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Blu-ray Review: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

May 14, 2019

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Despite it being a smash hit, I didn’t love The LEGO Movie when it came out in 2014, an opinion that put me squarely in the minority. While the majority of people praised it as an inventive and imaginative animated film, and it did have a few moments, to me it felt like a glorified toy commercial meant to sell products and possibly ruin attention spans.

It was hyper and brightly coloured to the point of feeling like an assault on the senses, and this sequel, aptly titled The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, generally delivers more of the same. This film picks up right where the first one ended, offering another colourful, hyperactive, and often overstuffed adventure inspired by the titular toys.

After being invited into this carefully built world, clunky LEGO DUPLO invaders promptly destroyed the beaming metropolis of Bricksburg, and turned it into a Mad Max-inspired dystopia called Apocalypseburg. It’s now five years later, and the citizens have all lost hope, save for the eternal optimist Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt). Emmet still goes about his days singing that annoyingly cheery pop song “Everything is Awesome,” much to the consternation of his brooding girlfriend Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who wants him to finally grow up and embrace reality.

When Wyldstyle and their friends are kidnapped by a gang of aliens led by General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) and taken to the Systar System, a region of outer space that is ruled over by the shape-shifting Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), who uses manufactured pop songs in order to brainwash people into following her and wants to marry Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet teams up with the badass Rex Dangervest (also Pratt, poking fun at other characters he has played) in order to rescue them.

This film really leans into the idea that this world exists in a child’s imagination, which was revealed at the end of the first one. The majority of the story unfolds in real time, essentially over a single afternoon, and it keeps cutting back to live action scenes involving Finn (Jadon Sand), who doesn’t want to share his toys with his little sister Bianca (Brooklynn Prince), after their father (Will Ferrell, kept off-screen this time around) invited her to play with his LEGO sets as well, despite the fact that she was much too young for them at the time.

You see, Finn wants to be in his own world and create an elaborate science fiction story, where as Bianca wants to have a dance party and play wedding, leading to the central conflict when their mother (Maya Rudolph) threatens to confiscate the toys and put them in storage. This allows the film to impart a very on the nose message about always sharing your toys, with little regard for the fact that some kids might prefer to play with LEGO on their own.

One of my biggest issues with the first film was how it condemned those who prefer to build with LEGO and display their creations, rather than smashing them to bits and starting over, and this film similarly wags it finger at kids who like to play solo and make up their own stories rather than just being silly with their toys and always involving others. For a film that is meant to be about imagination and creativity, it sure does feel like it’s telling us there is a right and wrong way to play.

The live action scenes are also incredibly cheesy and feel like, you guessed it, a toy commercial. But I guess the point of a film like The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part – and really the goal of this entire franchise, including the first one and the two subsequent spinoffs The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie – is to move more products from store shelves. For me, these films are just so overloaded with colours, characters, jokes and pop culture references that I actually find them almost overwhelming to watch.

If you didn’t love the first film, then this one isn’t likely to change your mind. Yes, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part does feature a few amusing moments here and there, and the animation is obviously technically strong. The attention to detail is impressive, and the animators have once again done a good job of capturing the plasticy look and feel of actual LEGO bricks and minifigures. There is also a decent message in there about how you don’t need to act like a jerk in order to prove you are mature.

But the film as a whole feels as manufactured as that incessant earworm “Everything is Awesome,” which we hear different variations of throughout the film, adding to the monotonous backdrop of pop songs that also includes a new track that is designed with the sole purpose of being annoying and getting stuck inside your head. You might like the packaging around it, and that’s fine, but The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is quite blatantly a film that is made to hype up kids and sell them toys. Maybe it’s just me, but I personally prefer animated films that don’t feel so much like corporate products.

The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track, a sing-along version, the behind the scenes featurette They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2, a selection of outtakes and deleted scenes, and a music video for the end credits song “Super Cool” by Beck featuring Robyn & The Lonely Island. There’s also the short film Emmet’s Holiday Party, which was released online to market the film, as well as a selection of other promotional videos.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 107 minutes and rated G.

Street Date: May 7th, 2019

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