Lego Batman the Movie: DC Heroes Unite
Lego Batman the Movie: DC Heroes Unite
This is a home video release by DC Premier and Traveller’s Tales releasing on Bluray and DVD May 21st, and it’s actually rather interesting because most of this movie is drawn from the Lego Batman 2 video game. Many of the scenes may have been reanimated to improve the quality and make minor corrections, and there has also been some new material created for the connective scenes, but aside from that it’s directly taken from the video game. While there have been many movies based on video games, I believe this is the first video game turned directly into a movie. I’ve been a fan of the Lego series of video games ever since the first Lego Star Wars games were released on the Playstation 2, they have a very irreverent sense of humor and a lot of meta jokes based around the fact that they are in a Lego world and Batman is no different.
The basic story of the movie is that Lex Luthor and the Joker team up to take out Batman and Superman and in the process win Lex Luthor’s bid for the Presidential election. Meanwhile Batman and Robin are trying to figure out exactly what they’re up to so they can stop them, preferably alone without resorting to asking for help from the seemingly everpresent Superman. The best part of the movie is the sheer number of references to past Batman projects. The entire opening credits sequence is a Lego version of the 1989 Batman opening, complete with the lucky circumstance that this movie was directed by Jon Burton, they even were able to use both the Danny Elfman Batman score as well as the John Williams Superman score. There’s also references to the 60’s Batman movie and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight.
Aside from the many classic references to previous works, there is also a great number of visual gags based on the fact that the movie exists in a wholly Lego universe. Robin often is rebuilding his vehicles, and the main plot device used by the villains is a deconstructor, which pulls apart anything made of shiny black bricks. When liquid chemicals are spilled onto the floor, they become translucent studs. Money is represented by solid plastic coins and bills, and even a fire is represented by plastic Lego fire. But one of the greatest Lego-centric gags is when two characters are changing clothes in a purely Lego fashion.
The voice acting in the movie is just as stellar, aside from using big name voice talent which they often do in the Warner Premier animated movies they went with actors more well known in the voice acting community since they were originally cast for use in the video game. Clancy Brown reprised his role as Lex Luthor from many of the animated versions of Superman. Christopher Corey Smith does the voice of the Joker in a passable imitation of Mark Hamill’s famous interpretation of the character. Troy Baker does a fine job as Batman, and Travis Willingham hams it up as the shiniest boy scout Superman.
The animation is also very well done as could be expected from a Warner Premier title, but the real focus still goes right back to the humor. And honestly one of the best things about this movie is how kid friendly it is. There are plenty of the references that adults will get, but there are just as many random jokes and slapstick that kids will enjoy. Early on, Two Face uses a random chicken as a weapon, and there’s a recurring theme of Joker creating larger than life self portraits within the chaos he creates. I also think it’s interesting how the character of the Joker is handled overall in this movie. It seems like it’s a pretty decent balance of chaotic lunacy and clown gags alongside an actually quite brilliant master plan that’s still presented in a very Joker-esque fashion. It was a fun movie and it made me laugh countless times during its short duration, it’s a great film to watch for a fan of Batman and especially anyone with kids or anyone who’s just a kid at heart. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.