To the uninitiated, it would seem as if the LEGO toy brand was thrust into the limelight by last year’s The LEGO Movie, but truthfully, the beloved construction toy was always there. Now, A LEGO Brickumentary tells curious viewers everything they ever wanted to know about one of the world’s most popular toy companies.
Written and directed by Kief Davidson (Open Heart) and Daniel Junge (Saving Face) with writing help from editor Davis Coombe (Chasing Ice), A LEGO Brickumentary is much more than simply a history of the brand. Of course, the history is there, from the company’s inception in Denmark in the late forties, through its unprecedented growth rate that resulted in it becoming one of the most recognizable toys on the planet, to the brand’s dilution in the early 21st century that almost bankrupted the corporation. But, once all of that stuff is out of the way, A LEGO Brickumentary gets on with the fun stuff, examining the subculture and fanaticism that surrounds LEGO toys.
One of the greatest aspects of A Lego Brickumentary is the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously; it seems to recognize the fact that it is, after all, a movie about toys. Sure, it’s a legendarily successful toy, but it’s still a toy. The film is narrated by an animated LEGO minifig (voiced by Jason Bateman from the Horrible Bosses movies), and he takes the audience on a fun trip through the world of a toy that, although based on a simple idea, has endless possibilities.
Highlights of the A LEGO Brickumentary include a visit to the LEGO headquarters in Denmark where the designers seemingly have the greatest job in the world – playing with LEGOs all day, a peek into the world of the LEGO Master Builders who create the exhibits for the stores and theme parks around the world, and a trip to a LEGO convention called Brick-Con where Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) meet and celebrate their LEGO obsessions. The movie also spends time with a handful of stop-motion filmmakers who work exclusively with LEGOs, an enterprising young man who builds and sells custom modern weapons for LEGO sets (since, as he points out, the weapons that are included with sets are either period weapons for pirates or cowboys, or space-age laser guns), an artist who uses LEGO bricks as his primary medium, and a professor who tries to determine whether or not the number of ways that LEGO bricks can fit together is infinite. A LEGO Brickumentary explores the underbelly of the LEGO subculture, proving that the brand itself no longer controls how their product is used – the consumers do that, and they do it in intensely innovative and creative ways.
While making A LEGO Brickumentary, Davidson and Junge were given unprecedented access to the LEGO factories and design rooms, and that’s fun for the viewer to see. The movie obviously has the most to offer for hardcore LEGO fans, but even casual viewers will end up wanting to work for LEGO by the end of it. As one kid interviewed for the film puts it, “my definition of adults that play with LEGOs are just tall kids.” That pretty much sums up the target audience of A LEGO Brickumentary.