Brick by brick Lego has become one of the most popular toys in the world. With $4 billion in sales the “monster” brand’s snap together blocks are responsible for more building than Frank Gehry.
“A LEGO Brickumentary,” a new film narrated by Jason Bateman, takes us beyond the playroom and into the realm of the AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) population and artist Nathan Sawaya who says he spends upwards of $100,000 annually on LEGO parts. We also meet the designers who create new Lego sets and a psychologist who uses the bricks to help autistic kids.
We’re shown a whole subculture where people use Lego lingo like “minifig”—they’re the small plastic articulated yellow brick figurines—and “B.U.R.P.”—that’s a Big Ugly Rock Piece—and attend conventions to trade pieces and show off their creations.
The upbeat movie—it occasionally it feels more like a corporate video or DVD extra for “The Lego Movie” than it does a doc—may err on the side of being a bit too brand friendly, but it does a good job of showing how ubiquitous the building blocks are. “There are 100 LEGO pieces for every person on the planet,” we’re told. Too bad it doesn’t provide any deep insight as to why the Danish toy is so popular other than the often cited fuel for creativity, or, as one conventioneer puts it, “It’s just fun.” Singer, and Lego enthusiast Ed Sheeran chimes in, “It’s good not to take life too seriously.”
Perhaps so Ed, but while directors Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge clearly have a passion for the subject, a little more insight might have made this a better movie.
While there may be over 900,000,000 ways to fit these blocks together, exercise creativity and have fun “A LEGO Brickumentary” isn’t nearly as inventive as its subject.