Susan Granger’s review of “A LEGO Brickumentary” (Radius TWC)
Like the interlocking construction bricks, LEGO-maniacs come in all shapes and sizes, as demonstrated by documentarians Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge, who examine the LEGO phenomenon
Jason Bateman voices our genial mini-LEGO guide on this click-by-click, brick-by-brick journey showing how this simple, plastic toy has become a ubiquitous cultural icon, catapulting a small Danish company, founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen, into a $4 billion business that once nearly folded.
Apparently, in the late 1900s and early 2000s, LEGO focused on producing specialized theme sets, based on “Harry Potter,” “Star Trek,” and “Lord of the Rings,” among others. But there was no natural demographic. As a result in 2003, LEGOs popularity declined. When the company listened to its customers and reverted to its original concept, sales rebounded.
Then “The LEGO Movie” (2014) became an animation favorite, reminding us how playing was absolutely awesome.
Now, stop-motion LEGO animation is a YouTube phenomenon. Artist Nathan Sawaya specializes in LEGO sculptures, and a Seattle mom named Alice Finch has won the top prize at three consecutive LEGO conventions for creating a fantastically detailed model of Rivendale, the “Lord of the Rings” Elven village, utilizing more than 200,000 bricks.
Stephen Pakbaz, one of the NASA engineers behind the Mars Curiosity rover, built a LEGO replica that is now sold as a LEGO set, and Dr. Daniel LeGoff, a New Jersey psychologist, uses LEGOs to help autistic children communicate with one another.
Plus there are testimonials from “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker, pop musician Ed Sheeran and NBA player Dwight Howard, among others.
An interesting sidebar reveals how a life-sized X-Wing Starfighter – encompassing eight tons of bricks – was built in Denmark over a period of 17,000 hours and then shipped to Times Square to coincide with Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” promotion.
FYI: There was once a LEGO factory, offering tours, in Enfield, CT, but it’s now closed.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “A LEGO Brickumentary” is a family-friendly 5 – a 90-minute infomercial.