Of all the toys arising from the 20th century, there has never been one like Lego bricks. This film covers the history of this product of Denmark and how it arose from a toy company with an owning family that refused to let either hard times or multiple fiery disasters get them down. Furthermore, we also explore the various aficionados of the product like the collectors, hobbyists, artists, architects, engineers, scientists and doctors who have found uses for this classic construction toy that go far beyond children's playtime.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
I grew up in Belgium, and as a young kid in the 1960s, LEGO was one of my primary toys. I must've spent hundreds of hours playing and building LEGO stuff. Then I passed on the love for LEGO to my young son here in the US 30 years later. When I found out that, if not parallel with, then certainly as a result of the smashing success of the (CGI, not brick-made) "Lego Movie", a documentary was being made about the LEGO phenomenon, I couldn't wait to see it.
"A LEGO Brickumentary" (2014 release from Denmark and the US; 93 min.) opens with seeing 3 LEGO minifigs on a space ship, and the narrator (Jason Bateman) telling us he'll explain later what that is about. Soon after, we get a LEGO 101 on the company's roots and history. But it's not too long before we finally get what we all came to see this for: bigger, better, ever more imaginative if not out-right exotic LEGO creations. Along the way, we get the LEGO celebrity fans (Ed Sheeran singing his hit single "Lego House", NBA player Dwight Howard, etc.). Co-directors Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge decide to keep things very light-hearted. There is only the slightest critical comment about LEGO, and even there, it's turned into a plus for LEGO (how the company turned things around financially by listening better to its customers). The best part of the movie comes in the second half, when the co-directors look at the possible therapeutic effects of playing with LEGO, and also where a Danish university math professor examines whether he can come up with a formula for finding how many different positions just 6 or 7 LEGO bricks can be used/interlocked.
In the end this film is nothing more than an unabashed love letter to LEGO. It's pleasant (to see the LEGO creations) but it's also devoid of any critical tone, and hence there is also no strong narrative that pulls you in, reason that I rate this 6 stars. The movie opened just this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The early evening screening where I saw this at was not particularly well attended, which really surprised me. Given the strong brand that LEGO is and the very positive response to The LEGO Movie, I would've expected more people for that on its opening weekend. If you are a LEGO fan, you should definitely check this out, but you should also keep your expectations modest. If you are not into LEGO, I'd suggest you check out something else to see.
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