On 28 January, media and VIP guests put on their movie-premier finest for a sneak-peak at Legoland’s latest in-park attraction, an all-new 12½-minute action packed show featuring the stars of The LEGO Movie, Emmet, Wyldstyle, MetalBeard, Benny and Unikitty. The spotlight was on the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater in the Fun Town area of the Winter Haven park, where champagne (in reality, sparkling apple juice) and martinis (or pink lemonade) flowed freely. Paparazzi snapped photos of dazzled guests as they walked the red carpet, and a billion selfies lit up Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Young celebrities Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, whose character is Lily Tucker-Prittchet on the television show Modern Family; Jace Norman, Kid Danger in the Nickelodeon series Henry Danger; Madisyn Shipman, who plays Kenzie on the television show Game Shakers and voiced Violet Gray in the new The Peanuts Movie; Joey Bragg, portraying Joey Rooney on Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie; Isabela Moner, CJ Martin in 100 Things To Do Before High School; and Jack Griffo, who plays Max Thunderman in Nickelodeon’s television series, The Thundermans, all held meet-and-greets, as did characters from the movie.
Pomp and circumstance aside, what is the story about? Like all great action movies, it starts with an Evil Secret Plot (shhh…don’t mention the evil secret plot!). Emmet and the gang are excited to spend the day in Legoland, until they get sidetracked by a mysterious invitation to visit the soon-to-be-open Brick World theme park (where the attractions are all based on scenes from their previous adventures in the original movie). It all goes wrong when the evil Risky Business (voiced by Patton Oswalt) puts his dastardly plan in motion (remember that Evil Secret Plot we mentioned earlier?).
Can their Master Builder skills can save the day? Of course they can; it’s a kid’s movie! But there are plenty of ‘adult friendly’ jokes to keep the over 12 crowd happy too, with a few hilarious, but gentle, pokes at another world famous theme park (cue the chant of “…pirates, pirates, pirates, pirates, pirates…”).
Super-cool jets, cars and Transformer-like walkers add to the thrills, as does an almost-real roller coaster ride with Emmet and Wyldstyle. There are a few scenes that may slightly unnerve the smallest guests, but the darker scenes are short (everything in the movie seems to be on fast-forward!) and shouldn’t cause any real worry. The kids at our premier showing adored it.
Part of the fun, and the loudest shouts of delight, came from the special 4D effects of wind, water and fog, plus a great burst of metallic confetti at the end (be careful if you’re sitting near the front; the confetti can be surprisingly slippery!). Guests who don’t appreciate special effects shooting out of the back of the chair in front of them, as they do in most theme park 4-D shows, will be happy to know they all come from the periphery, and the water effects come from the ceiling, falling more like a gentle rain than a squirt to the face.
The attraction’s director, Rob Schrab, described the basis of the plot, saying, “This is the story of our gang letting off some steam between films. The humour and tone is very similar to The LEGO Movie. ”
On the technical side, original voice actors from The LEGO Movie, Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle), Nick Offerman (MetalBeard), Charlie Day (Benny) and Alison Brie (Unikitty), returned for Emmet’s brand new adventure. Veteran voice actor A.J. LoCascio joined them as the voice of Emmet.
It took nearly 200 artists and technicians to bring the built-with-LEGO story to life, in consultation with producer Dan Lin and writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the original movie. Joshua Wexler from Los Angeles Pure Imagination Studio, who supplied the computer animation, confirmed, “Phil, Chris and Dan were involved from the beginning, from the story process to the look. We received assets from the animation studio that did the first movie, so we got the actual models used for Emmet and Wyldstyle. We had to re-create that look ourselves but we had an amazing body of work to study.”
Did the team have to build each of the scenes from Lego? You bet! Wexler explained: “Everything in the attraction is actually built out of brick. Every element is a real element used in actual LEGO toy making. We usually build everything in LEGO Digital Designer and then export that into our 3D software.”
With only 12½ minutes to work with, the movie’s creators made sure it was jammed with non-stop, action-packed, in-your-face fun, and there are loads of laugh-out-loud moments, especially for children.
We won’t give it all away though. Just heed our advice and don’t make Unikitty angry! And if you can’t quite get enough of Emmet and his awesome adventures, mark your calendar now for the 18 May, 2018, for the full premier of The LEGO Movie Sequel.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Legoland in February, YAY!, because your holiday is almost here, and double-YAY! because every Saturday and Sunday in February the park will be celebrating The Lego Movie 4-D Weekends, with extended park hours, opportunities to build with Lego bricks, hands-on activities, and a cool ‘passport adventure with stops throughout the park’, plus meet-and-greets with characters from the movie. If that’s not quite enough, add in a special fireworks show over Lake Eloise. Want even more? It’s all free with park admission.
Legoland’s target audience may be the 2-12 crowd, but if you’ve been to their parks you already know older kids and adults enjoy it just as much as the youngsters, and The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure is an ideal addition that proves a day in the park is definitely NOT just for kids!
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