Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Who knew THE LEGO MOVIE would turn out so good, let alone be a Pixar-level animated movie?
Between CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, 21 JUMP STREET and this, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are the kings of turning bad-sounding ideas in to amazing movies. Unlike their previous films, Legos really had no underlying story attached to it. Yet with a broad, limitless canvas they created a focused film with great characters and big laughs, centered on the themes and excitement of creation and world-building. The final product is quotable, rewatchable and one of the most fun times I've had at the movies this year.
As a brand, THE LEGO MOVIE also lets Lord and Miller toy with various franchises. (Pun intended.) The geek in me still can't comprehend the fact that there's a film in existence featuring Batman, Gandalf, Han Solo, Abraham Lincoln and Shaquille O'Neal as characters. The filmmakers take the various Lego licenses and mold them all in to one cohesive plot, making the most of the random characters' styles and abilities. There are just as many smart gags for grown up viewers as there are ones aimed at their children. And best of all is the cast they assembled to bring them all to life—tons of funny, talented comic actors like Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and many more. (Even Billy Dee Williams returns as Lando.)
Perhaps most importantly, this is actually a toy movie about the toy. [SPOILER] The live-action element explaining the world and dynamic of the characters promotes it as not just a product but as an important creative outlet for children. This makes the film not just brilliant marketing tool for the Lego brand, but also a pretty great story with a solid message for kids as well. It's a perfect example of how creativity and love/understanding of a property can be translated to the big screen in ways that don't just feel like an obvious cash grab.
The Blu-Ray set includes a DVD and Digital Copy of the movie, as well as the following special features, which are more quantity over quality:
Commentary by directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and actors Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Charlie Day and Alison Brie: This lively chat is the best part of the Blu-Ray, featuring lots of great info on the film, as well as hilarious tangents from the assorted funny people. It's also worth it to hear Lord and Miller point out the unbelievable amount of easter eggs you probably never noticed.
Bringing LEGO to Life (12:55): This Making Of doesn't go as in-depth in to production as it could have, instead opting for a kid-friendly angle from Emmet's point of view (featuring narration by Chris Pratt).
Deleted Scenes (5:30): Two very early scenes (before the voice cast was set) featuring Emmet in jail and Wildstyle and a lie detector. Nothing missed in the final film.
Outtakes (2:33): A handful of manufactured but amusing bloopers in the style of early Pixar.
Shorts (3:00): A series of clever, funny, but sadly brief short films featuring a Batman music video, Michaelangelo & Lincoln: History Cops trailer, and Ninjago version of the movie.
Stories from the Story Team (4:02): Watch the evolution of the film's plot and script from storyboards and pre-viz.
See It, Build It! (12:18): These six featurettes focus on the toys themselves, as members of the Lego design team walk you through how to build specific models from the movie.
"Everything is Awesome" Sing-Along (3:20): In case you don't already have this song stuck in your head, get ready to sing it karaoke-style.
Top-Secret Submissions (3:50): Chris Pratt hosts these clips of some fan-made films that won a contest to appear in the actual movie.
Alleyway Test (0:53): Watch the first test animation featuring the motorcycle-building scene.
Everything about THE LEGO MOVIE is awesome. Cleverly executed with a hilarious voice cast and fun script, this is probably a best case scenario for adapting a toy property in to a motion picture. Given time, this might be considered an animated classic. Sadly, the Blu-Ray isn't as great for adults with few quality special features amongst the kiddie filler.
Extra Tidbit: Despite being famous for his voiceover work, this is actually Morgan Freeman's first animated film.