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Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay), Chris McKenna (screenplay)
Stars: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson
Review by Gilbert Seah
The LEGO BATMAN MOVIE screening was preceded by the trailer for the next LEGO project entitled THE LEGO NINJA MOVIE, which looks even more hectic from this one.
The simplistic story of LEGO BATMAN could do with a few plot twists. Batman (Will Arnett) goes on a personal journey to find himself and learn the importance of teamwork and friendship in the hopes of saving Gotham City from a hostile takeover set by The Joker (Zach Galifianakis).
The film is relatively free of violence and foul language (though BATMAN does quip: “I like fighting around…”), making it suitable for children’s viewing. But there might be too much activity taking place at any one time on the screen. The best target audience suitable would be the video game generation, whose minds can decipher multiple happenings on screen.
The film gives affectionate nods to the first LEGO MOVIE. There is a nod to the ‘Everything Is Awesome’ hit song and a quip about Master builders. Gotham City is also built like Lego Construction. The Joker’s explosion will break the connection of the city’s construction just as if the city was built on Lego blocks. Chris McKay (ROBOT CHICKEN TV film/series) takes over the directing reins from Chris Lord and Christopher Miller who serve as producers of this film. Lord and Miller directed as well as wrote THE LEGO MOVIE. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is credited with no less than 5 writers (Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Eric Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington) with less effective results – a case of maximum effort, minimum results, instead of the other way around.
THE LEGO BATMAN is too repetitious and manic for its own good. The message of Bateman/Bruce Wayne needing a family and lacking the ability of appreciating a relationship is drummed into the audience’s head much too often. From the framed photographs in Batman’s bat cave room to the dialogue – enough is enough of the message. The film contains too many scenes in which too many things occur so that it is hard to figure out what is going on. Lego-shaped blocks fly across at the screen too fast to see and words are spewed out to fast to hear. In Wikipedia, director McKay got into filmmaking cited Hitchcock as his film influence. Hitchcock always had ‘breathers’ in his films, when nothing really happens, just for the purpose of the audience to take a break.
THE LEGO MOVIE was inspired, fresh full of ideas and funny as hell. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE should take lessons from the first movie. Too much, louder and faster never really works. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE turns boring quite fast despite so much happening on screen at any instant. It is a question of quality vs. quantity.
McKay is fond of parodying classic films like the STAR WARS films and THE LEGO MOVIE.
Will Arnett’s BATMAN low key voice occasionally sounds like President Donald Trump – and even more so in one segment when he says: “I don’t pay taxes.” But these inspired hilarious laugh-out moments are too few and far between. But what can I say? I am only an over-rated film critic.
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