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THE LEGO MOVIE
Everything is Awesome Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Voices: Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Will Farrell
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 101 Minutes
Release Date: June 17, 2014

I ONLY WORK IN BLACK!...and sometimes very, very dark gray...”

Film ****

I confess, I didn't think The LEGO Movie would be any good.

I mean, it's hardly the first time LEGO figures and worlds were presented in animated form. There have been many specials, TV shows and videos featuring them, but none of any interest to me, who dismissed them as little more than marketing tie-ins.

But this movie...wow. I don't even know where to begin. I don't know how to express my sheer, unbridled, enthusiasm for this film, nor how to put into words my amazement that such a work of undiluted imagination could actually be based on a toy.

Or maybe the latter is really the point. Yes, I grew up with LEGO toys. I loved them. My favorite was the Beta-One Command Base, populated with little 80s astronauts just like the character in this film. LEGO was great for the imagination...you build your set according to the directions, and that was great fun. Then you start turning the set into something more amazing, crazy, and surreal than was ever intended, and that was even MORE fun.

That is actually the premise here. The leader of this world is one President Business (Farrell), who is responsible for the architecture of everything we see, but who has become increasingly frustrated by those who don't want to follow his instructions and build away on their own.

One loyal follower is Emmett (Platt), a plucky construction worker who builds by design and has a cheery disposition, but not an original thought in his head. Unaware of the growing conflict between the Master Builders and President Business, he is recruited by the other side, who think he may be the answer to a propechy.

It's not much hope...Emmett has never built anything without instructions, while the other Builders create at will. Thankfully, he's not alone...there is Wyldstyle (Banks), Batman (Arnett), and even the sage leader Vitruvius (Freeman) on his side, against the likes of Good Cop/Bad Cop (a hilarious performance by Neeson) and President Business' army of Micro-Managers.

The plot is simple, but what's not so simple is the amazing look and feel of this picture, which really does bring LEGO to life like never before, not to mention the cleverness, the humor, and the twists and surprises, none of which will be revealed by me. I will say that President Business has the ultimate weapon in his arsenal, which I won't name...but if you stop and think about it, you'll agree...there's really only one weapon that would be terrifying in a LEGO world.

Everything about this movie is incredibly entertaining. It sustains an amazing energy level throughout, and just when you think you've gotten a handle on the world, the characters, and everything on screen, it opens up even more and more, revealing more fun and more surprises.

It's been a long time since a movie actually made me want to stand up and cheer, even in my own living room. The LEGO Movie is an unqualified triumph of imagination, humor, and gleeful childhood wonder like you've never seen before. I, for one, can't wait to watch it again.

Video ****

I'm so glad I got to see this film in 3D form; it's definitely one of the year's best. Colorful, fast-moving, and wondrous, the high definition imagery is so perfect throughout you can see the famous LEGO printed on the nubs of the bricks. And the added dimension just increases the feel that you are in a world of real, tangible toys that can and DO do anything. Perfection!

Audio ****

This is a movie that hardly ever rests, and the uncompressed surround track delivers the action, music (by Mark Mothersbaugh) and comedy with incredible zest and zeal. The surrounds are in constant use, and the dynamic range is as good as any full-fledged action movie of the day.

Features ****

All the extras are on the 2D Blu-ray. They begin with a terrific and entertaining commentary track by co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, with cast members Chris Pratt, Will Arnett and Alison Brie...a very fun listen!

Many of the extras are geared toward fun...one is a “trailer” for a new movie starring Abraham Lincoln and Michelangelo (in LEGO form, of course), as “History Police”. There is a collection of outtakes and some deleted scenes, and a short documentary on the making of the film.

Oh, and more...there's “Batman: A True Artist”, in which Batman (still voiced by Arnett) opens up about his dark side...hilarious. “Enter the Ninjago” shows the movie being pitched in a different way...as a Ninja flick! There is also a sing-along to the annoyingly infectious “Everything is Awesome” theme song...I'm asking your forgiveness in advance.

Finally, you can see some fan submissions of LEGO animations. In addition, this “Everything is Awesome” edition includes not only the DVD and 2D and 3D Blu-rays, but a nice package including a collectible figure from the movie.

Summary:

I loved The LEGO Movie. Loved it, loved it, loved it. It is imagination, comedy, and visual style and spectacle unleashed, and not to mention, one of the best Blu-ray offerings of the year. Absolutely, unequivocally and unapologetically recommended for EVERYONE.

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