Beyond The Brick: A Lego Brickumentary

Lego BrickumentaryA Lego Brickumentary is a documentary narrated by Jason Bateman. It starts with the early days of Lego and is packed with interesting factoids about the iconic company, from the factory burning down an alarming number of times to the information that it’s the biggest toy company in the world despite essentially only offering one product. The Brickumentary had limited release in theaters but it’s available on DVD and as a digital download.

We’re also given a peek inside the Lego headquarters and interviews with Lego Master Builders who stand proudly beside their stunning projects.

The film delves into a multitude of Lego subjects such as:

  • The computer programs used for the most massive Lego construction projects
  • Lego Conventions
  • Husband & wife Lego builder teams
  • Hacker-friendly Lego projects like Mindstorm
  • The origins of various lines
  • The founding of the website that allows fans to vote on sets to be produced
  • Fan creators who sell custom accessories like weapons

A really interesting portion of the documentary covered the near financial ruin of the company in the late 90s/early aughts. Everyone from the company that they interviewed took full responsibility for losing sight of the Lego vision. It was an inspiring story of how a company can listen to feedback from their long-time customers and make a phenomenal comeback with hard work and respect for the consumer.

While much of the information in this documentary can be found in text sources like Wikipedia and Lego blogs, the visuals are stunning and wonderfully immersive. It’s one thing to read about an out-of-work architect helping to start the Lego architecture line. It’s quite another to see and hear the man as he’s surrounded by epic, towering designs put together in his own living room, talking about the passion that gave him direction after his architectural firm went bust.

The tone is excessively upbeat; I found it charming but people who aren’t head-over-heels in love with all things Lego might get a bit fed up with it by the end.

The Brickumentary is rated G and should be fairly appropriate for all ages. My only real complaint about the film is that I wish they’d have omitted the commentary about men having a code word for attractive women at Lego conventions: A “one-by-five,” aka something that’s virtually nonexistent. A G-rated film that’s intended to be family-friendly should have thought a bit harder about what message that sends to little girls.

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