I was more than a little surprised when “The LEGO Movie” ended up being one of the best movies of its year. Lord and Miller managed to take what could have been a glorified commercial for LEGO and ended up building a unique universe, and a heartfelt, hilarious adventure about reaching deep to find what makes us so special, and appreciating the child within us. I even loved the meta-climax, which with other creative minds behind it, might have destroyed everything we saw before it.
In “The Second Part,” the citizens of Bricksburg face a dangerous new threat when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space start to wreck everything in their path. The battle to defeat the enemy and restore harmony to the LEGO universe takes returning heroes Emmet, Lucy, Batman and the rest of their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds that test their courage and creativity. While on their journey they meet some new characters that may or may not be allies.
“The LEGO Movie” was a hard act to follow and without Lord and Miller something about “The Second Part” feels absolutely like we’ve been here before. I always wish sequels work as extensions of the original film, but “The LEGO Movie 2” basically just takes what worked with the original movie and adds a little more sans the substance or heart. Even Batman doesn’t have a whole lot of interesting things to do, except add to the overall moral about learning to not jump to assumptions when meeting new people. I love what the movie encourages about getting to know people, and learning about new cultures and whatnot, but beyond that much of what unfolds feels like by the numbers studio mandated sequel fodder.
Even the addition of DUPLO to the overall universe and canon of the LEGO Movies falls kind of flat, as we know what the climax to the first movie entailed. While the original climax involved human Finn connecting with his father who took LEGO much too seriously, you can kind of see what’s coming up when the DUPLO, often considered LEGO for much younger kids, are involved. The bigger focus on Finn often detracts from the momentum of “The LEGO Movie” and feels oddly similar to the arc of Andy and his sister in “Toy Story.” That said, “The LEGO Movie 2” is not a complete wash out, as the animation is great, and the voice work is as top notch as always.
I especially enjoyed the addition of General Mayhem, played by Stephanie Beatriz, and Tiffany Haddish as DUPLO Queen Watevra Wa’Nab. I like “The LEGO Movie 2” okay enough, I just wish the producers could have gone to different creative avenues; it feels like a pretty standard follow up that plays it safe, in spite of the positive message behind it.
The new release features a DVD and Digital Copy for consumers. There’s the “Everything is Awesome Sing Along” which is followed by a presentation in the vein of karaoke encouraging audiences to sing along, and also includes animated dialogue, pop up trivia, seek and find, a Unikitty cameo character count and much more. “They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2” is a nine minute look at the original film, how they crafted the sequel, the film’s themes, new characters, voice acting, production design, digital animation and so much more. “Emmet’s Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short” is a three minute short film featuring Emmet who is planning to brighten up Apocalypseburg with a party.
There are a total of twelve minutes of Outtakes and Deleted Scenes entitled “Crosswalk”; “Welcome to the Systar System”; “Rex Signs a Check”, “Autographs a Pic, & Plays Tic Tac Toe”; “On the Rexcelsior”; “Guards Animated”; “Superman’s Crystal”; “Mayhem Saves Lucy”; “Lucy Saves Mayhem”; “The Video; and Justice League”. Most of the scenes are presented in earlier stages of the animation process. There’s the music video “Super Cool” by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island, and an audio commentary with Directors Mike Mitchell, Writers/Producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and Animation Director Trish Gum. The full track covers all of the areas of production, including story, voicing, production design, technical details, and much more. Finally, there are promotional materials including “In 2019 Be Whatever You Wanna Be,” “Me and My Minifig,” “Please Silence Your Cell Phones,” “LEGO Sets in Action,” and “LEGO Designers.”