A Lego Brickumentary (2014)

(On Cable TV, February 2017) As an Adult Fan of Lego, I watched A Lego Brickumentary more for affirmation than discovery: I don’t need to be convinced of why Lego bricks can be fun for all ages, nor being told once again about Lego’s history or various cool facts about how people are using Lego bricks to do art, filmmaking, therapy or architecture. This being said, give me interviews with Jamie Berard and Nathan Sawaya, take me to a Lego convention, or show me what’s necessary to build a life-size Lego X-Wing and I’ll be happy. (Plus, hey, there’s Ed Sheehan talking about his Lego obsession.) The CGI/stop-motion sequences, narrated by Jason Bateman as a minifig, do have the gentle humour that’s becoming the Lego house style. It’s not a dull documentary, and it treats Lego hobbyists with respect. The mixture of talking heads, documentary footage, humorous interludes and live interviews makes the film more animated than anyone would expect, and the production credentials are excellent. A Lego Brickumentary seldom stops being anything but a Lego cheerleader, and that’s a mixed blessing: For all of the film’s radiant positivism, there’s seldom any mention of the gender issues in Lego fandom, monetary costs of a Lego obsession or any of the less-pleasant aspects to the hobby. On the other hand, Lego (as a corporation) has always been so careful to portray itself as wholesome and act accordingly that it’s hard to find unpleasant aspects to the topic. It certainly helps that, a decade and a half after Lego’s 2003/near-death experience, the company has reformed itself to a better relationship with its fans, and continues to strive for progressive values. (No, seriously; read their Social Impact report for the details.) A Lego Brickumentary does works best as affirmation that Lego bricks are awesome, and that’s more than good enough.

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