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LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, THE

SYNOPSIS: Batman (Will Arnett) is trying to save Gotham City from The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who has an evil plan. There are changes afoot with Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), the new Commissioner, intent on banning vigilantes. Meanwhile, Batman's faithful valet Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) is keen for Batman to look after the young orphan (Michael Cera) he inadvertently adopted.

Review by Louise Keller:
Propelled by a hilarious and witty screenplay, The Lego Batman Movie is an explosion of colourful visuals and high-energy satire, all rolled into a clever superhero spoof. It's inventive, super-fast, highly sophisticated and ticks all the boxes for the young and young at heart. The best thing about the film is that it never takes itself seriously, incessantly poking fun at its characters - especially its out-of-control, narcissistic protagonist, Batman. Set in the reality of the Lego World, digital animation recreates the blocky figures of the multi coloured plastic Lego characters, magically bringing faces to life with a minimalist brush.

The film is filled with original, creative touches - like the black screen opening (with laugh-aloud voice-over) and white bookend closer, which perfectly set the tone. Just as he did in The Lego Movie in 2014, Will Arnett again assumes the voice mantle of Batman, his low gravelly voice a spoof on itself. It begins with colourful chaos as a preamble to the choreographed entry of Batman, his heroic exploits saving Gotham City and the introduction to the extravagant Bat Cave, where his ever-faithful valet Alfred (wonderfully voiced by Ralph Fiennes) reminds him of his greatest fear and vulnerability: loss of his family.

The heart of the film is the push-pull relationship between Batman and The Joker (Zach Galifianakis), who is desperate to have the black crusader acknowledge he is his greatest enemy. Batman's insistence he 'doesn't do 'ships - as in relationships,' is beautifully conceived and delivered, as he dismisses his adversary as unimportant. This is the lead up to my favourite moment, when The Joker, dressed in purple suit under a shock of green hair shows his heart on his sleeve. Or his plastic peg head face, to be precise.

There is a funny competitive element with Superman (Channing Tatum), while the introduction of Robin (Michael Cera) is clever and entertaining. The plotline involving stealing Superman's Phantom Zone Projector may be complicated, but made simple, it involves the conflict between good and evil.

Teamwork is the film's theme and Rosario Dawson voices Barbara Gordon / Batgirl, Gotham City's new Commissioner, who wants to ban vigilantes. Fitness junkies take note: there is good reason for building abs of steel - as one of the climactic scenes shows. Listen for the three most sought after little words in the English language - to The Joker, that is - that are spoken towards the end of the film.

The film is dizzying fun from the outset. There is so much going on, it needs a second viewing to properly take in all the gag lines and snazzy visuals. I want to see it again.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, THE (PG)
(US, 2017)

VOICES: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jonah Hill, Hector Elizondo, Mariah Carey

PRODUCER: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

DIRECTOR: Chris McKay

SCRIPT: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: David Burrows

MUSIC: Lorne Balfe

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Grant Freckelton

RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 30, 2017







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