- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2019

Five years later, fans of the original brick-building epic finally got a not-so-awesome sequel in early 2019 that now moves to ultra-high definition screens in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated PG, 107 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $44.95).

I think that we can all agree that the original animated movie was an irreverent breath of witty and inventive fresh air for the all-ages demographic in 2014.

However, the sequel could only suffer due to not its tardiness but because, obviously, audiences have already seen a fantastical constructible world packed with pop culture superstars, all built using Legos in the first movie.

So, assuming the animation remains as breathtaking as the first, it does, the masterminds of the original, producers and writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, needed a great story to bring in the seemingly ignored fan base.

They ended up delivering a functional and mildly entertaining but not groundbreaking experience.

Specifically, our fateful heroes Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), Master Builder Lucy Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Unikitty (Alison Brie), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman), Batman (Will Arnett) and even the rest of the Justice League are unable to stop a destructive alien invasion of preschooler-loving Duplo Legos.

The devastation turns their world into a “Mad Max” version of Legoland aka Apocalypseburg.

Some of heroes are then kidnapped by the mysterious enforcer Sweet Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) and taken to meet the brick-shifting Queen Whatevra (Tiffany Haddish) of the Systar system.

Her apparent goal is to marry Batman and unleash Armageddon on the universe. Emmet comes to the rescue with help from Master Breaker Rex Dangervest (a guy who can destroy Lego locations with a single punch) and acts like a combination of Indiana Jones and Starlord.

The overabundance of musical numbers fall flat but watching moments such as skateboarding raptors strapped to laser weapons aboard Dangervest’s Rexcelsior spaceship and appearances by mini-figure versions of Bruce Willis (Mr. Willis), Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) and Ruth Bader Ginsberg keep the action cute and humorous.

Parents will also appreciate that the parallel story offers a human brother and younger sister bonding over the massive Lego universe they created, especially once the wrath of mom gets unleashed.

4K in action: The upscale from a 2K digital intermediate does deliver an uptick in clarity and an increase in vibrant colors.

Viewers will appreciate a hue-saturated as well as psychedelic trip through the Stairgate dimension portal, and visiting locations such as the spa planet of Sparkles with an impressive silver crystal popping throne room and a junkyard loaded up with Lego bricks.

More obvious is the phenomenal detail applied to the blocky mini-figures and new Friends mini-dolls that show a variety of plastic hairdos, mold lines, scratches and chipped paint on the torsos of the characters, and even a visible human fingerprint occasionally appearing on the Duplo blocks.

Better yet, stop the 4K player and admire the stiff collar and cloth cape of a “Twilight”-style Dracula along with his hairstyle made of blue crystals; Batman’s white fur-covered cape (his wedding attire); Unikitty’s ferocious transformation into Ultrakatty; and a Sparkle Baby puking glitter.

However, folks not jumping aboard the 4K bandwagon will be very happy with with the Blu-ray version of the film. I found it, at points, even offered a better contrast than the 2160p spectacle.

Best extras: The 4K disc only contains an optional commentary track with Mr. Lord and Mr. Miller, director Mike Mitchell and animation director Trisha Gum. The quartet presents a breezy, giddy and giggling discussion on the film while always complimenting the animation teams and their insane attention to detail.

The conversation is often dominated by the producers, but they all comment on the hand-animated explosions; creating stop-motion scenes (eventually rebuilt as computer simulations); the cast voices (including many of the key crew members’ kids); building the morphing Queen; and their universal love of The Monkees’ movie “Head.”

The included Blu-ray disc copies the commentary track and adds the information-overloaded version of the movie called the “Everything is Awesome Sing-Along.”

Not just delivering a karaoke presentation of the songs (follow the bouncing bricks), it features a screen-cluttering avalanche of popups packed with informational nuggets,

Deep breath, that means favorite lines of the movie appearing as onomatopoeia or dialogue bubbles shaped like Legos; the onslaught of Batman pun boxes (“I’m bat to the bone baby”); “Emmet’s Bric-calculator” that counts the Legos required to build a vehicle such as the escape buggy (guesses are welcome); and Lucy’s famous band member spotter with onscreen clues from the female Master Builder.

More popups include Unikitty pointing out all of the guest appearances such as Marie Curie and Velma Dinkley (with a countdown to try and name the character); MetalBeard’s multiple choice trivia questions that cover the action and story points in the movie; and “Benny’s Guide to the Galaxy” that offers facts on the locations seen in the film.

Even Sweet Mayhem gets involved with a personality assessor that turns the screen translucent pink as it analyzes key characters’ traits.

Yes, it’s not only a welcomed complement to the movie but a gold mine for fans. The introduction to the version also requests viewers play a game with any of the timed, onscreen questions, guessing correct answers and keeping a tally with paper and pencil.

The extras round out with first a roughly 3-minute short of a holiday party at Apocalypseburg inspired by Emmet that features a tree lighting and Batman showing off his ugly holiday sweater.

And, viewers get a very brief, 9-minute overview of the production that contains cast and crew interviews touching on the story, sibling relationships, characters such as Rex Dangervest and their emotional connection to Legos.

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