While I enjoyed the humor, action and family-friendly thrills of 2014's The LEGO Movie, this sequel is far less impressive, at least for adult viewers, offering only minor thrills and chuckles amid 107 long minutes of colorful visuals and noisy action. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part loses directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who did write this screenplay, and picks up Mike Mitchell, of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo fame, to wrangle returning voice talents Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett. Warner Brothers financed franchise spin-offs The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie before this sequel, which feels like it dropped a couple of years too late.
I know this movie works with kids, as I have witnessed it first-hand. A buddy's pre-school aged kids shrieked with joy during the majority of the runtime, so in that respect it is a success. Maybe I have gotten jaded or grumpier since 2014, but I found The LEGO Movie 2 more headache-inducing than entertaining. The plot is both simple and convoluted: Duplo alien forces have moved into Bricksburg, destroying its shiny, cotton-candy exterior and replacing it with barren, depressing desert. The town is renamed "Apocalypseburg" and everyone but Emmet (Pratt) becomes downtrodden, preferring to stick to his "Everything is Awesome" mentality. Lucy (Banks) thinks Emmet is being na´ve, but she is soon kidnapped, along with Batman (Arnett), and whisked into the Systar System to meet with duplicitous Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish). Emmett is then forced to find the hero inside himself to save the world from a cataclysm called "Armamageddon."
Although the original flirted with over-the-top silliness, The LEGO Movie 2 seems determined to be as zany and absurd as possible, banking on the fact that its good-natured virtues and characters will keep it grounded. This works until it doesn't, and I longed for this candy-colored confection to calm the f**k down. There is still the meta, pop-culture and self-referential humor of its predecessor here, but many of the in-jokes fall flat. At the end of the day, this is a beautifully animated, corporate-backed assault on the eyes, ears and senses. The narrative lacks gravity and is not memorable, and the voice talents are wasted amid a minefield of noisy, frenetic LEGO action. Readers with children may want to give this a spin, but this franchise may be out of gas for the rest of us.
THE 4K ULTRA HD:
Warner provides a 2.39:1/2160p/HEVC/H.265 image with HDR10 for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate, this sequel looks impressive in 4K even if this image falls short of reference material. Definition is strong but not miles above the included Blu-ray, and minor softness creeps into several wide shots. The HDR10 pass is a substantial upgrade, and the colors in this unbelievably colorful film absolutely pop off the screen. All the colors of the rainbow are beautifully saturated and never bleed, and blacks are inky and crisp. The image looks great in motion, lacks digital tinkering and is only slightly darker than its HD counterpart.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack, which I sampled in 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, is rambunctious and totally immersive, though it is mastered slightly lower than anticipated, requiring me to turn the volume up a couple of notches more than normal on my system. This movie is all frenetic action, and those effects sear through the surround speakers and rumble the subwoofer. Dialogue is crisp and perfectly audible, whether delivered from the center or surround channels. The soundtrack is weighty and appropriately integrated, and I noticed no issues with element crowding. A ton of lossy dubs are included in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and there are plenty of subtitle options to match.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
The two-disc set includes the 4K disc, a Blu-ray and an HD digital copy. The discs are packed in a black 4K case that is wrapped in a foil slipcover. Most of the extras are found on the Blu-ray save the Audio Commentary by Director Mike Mitchell, Writers/Producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and Animation Director Trisha Gum, which also appears on the 4K disc. You also get an Everything is Awesome Sing-Along Version (1:52:26/HD) of the movie, which offers trivia, animated dialogue, song lyrics, etc. They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2 (8:49/HD) is a brief look at continuing the story from the original; Emmet's Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short (2:43/HD) sees Emmet plan a party to lighten the mood; Outtakes and Deleted Scenes (12:22/HD) offer little of note. The extras conclude with a Music Video for "Super Cool" by Beck (3:29/HD) and miscellaneous Promotional Materials (10:25 total/HD).
Everything is loud and chaotic in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which is a disappointing sequel to the enjoyable original that will likely be embraced by kids and annoy parents. The 4K Ultra HD offers a strong transfer and soundtrack and a few extras. Rent It for the young'uns.