Review: A LEGO Brickumentary
While not everything is awesome about Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge’s paean to the brick, the film is entirely serviceable in its examination of subculture.
Because although the film is ostensibly about the LEGO company and the pieces themselves, it’s not really. The focus is actually on the collectors, the hobbyists and the enthusiasts, including some surprising and very famous faces, like Ed Sheeran and NBA player Dwight Howard and Sergei Brin.
By far the most interesting aspect of The Lego Brickumentary is the exploration of the AFOLs, (Adult Fans of LEGO). While the enthusiasm expressed by these fans uses a number of acronyms and unique terminology, it could be about any subculture, really.
The problem with The LEGO Brickumentary is that the narration by Jason Bateman is a little bit too cutesy, (and he is embodied by an anthropomorphic LEGO figurine). Moreover, the tone of the film seems too be a little too whimsical, perhaps enhanced by the choice of music, (though catchy).
For The LEGO Brickumentary to truly fit into place, perhaps an exploration of why the numbers are skewed so heavily in favour of men and not women would be welcome. Also, are children at all fazed by the number of adult fans, and should LEGO be seen primarily as a childhood toy?
The film ultimately wavers from its vision by bringing up interesting dilemmas and explores culture through the lens of a relatively simple conceit – LEGO as metaphor. But then it does not see its message through to its conclusion. It instead opens the issues to debate, but then ultimately lets its viewers decide. Interesting in theory, but makes the sense of whimsy seem a little dull.
But what whimsy there is, as Star Wars toys are given free rein to be captured in all of their glory, as is captured through the story of a young fan that struggles to express himself. The joy that he feels upon seeing a certain force awakening upon viewing a Times Square instalment is palpable.
We almost want to jump through the screen and join the boy in his sense of enjoyment and wonderment. But then we realize that’s the goal of the film, to demonstrate how LEGO brings us closer together, as long as we partner to click the bricks in place properly.