutes, 20 seconds. The first shows Emmet in a holding cell, while the second offers an interrogation scene with Wyldstyle. Both come in the form of storyreels, and both seem entertaining.

Finally, we get the 13-minute, 28-second Dream Job: Meet the Lego Builders. It includes comments from Pratt, Fuller, Ashton, Lin, Miller, Lord, Ferrell, executive producer Seanne Winslow, Lego Group master model builder Paul Chrzan, Lego Group senior designer Marcos Bessa and actor Jadon Sand. The program shows how Lego designers helped create the props and sets and characters from the film. This turns into a fairly informative piece.

An additional disc provides a DVD copy of Lego. It includes the audio commentary but none of the other extras. The package also throws in an exclusive Vitruvius mini-figure.

While it brings us a moderately enjoyable action-comedy, I don’t think The Lego Movie turns into anything special. It keeps us occupied but lacks the wit and spark I expected. The Blu-ray comes with pretty good picture and audio as well as a satisfactory allotment of bonus materials. I don’t dislike the film, but it remains a disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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