The Lego Movie and The Adventures of Clutch Powers are both films based on the popular building blocks, but they are so similar!
The Lego Movie is the fir… secon.. Thir…Four… Fif… billionth film based on the ultra-popular line of toys and it’s definitely not bad but it bears a huge resemblance to the first movie based on Lego, The Adventures of Clutch Powers, released by Universal in 2010 on DVD. While I enjoyed The Lego Movie a thousand times more than Clutch Powers, I couldn’t sit through it without thinking about Clutch. They aren’t identical but they still are so similar to the point where I can still compare them as I am going to now.
First of all we have the artwork on the DVD boxes. On the Clutch Powers box, we see our hero and the supporting characters behind him with the antagonists and their buildings to the left. On The Lego Movie, we see our hero and the supporting characters behind him with the antagonists and their buildings to the left. Have I missed the memo on children’s movie poster design or is this a coincidence?
It looks like the people who designed the Clutch Powers DVD cover didn’t make any renders of the supporting characters so they took screenshots from the film and photoshopped it onto the cover.
The Lego Movie uses the Lego bricks in a much better way than Clutch. In The Lego Movie everything is Lego, but for some reason in Clutch most of the scenery is just average 3D photorealistic renderings. It’s like the shitty Lego ads you see on Saturday morning TV.
[A clip from an advertisement for Lego Pirates is played]
In Clutch, Lego is used so minimally that it’s almost like they could replace the minifigures with anything else and the story would make equally as much sense. Sometimes they just throw building into the movie just so they can say "hey look kids, LEGO!" and the kids will buy it whereas The Lego Movie uses bricks everywhere as if it is an enhanced stop motion. You wouldn’t be stupid for thinking that it looked like a stop motion animation from ForrestFire or Keshen with some enhancements such as better texturing in minifigure hair and somewhat-accurate physics.
The Lego Movie has much more detail on the minifigures bodies. If you look close up on renders of Emmet it looks like they scanned in an actual minifigure. In Clutch Powers it looks like they made the textures in Photoshop, they’re too clean and don’t have enough blemishes to be convincing. It appears as if they used the reference images for the painting of the real life minifigures.
Minifigures in The Lego Movie, for the most part, move like an actual minifigure would with limbs that can only move forwards and back and mostly rigid torsos. In Clutch, they move as they please, mostly they move normally but sometimes the characters do things that no minifigure could. Again, they could replace minifigures with actual people and there would be little difference.
The Lego Movie starts with about 5 minutes of logos and prelude and then an upbeat song with cinematic shots of the protagonist and the large metropolis that he lives in.
♫ Everything Is Awesome by Tegan and Sara plays ♫
Showing him doing everyday tasks around the city and driving to where he works. In Clutch Powers it starts with 6 min of logos and the prelude and the protagonist driving to his workplace, the only difference here is that he isn’t dropping off his dry cleaning or buying a coffee.
♫ I Work Alone by Greg O’Connor plays ♫
Is it just coincidence? I mean Clutch drives through a construction site while Emmet drives to a construction site. You’d think that The Lego Group would mention that to Warner. Maybe it’s a homage or I’m looking too deep into it. It’s not like the Lego Group didn’t know about it, the movie only released about 3 years earlier.
The Master Builders of The Lego Movie have a similar ability to Clutch who can see pieces in a way that allows them to think of something to build with speed and ease. The Master Builders see the actual pieces with actual identification numbers whereas Clutch sees the pieces around him and quickly visualizes what he wants to build. I think both conveyed the idea of structure recycling pretty well but in Clutch it was done so rarely that it’s not worth mentioning.
A cool thing with The Lego Movie is that you can buy every single set seen in the movie essentially working as an advertisement. With Clutch Powers, you can’t build everything! You can’t build Mallock the Malign, Omega, Clutch, Peg or any other main character. Why didn’t they make actual minifigs for them? Was it because this was Direct-to-DVD? Clutch serves not only as a LEGO Power Miners ad with the prelude but also as ad space for actual pre-roll ads. The DVD has fucking Lego ads that play before the movie.
Why would you bother putting ads for Legoland and various related Lego sets on the DVD when the movie is supposed to serve that purpose? It’s pointless.
In conclusion, The Lego Movie is quite similar to Clutch Powers. If you haven’t seen either yet I suggest you look at Clutch Powers first as it will make you see how much Lego movies have improved in 4 years. When you do watch Clutch Powers though, reduce any urge you have to think that it is a prototype of The Lego Movie.