- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2014

A celebration of teamwork and colorful building blocks came together in an addictively charming film earlier this year.

Now, The Lego Movie: Everything is Awesome Edition (Warner Home Video, Rated G, $59.98) arrives in the Blu-ray format to further give viewers unlimited, high-definition opportunities to admire the computer-generated craftsmanship of animators and the actual toy builders that assembled this wonderful universe.

Oh yeah, the film also has a clever, cross-generational friendly plot and enough cool vehicles, contraptions and minifigures to make a Lego fan drool.

Anyone with a passion for a highly sophisticated, interlocking plastic brick system, as well as folks with a love for popular culture, will immediately appreciate the story of Emmet Brickowski.

This crushingly average, construction worker from Bricksburg enjoys watching his favorite TV show “Where are My Pants” and working with his buddies as they carefully follow clearly illustrated instruction manuals to exist.

His life is forever changed through a cruel, sticky twist of fate that brands him “special.”

Emmet’s subsequent journey made for an epic, action-packed adventure to restore creativity and imagination across the lands — with help from a fiery female named Wyldstyle, a blind bearded wizard named Vitruvius, Batman (yes, the Caped Crusader) and a double-decker couch.

The team explores many a land such as the Old West and too-wild-to-believe Cloud Cuckoo Land (imagine the Mos Eisley spaceport while on acid) to reunite the Master Builders and stop the grand scheme of President Business to deliver a stifling surprise to citizens on Taco Tuesday.

What could have been simply a giant and lazy commercial for the Lego brand managed to turn into a humorous and heartwarming affair thanks to a dynamite voice over cast and story by directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

The cast includes Chris Pratt as Emmet, Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle, Will Arnett as the not so Dark Knight, Will Ferrell as Lord Business, Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius and Liam Neeson with a crazed performance as Good Cop/Bad Cop.

However, the larger star here is squeezing in the 65 years worth of Lego kits and characters into the movie.

As an avid Lego fan, I spent as much time pointing out stuff I had used to build some kits as reveling in the action.

It was a pure nostalgia trip — be it the plastic spider webs, knobby green bushes, a translucent stick of flame, lightsaber blades, assortments of multihued studs and brick plates or minifigures such as a 1984 space guy, Shaquille O’Neil (Lego actually had a working basketball court kit starring NBA minifigures), Star Wars’ Lando Calrissian, DC Comic’s Superman, Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf and a shark. (Come on, you remember the shark in the Pirates sets?)

“The Lego Movie” in its Blu-ray brilliance made me feel like everything is awesome. You’ll understand that last sentence quickly after listening to a few musical minutes of the movie and may never forget it, much to the chagrin of everyone in your household.

Best extras: The bonus content offers a wealth of information on the production of the film in bite-sized bits, an unwelcomed sing-a-along (please let me stop humming that song) and some satiric shorts including Batman’s Warhol-esque music video and the trailer for the television show “Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops,” both are especially inventive.

We also get an awesome, optional commentary track, a rare event on disks these days, featuring the vocal stylings of cast members Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks (phoning in), Charlie Day and Alison Brie and their leaders Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Once the folks get comfortable, it’s chock full of useless facts and witty banter.

Play the movie (literally): The Lego Movie Videogame (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Rated Everyone, $59.99) is a dynamic, interactive opus allowing parent and child to team up and take part in many moments from the film within 15 levels while eventually unlocking control of over 90 minifigures. The Blu-ray package contains a code to unlock a young version of Vitruvius to use in the game.

Next, the package also includes an exclusive 2.5-inch tall minifigure of a young Vitruvius that can either be admired as a collectible on a shelf, or put to work in one of the dozen or so actual Lego sets based on the movie such as Lord Business’ Evil Lair ($69.99, 738 pieces) or Cloud Cuckoo Palace ($19.99, 197 pieces).

Wait there’s more. Watch the featurette “Introduction with Modeling Artist Adam Ryan” and tips on animating Lego building then download the software Lego Digital Designer (http://ldd.lego.com/ versions for Mac or PC) to actually become a virtual Master Builder. The software allows users to assemble stuff using Lego’s full compliment of bricks and widgets all on their computer.

Read all about it: Youngsters can either peruse comic books based on the melding of the DC Comics and Lego universes (such as Scholastics’ early readers series averaging $3 per book) or go online (for example, http://www.lego.com/en-us/city/comic-builder/builder) to build their own comics with themes tied to Star Wars, superheroes and a bustling cityscape.

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