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Zany "LEGO Movie" is totally (you guessed it) awesome (Blu-ray review)

The Lego Movie

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The LEGO Movie (2014)

The LEGO Movie poster
Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures

Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman (voice talents)

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As the evil Lord Business (Ferrell) plots to destroy the world with a powerful weapon called "the Kragle," the fate of the universe lies in the plastic, yellow hands of dim-witted construction worker Emmet Brickowski (Pratt). Emmet, an ordinary citizen with a generic face and nary a good idea to his credit, accidentally stumbles across the fabled "Piece of Resistance," leading some to mistakenly believe that Emmet is a legendary hero whose coming was foretold long ago. Cornered into accepting the role, Emmet and a rag-tag team of LEGO characters unite to disarm the Kragle and thwart Lord Business' dastardly plan once and for all.

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The Breakdown:

Let's get one thing out of the way, first and foremost: though "The LEGO Movie" seems like a movie that only children would like, that could not be more inaccurate. Let's break it down.

The animation in "The LEGO Movie" is a blast to watch and should accomplish two goals: the bright colors and the silly characters will enthrall younger viewers, while the creativity of it all should earn the attention of adults. The combination of computer-generated images and LEGO-style visuals is one of the most unique concepts to grace the silver screen in years. Watching the characters construct, destroy, and re-build their environment and modes of transportation is fun and the frustrating lack of real-life LEGO flexibility provides for a few on-screen gags throughout the movie.

"The LEGO Movie" is funny. Not unlike many Pixar movies before it, it manages to blend an appropriate mix of zany action and slapstick humor for kids with a bevy of pop culture references, clever one-line zingers (most of which are spewed by Will Arnett's hilarious LEGO Batman) in the dialogue, and awesome LEGO cameos, which more mature audiences should appreciate.

With that being said, the movie's wacky, obnoxious sense of humor will undoubtedly be a little too much for some people. In fact, there may be some movie lovers out there end up totally hating "The LEGO Movie." It's a different kind of humor - that's for sure - but (and this may be the most important point) it's clean humor and is absolutely appropriate for all ages. Plus, it's worth mentioning that the movie still maintains its sparkling rating of 96% approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

Even those with the hardest of hearts will have a hard time fighting away "The LEGO Movie" soundtrack with its polarizing hit, "Everything is Awesome," which you may find yourself singing weeks later. It's a little bit annoying and a lot a bit catchy.

But perhaps the greatest thing about the film is a surprising plot twist that occurs in the movie's"third act." Without spoiling anything, the tone of the story shifts pretty dramatically as the movie suddenly becomes more meaningful and profound, drawing audiences in with a heart-warming message about courage, creativity, and the importance of playtime.

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The Verdict:

If anyone who saw the commercials or theatrical trailers is anything like the Salt Lake City DVD Examiner, they likely thought that "The LEGO Movie" looked like the absolute stupidest movie ever created. In a few words, those trailers did this movie an enormous disservice. If you refused to see this show because of its previews, maybe lower your expectations a bit and give it a shot. It's highly probable that you'll be blown away at how good this movie is. Additionally, if you ever owned a set of LEGOs as a kid, you owe it to yourself to spent an hour and a half checking this thing out. There are some great inside jokes that longtime LEGO lovers will get a good laugh at. If you've got little kids or nieces and nephews or grandkids - or if you're planning on having any in the future - this is a movie you need to head on over to the store and buy. It'll be 20 bucks well spent because those little ones will finally have a reason to stop watching "Frozen." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is awesome.

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Similar movies: "Toy Story" (1995), "Wreck-It Ralph" (2012), "Despicable Me 2" (2013)

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Blu-ray bonus features:

- Audio in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

- Subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

- Optional audio commentary with filmmakers and cast

- "Batman's a True Artist": A... music video, of sorts? It was allegedly made by a 6-year-old, but it shows a quick shot of a LEGO Batman with a LEGO shark biting his leg as he dangles from a helicopter, and anyone familiar with the 1966 "Batman" film should get a chuckle out of that.

- "Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops": A short trailer for a fictitious upcoming crime drama starring historic LEGO counterparts.

- "Enter the Ninjago": Emmet finds out that important parts of his movie have been edited to include ninjas. ... Also, a teaser for the as-of-yet-untitled LEGO spin-off movie featuring their Ninjago toy line.

- "Behind the Scenes: Bringing LEGO to Life": Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, and others appear in this featurette which shows a behind-the-scenes look at voice acting, animation, and even a field trip to LEGO Corporate.

- "Everything is Awesome" Sing-along: Because you know you want to.

- "Behind the Scenes: See It, Build It!": A couple quick featurettes hosted by an animator and a LEGO designer who who show how Emmet's couch and car were created digitally - and then re-created with actual LEGO bricks. Anyone can download LEGO Digital Designer at ldd.lego.com.

- "Behind the Scenes: Stories from the Story Team": Storyboard artists and other staff members discuss the art of storyboarding and share some silly experiences from their time in production.

- "Fan-Made Films: Top-Secret Submissions": LEGO held a contest that allowed fans to submit 15-to-30-second short stories made using LEGO bricks. Some of the contest winners were used in the film - and you can watch them here in this little featurette.

- Outtakes: A scripted, yet funny set of outtakes from some of the cast's more prominent characters.

- Additional Promotional Content: Several made-for-TV teasers, including an extended "auditions" reel.

- "Alleyway Test": The first official animation test for "The LEGO Movie."

- Deleted scenes

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Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures

Running time: 100 minutes

MPAA rating: PG for "mild action and rude humor." That's about it. A few jokes about bottoms, but nothing inherently offensive.

Costars Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day

Blu-ray release date: June 17, 2014

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