REVIEW: A Lego Brickumentary

31 07 2015

A Lego BrickumentaryA Lego Brickumentary” gets part of its title by clever wordplay on the word “documentary,” appropriating about half of the letters it contains.  Fittingly, that roughly approximates the amount of content in the film that resembles non-fiction cinema.

As fun and engaging as the film might be to watch, directors Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge essentially do the bidding of the Lego brand.  This amounts to a shinily mounted piece of corporate propaganda, the kind of CNBC special that highlights the global reach and outreach of the company.  Lego comes across as a product deeply responsive to the needs and desires of its fans across all age groups – and, of course, the corporate social responsibility aspect gets trumpeted big time.

The film, with its friendly and funny narration provided by Jason Bateman in CGI Lego form, feels like it is not meant for consumption in the fashion of a normal documentary like “Citizenfour.” Discretely contained portions could play across multiple rooms at a Legoland exhibition, which may very well be its ultimate destination. (In which case, the feature format makes for a particularly egregious cash grab.)

But the puff piece elements notwithstanding, “A Lego Brickumentary” actually makes for pleasantly informative viewing. How people use the bricks for art, physics, and social connection proves very unexpected and fairly intriguing. Disentangling the reality from the corporate PR spin makes for a small concern, sure, yet getting to see how the Legos make such universal creative building blocks from geeks to math professors actually makes for quite an eye-opening watch.  B / 2halfstars

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