Movie Review: “A LEGO Brickumentary” the Shilling is Not Worth the Kitsch

Slick production, big name cameos, bright colors and fun music aren’t enough to make this film worth your time UNLESS you are a brick enthusiast. For the rare documentary viewer who actually knows that LEGOs are called bricks and not blocks, who waits impatiently for the next product line to be revealed, who spends a weekend constructing a complex LEGO box, you may actually enjoy this film.

For the rest of us, A LEGO Brickumentary plays like an updated educational film strip that you had to watch in Science class when the teacher was too lethargic to deal with their students any longer. It’s remotely interesting and nice to look at but you can’t help but think about all of the other things you’d rather be doing with your time.

Jason Bateman narrates the film as an animated LEGO and his dialog is so cliched, pat and cringe-worthy that he must have required a stiff drink after a days work, unless he got some of those huge, over-priced LEGO sets featured in the film in which case the shilling was worth the kitsch.

The film deviates for mere moments into segments that might have offered a more complex, and therefore more complete view of the company and it’s products but each time it tip toed towards an interesting edge, it quickly reeled back in. For example, there is mention that the original head quarters burned down multiple times. What happened? Was there foul play? There is mention of a dark time for the company in the 1990’s when they came close to demise. This could have been a fascinating study of the wrong turns, societal blase towards LEGOs, and more but instead was a mere blip on the screen used as a pat on the back. See how great we are? We built our way back up?

The most interesting segments are the ones that pull far away from the company itself. Alice Finch uses thousands of bricks to build elaborate recreations from film sets, Rivendell from The Lord of the Rings won her the multiple awards, (photo from: Mashable).

rivendell-10

There are mathematicians trying to solve the problem of how many possibilities there are for ways to connect LEGOs and even doctors who uses LEGO construction as a tool to aid autistic children in learning social skills. These are all great, happy stories that don’t lead to the balanced presentation of the subject in the way that the best documentaries do. What about the kids who get frustrated when they are almost done with a set and learn that two pieces are missing? What about the astronomical price of the boxes and all of the children who will never have the opportunity to play with them?

With a promising premise, a large budget and a vibrant subject A LEGO Brickumentary falls short of meeting its potential.

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Release Date: July 31, 2015 (limited)
Director: Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge
Writers: Daniel Junge, Davis Coombe and Kief Davidson
Producer: Chris Brown, Lee Clay, Davis Coombe, Ryan Egan, Gustavo Gelmini, Chad Herschberger, Daniel Junge, Brendan Kiernan, Chelsea Matter, Justin Moore-Lewy, Andrew Oppenheimer, Jim Packer, Andy Schocken, Molly Tait, Shashwati Talukdar and Jill Wilfert
Runtime: 92 Mins
Rating: G

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