Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers


DVD: Release Date: 02/23/2010
Director: Howard E. Baker
Featuring the Voices of: Ryan McPartlin, Yvonne Strahovski, Paul Michael Glaser, Roger Rose, Jeff Bennett, Alex Désert, Chris Hardwick, Stephen Cox, Chris Emerson, Richard Doyle, Gregg Berger

The Film:


Many of you might be wondering why a site called The Sobering Conclusion would bother to watch and review a direct to DVD kids film based on Lego. Well, simply put, my name is Ian Forbes and I’m a Legomaniac. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with the myriad of different ways to build my own little universe using these small interlocking plastic blocks and continue to build the more advanced and expansive sets from time to time even now that I’ve past the recommended age on the box.

I’ve also enjoyed the various video games that Lego has delivered, whether it’s the Star Wars, Batman or Indiana Jones adaptations that have enjoyed great success on multiple platforms. The people behind these efforts seem to really get how to smartly pay homage to these beloved franchises, all the while adding their own Lego touch.

The same can be said of their newest project, “Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers”. The film centers on a group of Lego Explorers, charged with righting the wrongs of the universe. A prison break sets three of the most notorious criminals free and it’s up to Clutch and his new team to recapture them. (This film centers on just one of the three so there’s plenty of room for sequels)

Along the way, homages to multiple film franchises are made: Indiana Jones, The Right Stuff, Blazing Saddles, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Star Wars and Jurassic Park to name the most significant but I’m sure I’m missing some more. All of these little winks and nods will probably be lost on anyone under 20 but if you’re a parent who has to *enjoy* watching another kid-friendly DVD with your progeny, these bits are very much appreciated.

That’s not to say the rest of the film is completely devoid of anything an adult could appreciate. The interplay between the team members is fun, made more so by the generic stereotypes that are on display: Classically intrepid loner Clutch Powers (Ryan McPartlin); Sassy Aussie Peg Mooring (Yvonne Strahovski); Fan of brute force/explosives Brick Masterson (Roger Rose); German engineer Bernie von Beam (Jeff Bennett). Each add a necessary, albeit traditional, element to the mix.

The animation is a bit crude but much of that is intentional, as animating blocks isn’t going to end up looking like the latest 3D CGI extravabonanza. The voice work is all done quite well. As a fan of the TV series “Chuck”, it was a geeky thrill to hear Captain Awesome (McPartlin) and Special Agent Sarah Walker (Strahovski) via Lego – made better because she gets to use her natural Australian accent. Also, Alex Désert (one of my faves from “Swingers”) and Chris Hardwick (who now reviews electronics for G4tv’s Attack of the Show amongst other things) play a couple of buffoonish skeletons constantly bantering and competing with one another; their chemistry really worked and added a nice bit of humor to scenes that might otherwise have become too plot heavy for such light fare.

While it’s a smart business move for sure, I also think it’s fun that many of the vehicles and buidings used are from actual Lego sets. This allows kids who own them to play out some of the film for themselves, before they move on, tear apart the intended build and make their own spacecraft.

All that being said, I enjoyed watching the film and I’m giving “Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers” a 3.5 out of 5 (keeping the genre and nature of the project in mind). As a direct to DVD kids film, it gets the job done with a smart sense of humor and nice added touches for adults that aren’t just innuendos that fly over children’s heads. It’s doubtful most adults will find this one to be too exciting but it’s a far cry better than much of the questionably rated animated fare being forced down kids throats via fast food tie-in and commercial overload.

The DVD:



While the shorts and bits collected are fun to watch, it appears that Lego wasn’t concerned with using all the space on the DVD to maximize the bang for your buck. Considering that they garnered some slightly recognizable voice talent, having some interaction with the real life cast would have been nice to include, as would have maybe a little featurette on what goes into creating an animated version of the beloved building blocks known singlularly and plurally as Lego.

Audio/Video:

Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1).

Subtitles:

English (for the hard of hearing); Spanish; French.

Languages:

English, Spanish, French.

Extra Features:


Bad Hair Day

— This 3 minute short features characters from the feature. It’s definitely not going to challenge the great works of the crew at Pixar when it comes to shorts but it’s cute and if you liked the film, it’s worth seeing.

Mini Toy Movies

— Done in a serial style online and brought to the DVD, there are 6 mini-shorts featuring characters from the Space Police line that last a total of about 8 minutes and then about 3 more minutes of the Lego Miners all done as one short. Each have the Lego brand of humor and it’s a decent extra feature for this project.

TV Spots

— Like the name implies, it’s a collection of a few commercials for recent Lego sets. Nothing exciting here and I’m almost surprised they didn’t throw on some more just to pad time.

The Sobering Conclusion:


Obviously, this film is aimed squarely at the pre-teen crowd. Legomaniacs like myself enjoy seeing the figures brought to life and after playing a number of the Lego brand video games, their sense of humor and homage to other films is a lot of fun. If you fall into either demographic, this is definitely worth a rental. Or if you’ve got young ones at home just starting to play with what I consider the best toy for children (and no, I’m not being paid to say that, but Lego you can call me), then this is a good, clean DVD to pop on to distract them while you go grab a frosty one from the ice box.