Monday, 3 November 2014

The LEGO Movie Blu-ray Review

The LEGO Movie Blu-ray comes jam-packed with special features, with extras included in the “Everything is Awesome” edition. So what’s on the disc, and how does it stack up?

The LEGO Movie is a treat on repeat viewings. As well as everything that is great about it in the cinema, fans can now pause and double-check whether they really saw what they thought they did. As I already reviewed the movie here, the rest of this review will look at what special features are included on The LEGO Movie Blu-ray. The version reviewed here is the “Everything is Awesome” edition.

In the package: DVD, Blu-Ray, 3D Blu-Ray, Ultraviolet Copy and Unlock Code for The LEGO Movie Video Game. Good range of versions, little more to say here. The designs on the discs are nice and sleek.

Vitruvius Minifigure – Choosing the non-blind Vitruvius mini-figure makes sense as he barely has any screen time but it fills a gap in the collection. As with the rest of The LEGO Movie mini-figures, it is detailed perfectly to match watch we see on screen.

Emmet 3D ‘Photo’ – This is a little odd, and looks good as part of the package but is more puzzling once opened. It can be stood like a photo frame and is a big, smiling Emmet. Children may well enjoy popping it on their set of drawers.

On the disc:

Audio Commentary – There are fun facts peppered throughout, but it’s also lots of fun as the cast of the movie bounce off one another and provide lots of laughs.

Out-takes – These are fun, but seems a little derivative of what Pixar used to do. Alongside a lesser animated movie, this may not seem such a problem but The LEGO Movie has created a very high standard to live up to.

Michelangelo and Abraham Lincoln: History Cops – This is a fun stop motion parody, imagining the two historic figures as a buddy cop pairing. It’s a parody of awful clich├ęd American cop shows, and aptly features classic style LEGO cars and ‘damaged’ film stock as if’s been sat in the bowels of a studio for years.

Batman’s A True Artist – Another stop motion feature set to the full version of Batman’s sing from The LEGO Movie. It uses the full palette of LEGO bricks, including classic road base plates. The music video fits the song perfectly, and it’s great to have the sing in full independent of the main feature.

Enter the Ninjago – This is an amusing way of introducing the Ninjago movie, and makes fun of the film industry. It’s animated as well as the feature, and sees Emmet being bothered by a movie executive. If in The LEGO Movie itself there are scenes and gags that see to be rather meta and poking fun at LEGO, this seems to be in the same vein - “Kids love Ninjas, it’ a sad fact of life,” says the Hollywood exec – very much like what LEGO market research said about Ninjago. 

Everything is Awesome Sing-a-Long – This special feature has to be inevitable. There are some cool unused snippets as well as clips from the movie. 

Build Emmet’s Car and the Double Decker Couch – These are a great idea, as it would be a shame to have such a big budget LEGO Blu-ray without any building instructions. It is LEGO after all! Making it extra interesting for super nerds is to see them built both physically and digitally, allowing for comparison.

Stories from the Story Team – This uses the storyboards with commentary from storyboard artists explaining what the scene was due to be. It also gives a little insight into the proess, with the team explaining thing like temporary tracks. It’s nice to see the rough and ready storyboard art, and to see some of the visual ideas for what would have been. 

Bringing LEGO to Life – This briefly shows the process from storyboarding to release, presented by Emmett. Seeing Phil Lord and Chris Miller visiting Billund is a fun peek into the LEGO Factory and fanboys will enjoy spotting classic sets around LEGO HQ. The level of detail in everything that’s designed, the amount of thought that goes into each decision makes it clear why the finished product is so polished. 

Fan Films: Top Secret Submissions – This is one of the finest features on the disc. During production of The LEGO Movie, a contest was held for fans to enter stop motion videos using LEGO, with the winning contributions featured on screen. In The LEGO Movie, they are only glimpsed – this extra shows the winning submissions and those that came close in full. It’s great that the winners get their moment in the limelight.

Additional Promotional Content - This include several specially animated clips that were used to promote the film on YouTube. They are quite amusing, although some more so than others. It is handy to have them all in one place.

Alleyway Animation Test – This is a short opportunity to see how scenes are initially animated and develop. The slight differences in dialogue/action to final version are interesting, and the vehicle at this stage is strangely reminiscent of General Grievous’ Wheel Bike from Star Wars!

 Deleted Scenes – These are all presented as storyboards. It is really interesting seeing how things started, it gives some hints as to what the movie was in development, suggesting that a lot changed during the course of production. For example, Vitruvius is even wackier in these deleted scenes.

Featurette: Dream Job: Meeting the LEGO Builders – It’s a travesty that this feature is only on the “Everything is Awesome” edition, it should be on every version. This looks at the collaboration between the LEGO design team and movie production designers. The LEGO Designers worked on ensuring the movie designs were translatable into toys, that they were actually buildable. A particularly interesting snippet shows how LEGO designers were asked to build vehicles for the final battle, and each has a story behind their design. It’s very inspirational to think that within that final battle scenes there are so many mini-stories hidden away. This feature also allows the viewer to see a bit more detail of the physical built LEGO world from the live action scenes. What comes across clearly is the joy of everyone involved, and it makes sense as to why The LEGO Movie turned out so well. 

Overall, the Blu-ray provides an excellent raft of varied special features. The only thing missing is a more comprehensive making of showing the process from start to finish. That aside, there is variety here and enough of the behind the scenes side is covered that fans will know more about the production. The LEGO shorts are fun and imaginative. This Blu-ray provides plenty of entertainment after The LEGO Movie end credits have rolled.

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