At this year’s Comic Con, there were several celebrations of 1980s pop culture. GEEK Magazine had a Star Wars panel discussion that had one of the longest non-Ballroom 20 and Hall H lines at the convention (you’d a thunk these dweebs were expecting J.J. Abrams or something!); IDW and Hasbro have their annual celebration of all things Transformers and G.I. Joe; the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back and nearly better than ever on NICK; and, now, Warner Bros. has announced The LEGO Movie.
Yip. It’s San Diego and time to party like it’s Nineteen Eighty Nine!
“Father” Tyler McPhail: How insanely epic was that Warner Bros. panel?!? As many of our loyal followers know, we — well, *I* — camped out, just like every year before and after this year. But, you know what, it totally pays off. It’s pretty hard to beat the 18th row, man!
Travis “Monsignor” Moody: Hey Vern, Ernest would be proud.
Tyler: Haha. Either way, I was more than happy to cover The LEGO Movie, since I’ve been extremely excited about this since it was announced in 2011. I mean, dude, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were attached to direct. I don’t expect much from failure from the guys behind the 21 Jump Street remake and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. More interestingly though, is having Chris McKay as a co-director. I will go more into this later.
Moody: Good, because I’m shocked my mom hasn’t already called me to say, “Trav! They’re making a LEGO movie! Will you be in it!??” Yeah, mom. I’ll nail a cross right behind the pirates and the dumptruck. She could never get me away from those things as a child. I owe LEGO everything when it comes to any sort of imagination I still have left, in a can that has only been decimated by drugs and alcohol several years later. No, LEGOs are the shit and I still have the Space set mind-stuck as Star Wars LEGOs.
Tyler: Yeah, Moody! Kids have it say easy these days. Avengers LEGOs, Harry Potter LEGOs…and now even Ninja Turtles LEGOs!
Moody: Ahhh.. loving your segue, Ty! Of course one of my regrets from SDCC 2012 was not seeing the inaugural “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” panel, starring the amazing voice cast of Sean (“Rudy” Raphael) Astin, Rob (“Formerly Raphael” Donatello) Paulsen, Greg (“Sunglasses Inside” Michelangelo) Cipes, Mae (April O’Neil) Whitman, and the amazing baritone of Jabba the Kilowog himself, Kevin Michael (The Shredder) Richardson. On Saturday, it was regret no more!
Tyler: Not too shabby. I think I can top that with, oh, you may have heard of the new Starlord… Chris Pratt?!! The “Park & Rec” vet plays the LEGO protagonist, Emmet, who is followed by two companions: Vitruvius, played by some hack named Morgan Freeman, and Lucy, Elizabeth Banks. Of course, they need save the world — and probably from your childhood imagining of a LEGO Jabba the Hutt. But, who else comes to help Emmet to save the day?
Moody: Mighty Mouse?
Tyler: Sure. How about the Man of Steel, the Amazon Princess, the Emerald Knight, and the Dark Knight! Superman will be voiced by Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, “CSI: Miami” Season 3 Episode 2), Wonder Woman will be voiced by Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”, The Avengers), Green Lantern will be voiced by the Super-rad Jonah Hill (Moneyball), and Batman will be epically voiced by Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”, “Sex and the City” Season 2 Episode 12). Other casting includes Nick Offerman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, and Charlie Day.
Moody: I’m just scared you knew which episode Tatum played on CSI, or, better yet, when Arnett was on “Sex and the City”! Are you trying to murder your own nerd cred already? Look, I know the LEGOs have quite the ensemble, but I doubt they have the camaraderie of the Turtles. Even Cipes said his Michaelangelo got him into “skateboarding, meditating, martial arts and pizza.” He’s a glorified kook! Kevin nearly killed me too, when — after a mock make-out session between Astin and Paulsen and Richardson and Cipes — he said they all “met in jail.” This team just loves each other and it shows on the NICK show. The former 80s TMNT Raphie also said that when they’ record, they all laugh so hard it costs the studio money.
Tyler: Great. So now the Ninja Turtles are no longer hetero? And you’re dissing me for knowing my “Sex”? I have what you call a girlfriend. Happens. I’m proud of your Turtles, though. I really am. Glad it doesn’t suck. Personally, I’m just a little tired of too much CGI. One thing about the LEGO flick is that it’s a hybrid of CGI and stop-motion — and the primary reason why Chris McKay (“Robot Chicken”) was brought in to co-direct. Whatever you’ll see on screen is mostly stop-motion LEGOs.
Moody: And this only took two years to complete?
Tyler: Well, they’re not done yet. The directors wanted it to look as real as possible, and from the footage we saw, it looks like everything in the movie can be built by LEGOs. Even the water and explosions are LEGO pieces! What more could you ask for?
Moody: Oh, Corey Feldman! Since shit’s about to hit the brink on NICK with more villains than Arkham hitting the sewer stage, my pals are going to need a fifth turtle. And Slash is it! I just love that this new show is keeping that old spirit, and much of the old cast. The former Donatello is back as the integral reason why Casey Jones is back…and the list goes on and on. As for my favorite hockey stick-flailing vigilante, this younger version of Casey (to match April’s age, of course) just has an awesome design and voiced by Josh Peck, who is pretty punk rock and looks like him too!
Tyler: Dude, you’re starting to sound like you know who and YOU KNOW WHO! The LEGO Movie has a very hip “punk rock” feel to it, too, even with the directors wanting a classic-based protagonist for nostalgia. I’m not here for the epic heroes, tho, really; it’s all about the comedy that Lord and Miller bring out in films. “This is probably the weirdest kids’ film ever to be committed to celluloid!” After that quote from Lord, I have 100% faith in this movie! Now go away, gotta keep playing with my LEGOs!
Moody: You do that, Father. I still have more to roll with Gang Green. There’s the Newtralizer, an intergalactic mutant space-lizard bounty-hunter voiced by none other than Machete — Danny Trejo! (Which will make an amazing action figure. #SDCC14 exclusive? Just sayin’..) If that’s not huge, I don’t know what else is. The roll call continues with the Mutagen Men; Squirrelanoid; Sir Malachi the sparrow wizard, who’s said to be voiced by someone “close” to Danny DeVito (Joe Peschi wouldn’t make sense, but?); weapon master Tiger Claw (eff yeah!); the Baxter Fly (talk about great action figures..), who was just in the recent episode #23; and Ice Cream Kitty, who Cipes said is “the best kind of pet too; if you get hungry, you can just lick it.”
Tyler: Now I’m starving for some Lemon Litter-Ice. Thanks, Trav.
Moody: Anytime. BOOYAKASHA!
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” airs every Saturday morning at 11 am on NICK. Warner Bros’ The LEGO Movie comes out February 7, 2014.