The LEGO Movie 3D review

By all rights The LEGO Movie should be terrible. If Michael Bay can only manage to make one watchable flick based on a toy range featuring giant transforming robots, what hope did anybody have in making a film based on a famous range of interlocking plastic bricks?

But against all the odds, The LEGO Movie isn't just a good film, it's a great one. The credit for this belongs almost entirely to writing and directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who have previous form working cinematic miracles with 21 Jump Street. As with that action-comedy, under Lord and Miller's guidance what could have been little more than an unappetising cash-grab is instead a fast and funny satire that clearly enjoys playing to genre conventions just as much as it does messing with them.

The basic plot is typical 'Hero's Journey' stuff, with ordinary LEGO minifigure Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt) being mistaken for the prophesied 'Special' who can stop the nefarious Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from unleashing the mysterious doomsday weapon known only as the 'Kragle'. Joining Emmet on his quest are Master Builders Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and a host of other minifigure misfits including Batman (Will Arnett), Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie), '80s spaceman Benny (Charlie Day) and cyborg pirate Metal Beard (Nick Offerman).

What follows is a riotous blast of pure, unbridled imagination played out as a battle between order and chaos. It's also far more subversive than any glossy studio flick usually is – but in a way it's only fitting that a toy that positively encourages you to disobey the instructions and build whatever you want should have a movie that approaches the perils of consumer culture and corporate homogeny in exactly the same way.

Initially conceived in a boardroom as an extended commercial for a toy line, with The LEGO Movie Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have put together an ultra-smart celebration of the power of imagination. The is one animated gem that was definitely built to last.

Picture: This release includes two discs, one for the 2D presentation, the other housing the 3D version, and either way you're in for a treat.

The MVC 2.40:1 1080p stereoscopic encode is a stunner, giving a palpable sense of depth and space to every environment and the CG-rendered LEGO characters and blocks used to build them. Thankfully, the film doesn't overload on negative-parallax effects either, being more concerned with drawing you into its world rather than poking you in the eye.

Indeed, it's the smaller things that really impress, such as the textures evident in the tiny chips and scratches that run across the plastic characters.

The 'flat' AVC-encoded 2.40:1 1080p transfer is equally beautiful. Colours are brightly saturated, blacks look infinitely deep and detailing is about as good as it gets in a Full HD transfer.

Cementing these two BD transfers as top-tier is a complete absence of technical issues such as artefacting, banding and edge enhancement.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: The LEGO Movie's barnstorming DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack provides a reference-quality experience, combining accurate placement and movement around the whole soundstage with well-articulated and intelligible dialogue.

Bass response is big and booming, giving scenes of explosive destruction plenty of power and weight. It's also a treat to find a film that makes such playful and aggressive use of the surround channels, with the sound design going all out to match the onscreen chaos.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: A commentary track finds co-writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller joined by voice actors Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Will Arnett and Charlie Day (plus, eventually, Elizabeth Banks via telephone). They seem to be having a fun time watching the film, cracking wise and pointing out hidden gags. It's an amusing listen, but doesn't reveal much about the nuts and bolts of the film's production or its origins.

The remainder of the extra features are short spoof videos, fan films and kid-friendly LEGO tutorials. So, just like the movie itself, none of the Blu-ray's extras take themselves too seriously. Something of a missed opportunity.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Reference-quality picture and sound ensure that this 3D Blu-ray is among our new favourite toys

The LEGO Movie 3D, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £28 Approx