A Lego Brickumentary Is An Imaginative Look At The Surprisingly Complex Toy.

A Lego Brickumentary.
Directors: Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson.
Cast: Jason Bateman.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas.

Most documentaries only earn recognition if they deal with a difficult subject (The Look of Silence) or stand as technical marvels (Cave of Forgotten Dreams).

That's too bad. Because, when done well, even a documentary centering around subject as seemingly innocuous as toy bricks can stand as a winning effort.

A Lego Brickumentary specifically aims to make that case for itself by taking a look at the most popular toy in the world not only diving into its history, but also by examining the ways in which the brand has evolved from a child's plaything into a therapeutic tool, a source of architectural inspiration and one of bigger pop culture phenomenons in recent memory.

Featuring various animated segments featuring a little Lego mini-figure who's hilariously voiced by Jason Bateman (angling for a part in the next Lego Movie, perhaps?), the film is as lighthearted as it is informative. There are various interviews with Lego employees, brand fans and even brand obsessives from around the world. The amount of access afforded the filmmakers is also quite impressive — to the point where you could almost make the argument that this was a Lego-sponsored movie. It's not; turns out the company just enjoyed the filmmaker's approach.

Obviously, that affection is mutual. That's not to say that this movie's just some fluff piece, though. For instance, A Lego Brickumentary's not afraid to call out Lego's near bankruptcy in the '90s. Where the film shines, though, is when it delves into the the ways in which the brand has evolved and pivoted over the course of its history. It's eye-opening thing to see here all the modern-day applications the toy now boasts.

Perhaps the most fascinating such application comes from artist Nathan Sawaya, who uses Lego bricks to build beautiful original sculptures and even replicas of famous paintings. Also of note is the film's look at Jan Vormann whose worldwide art project fins him filling cracks and holes in walls and street around the world them with colorful Lego bricks.

The movie covers plenty of other ground within the Lego realm, too, from the fans who use Legos to make stop-motion films and the doctors who use the bricks as a means to provide autism therapy to the mathematicians who use bricks to solve grand concepts and the NASA engineers who use them to brainstorm satellite ideas.

There's a theory among creative types that says that the parameters and limitations on a project are actually more creatively inspiring than an open-ended buffet of possibilities. This film, in all, stands as a fine argument for this line of thought.

Whether you're a Master Builder or a noob looking into buying your first set, A Lego Brickumentary so well dives into Lego culture that most everyone will be able to take away something away from it.

In other words: This documentary stacks up.

Grade: B.

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