|DVD Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers
Run time: 78 min
Genres: Animation | Action | Adventure
Director: Howard E. Baker
Writers: Tom Rogers, Joshua Wexler
Stars: Ryan McPartlin, Yvonne Strahovski, Paul Michael Glaser
For the first time ever, see the world of LEGO come to life in the all-new feature-length DVD movie adventure with Clutch Powers, the best builder and explorer in the LEGO universe.
Release Date: 10 June 2010 (South Korea)
Clutch Powers is Lego City's best explorer. His latest mission is to capture a criminal mastermind who is also a wizard. Teaming up with other Lego characters such as Brick, a weapons expert, Peg, a smart botanist and Bernie, Lego's best engineer, they travel into space and into medieval times to stop the wizard and his comical sidekicks, Skully & Bones, two skeleton warriors. It is better than it sounds. Humorous and lots of fun, this was a lot better than expected, with some standout scenes and interesting characters, this Lego homage to explorer films is a lot of fun for kids and adults.
Rated G Some Scary Scenes.
Firstly this is a kids movie and has to be reviewed as such. If you're an adult and even an adult fan of Lego you won't get a huge amount out of this. The movie has some nice touches such as a scene inspired by the alien movies and the post-opening intro song is actually pretty good.
However it really does seem the main aim of this movie is to sell more Lego than to entertain, they have tried to cram in just about every current Lego range in (rock monsters, space police, city and castle) before rather strangely deciding to base the rest of the movie in the Castle universe.
The animation is OK, but not really much better than any of the cut-scenes in a Lego game and the whole movie did have the feel of an extended computer game scene. I couldn't help feeling this would be better suited to a 15-20 minute episode format on kids TV.
The voice cast is actually not bad, Ryan McPartlin and Yvonne Strahovski (sic?) are well known for their work together on Chuck and are well cast.
Overall a fun kids film to kill an hour or so for a young Lego collector, but ultimately too shallow and lacking lots of the humorous touches that featured in other Lego offerings such as the Lego Star Wars games that made them fun for adults too. Worth picking up when it inevitably appears in the £5 section of your local supermarket, but still a million miles better than the Bionicle movie.
Before the Lego company finally got its first theatrically released film in early 2014, there were several direct-to-video productions. Also in the same realm were the Bionicle films, both of which were moderately popular. The thing is now, looking back at these early creations feels out of touch. When looking at The Lego Movie (2014), there are several things that were included in its construction that helped it define itself from other Lego films in the past and other films in general. It's not to say this movie doesn't work or have appeal, but there are elements to it that aren't as effective as they could've been.
The story centers on famed adventurer Clutch Powers. It's interesting how Clutch is the exact opposite of Emmet from The Lego Movie (2014). Clutch is popular and everyone knows him. Emmet is not popular and nobody knows him. Clutch is also the son of his equally famous dad, Rock Powers. Clutch is a solo man; he works alone, following in his father's footsteps. Yet, out of the blue after completing his latest mission, Clutch's boss decides that on his next assignment, he needs a team. The new members consist of demolition expert Brick Masterson, German engineer Bernie Von Beam and English biologist Peg Mooring. Naturally, like many other team effort films, nobody cooperates at first and then everything comes together at the last minute.
Writing the screenplay to the film was Tom Rogers, a man who before this production had written for several Disney direct-to-video sequels, his best known probably being The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004). There are points where Rogers does show some creativeness in his writing, but much of it is cliché, has unfinished subplots or has visible plot holes. To give an idea, cliché would be that one of the characters has to fall in love with someone they don't even know. An unfinished subplot focuses on Clutch's dad. In fact, the title reads The "Adventures" of-. This is unfinished because as far as characters go, this is the only movie about Clutch Powers. There were no more adventures. A plot hole would be that on a certain world, only primitive weapons work and high tech mechanical ones malfunction – but later on, a vehicle and jetpack are used with no problem. These are just one thing per flaw but there's always more one can find. I won't list them all.
This would be acceptable if the story also didn't deviate from its main cast. While aiming its message of teamwork to audiences, the story splits off and simultaneously looks at another character that is introduced halfway into the movie. Its not the greatest direction but I guess director Howard E. Baker tried his best. Baker has headed more TV episodes than videos so it's hard to say. Character dialog however is one thing that works occasionally. There are moments where the comedy pushes a little too much of the same. And then there are times where the characters acknowledge how silly a character sounded after saying a comment. It were those moments that should've happened more frequently. The voice cast is another element that help sustains its characters.
Each actor that lends their voice does a respectable job. The cast doesn't have many familiar names but some have lent their voices to animated films or video game characters. Even better is that Jeff Bennett, best known for voicing Johnny Bravo is the man behind Bernie. Maybe that's why I found him the most likable of Clutch's team. However, an even bigger help to the comical aspect and visual design of the movie, would've been using physical objects instead making it entirely CGI. Yes, no doubt with CGI animators could have various characters do things that regular Lego figurines could never do. But what's the fun in that? Having various limitations is what helps create the comedy. Another interesting part to this movie is that the characters build their creations just like a master builder would from The Lego Movie (2014). So are these guys master builders too?
It is strange with certain physical backgrounds though. Either some look too plain, like a tree here or there, and others are straight out green flat lands as far as the eye can see. Boring much? Then there's the city, which is good but still would've looked better with physical legos instead of CGI ones. Another minor problem is that everything isn't made of legos. I just don't see how making everything CGI, didn't permit anyone to thinking of making everything out of Legos. It sounds illogical in a world where everything is Lego. The music composed by Eric and David Wurst didn't do a bad job. There wasn't a main theme but the score did at least sound cinematic to a point. It wasn't memorable or powerful when evoking the emotion but it was appropriate for each scene. It's still a fun movie but it's more for kids since they care less about things making sense.
As an early Lego film, it gets the job done with goofy characters and sporadically comedic writing. However, the delivery of its story can feel flawed at times and its visual style isn't as fresh now with The Lego Movie (2014) totally blowing it out of the water.
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It's very lighthearted and full of staples of the genres, in this case adventure, science fiction and fantasy. From the moment Clutch uttered "rock monsters, why does it have to be rock monsters?" I knew I was going to like this movie, although the highlight for me was "it was a dark and stormy knight". The movie is full of homages to other movies and to fantasy tropes.
The story moves quickly between adventure, superspy and futuristic (prison planet) until it settles on fantasy. I found this unexpected, and for the remainder of the movie continued to think it would move on from this. Unfortunately the movie ends with a definite "to be continued" feeling. With one villain of three apprehended it looks like this is supposed to be a trilogy. Will it be continued? I certainly hope so.
I enjoyed the animation, and the way the lego world was built. Nothing amazing in terms of visuals, but there was good humorous use of the fact that the world is built from legos.
Is it worth going out to the movie theatre to see this? I'd say it's borderline. Give me 3D and I'm sold. Still, I'm definitely hoping the sequels will appear.