Release Date(s)2017 (June 13, 2017)
Studio(s)D.C. Entertainment (Warner Bros.)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: C+
[Editor’s Note: The film portions of this review are by Tim Salmons, the disc portions are by Bill Hunt.]
After the success of The Lego Movie, it was a full-blown conclusion that more movies like it were going to get made eventually. Unsurprisingly, when The Lego Batman Movie was released in February of 2017, it did fairly well at the box office and was well-received. The film is a romp, plain and simple. It’s pure, unadulterated fun, packing in some exciting set pieces, all the laughs you could ask for, and an abundance of colorful visuals. It’s also not overly cutesy or family friendly; it treats its audience with respect, never talking down to it or resorting to cheap jokes for easy laughs. All of the humor comes from the characters and the situations, making it surprisingly witty.
It also attempts to make Batman a bit more relatable than his previous big screen incarnations. While he’s fighting the bad guys and saving the city, he’s also dealing with a problem of his own, which is a growing need for a family environment. But after being closed off emotionally for so long, it’s a difficult thing for him to admit to. He’s often so full of himself that it’s basically a parody of the character, but in the scheme of things, you actually care about him, which is one of the main flaws of the live action Batman films thus far, enjoyable as they are. That gives the story here just enough weight, but still maintains the exuberance of the overall piece. It’s a nice blend in an otherwise fantastic and ridiculous world. To be more succinct, this is everything you could want in an animated Batman movie for all ages.
As a CG-animated production, The LEGO Batman Movie was rendered in 2K resolution and upsampled for 4K Ultra HD release at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. That’s not necessarily a problem though, as 2K provides more than enough resolution to render fine detail and texturing on realistic LEGO pieces. There’s still a noticeable difference between this and the regular Blu-ray presentation in terms of fine detail. For one thing, there’s slightly better depth of field and the fine texturing of surfaces stands out more. You see it in the differences in reflectivity and detail between Batman’s cape, cowl, body, and stickered/painted chest decoration. The High Dynamic Range here is HDR-10. It gives the image a strong boost in pop and shine, it enhances the glossy reflectivity of texturing, and it really boosts the translucency of clear LEGO pieces. Shadows and highlights alike are bold and detailed, while the brightest areas of the image are actually a little hot and overexposed by design – a stylistic choice. This isn’t reference quality, but it’s a nice image.
Sound on the 4K disc is available in English Dolby Atmos, along with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Descriptive Audio, and 5.1 Dolby Digital in Quebec French, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Colombian Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Catalan, Portuguese, Greek, Hungarian, Romanian, and Thai, with subtitles in English (for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing), the languages above, and many more. The Dolby Atmos mix is the preferred listening option, but know that you have to proactively select it – otherwise the disc defaults to the DTS-HD MA. The mix offers nice immersion and dialogue clarity, with active directional effects, smooth panning, and solid LFE. It’s not a highly aggressive mix, but it does deliver a nice blend of atmospherics, music, and action, and the height channels are actively employed to complete the soundfield and provide a bit of additional lift and dimension.
The only extra on the 4K disc is a feature-length audio commentary with director Chris McKay and about twenty other members of his crew. The package includes a standard Blu-ray Disc as well, with the film in 1080p HD and with the same commentary, that adds the following extras (all in HD):
- 4 Animated Shorts (Dark Hoser – 2:08, Batman Is Just Not That Into You – 2:10, Cooking with Alfred – 2:02, and Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That? – 1:24)
- The Master: A LEGO Ninjaho Short (5:23)
- 4 Deleted Scenes (Batcave Studio – 1:43, Lollipop – 2:24, Batman & Mayor Swap – 1:22, and Clayface – 1:45)
- 6 Featurettes (One Brick at a Time: Making The LEGO Batman Movie – 16:10, Rebrick Contest Winners – 2:47, Inside Wayne Manor – 2:36, Brick by Brick: Making of The LEGO Batman Movie – 3:50, Behind the Brick – 4:13, and Me and My Minifig – :56)
- 10 Trailers and Promotional Clips
It’s a nice sampling of content and, while it’s not especially comprehensive or vital, it’s all cute. If you like the film, you’ll enjoy most of this too. As with most 4K Ultra HD releases these days, the package also includes a paper slip with a Digital Copy code.
No matter what one’s comic book background is, it should be easy to admit that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one that leaves room for a little bit of everything, while also being light-hearted, adventurous, and exciting (not to mention well-put together). DC, on the other hand, seems to cloak its celluloid superheroes in an atmosphere of chaos and darkness, leaving hardly any room for color, levity, or even joy. While it’s not technically a part of the DC live action universe,The Lego Batman Movie still manages to be both high-spirited and good-humored, something the DCU almost habitually lacks. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air.
- Tim Salmons & Bill Hunt