Will Arnett’s vocal performance as Batman captured the imagination of fans in The LEGO Movie and now his well-earned spin-off is available on home formats
The LEGO Batman Movie sees the Dark Knight face an existential crisis – what does he do in a world without crime? When the Joker turns himself in, Alfred encourages Batman to focus on raising his adopted son, Dick Grayson. But while Batman is brooding about his future, his arch-nemesis is cooking up a more nefarious scheme than ever, one that will require Gotham’s protector to learn to work with others.
The LEGO Batman Movie has transferred to Blu-ray perfectly and looks just as beautiful as it did on the big screen. The entire visual style of the film is extremely sophisticated, never allowing it to be forgotten that this isn’t one of the straight-to-Blu-ray LEGO movies – this is the big budget real deal and it shows.
The sound mix is also nicely balanced, with the witty dialogue never drowned out by the numerous sound effects and potentially overwhelming orchestral score that underlines the scale of the movie.
This second LEGO movie didn’t have the same surprise value upon its cinematic release, but it holds up well to repeat viewings. It’s as funny as any other movie released – animated or otherwise – this year, even if the emotional resonance doesn’t quite pack the punch it seems to strive for. There are extra gags to notice in every new viewing – ‘Gotham City is built on flimsy plates stuck together’ being one that AFOLs will enjoy, referencing the frustration of using baseplates and how to attach them securely.
The audio commentary has a dizzying number of participants, kept in check by director Chris McKay. It’s an amusing commentary with some nice tidbits and gives a sense of how creative choices were made despite this being a big studio film.
Four new animated shorts – and short they are – are included, along with the one screened before the cinematic release, The Master. The new shorts are all Batman based, with two of them produced by outside animation studios. These feature fun concepts including Harley Quinn’s daytime talk show and Batman trying out for the Justice League.
What might be the absolute highlight of the Blu-ray, depending on your taste for the absurd, is the short ‘Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That?’ It features more Billy Dee Williams, which is without doubt always a good thing.
The deleted scenes are presented in various stages of completion and are all enjoyable to watch – clearly the team behind the movie had a treasure trove of ideas that didn’t make it into the final cut. The ‘mayor swap’ is particularly fun and the extended version of the power plant attack is also interesting to see played out.
One Brick at a Time is the main documentary running through the feature film process, and could benefit from being longer. At around 15 minutes, it only skims the work that goes into a movie like this. The additional featurettes are all fine, with the inclusion of stop motion Rebrick contest winners a nice treat for the three finalists.
It’s great that a section for promotional material is included on the disc, as one of the joys that The LEGO Batman Move delivered is the many adverts and shorts that came alongside its release. The character was so fully realised that some of the material was as funny as the movie itself – so it’s good to have a good chunk of it included here. As some of the material involved promotional partners, it isn’t all included, and the edited version of the MTV Cribs parody shows how challenging it would have been to cut around such things.
Following The LEGO Movie was an awfully big ask of The LEGO Batman Movie and despite it not quite matching those lofty standards, it is consistently funny and better looking than almost any animated movie not coming from Disney or Pixar. The special features included on the Blu-ray provide plenty of great material and make it easy to recommend picking up.