“A LEGO Brickumentary” is exactly what the title suggests, a documentary about the LEGO company and the little brick building toys that have been in the world since the late 1950s. According to the documentary, LEGO is the second biggest toy company in the world, and considering that it pretty much makes only one type of product, that’s remarkable.
The film has the built-in interest of anything that explains the origins of a ubiquitous and seemingly eternal product. Did you know, for example, that LEGO is a Danish company? Still, unless you are desperate to know more about LEGO than you could ever get in a Wikipedia entry, “A LEGO Brickumentary” will seem about an hour too long, at least.
Love is a beautiful thing, and if people love LEGO and want to make art with it or build massive 5-million-piece structures, that’s not for us to criticize. However, a movie that forces us to listen to these people talk on and on about how great LEGO is — well, that’s something different. At times, the documentary comes very close to seeming like a Christopher Guest mockumentary, such as “Best in Show,” as when the various aspiring young filmmakers talk about using LEGO in their animations. But the movie never comes quite close enough to being unintentionally funny, just puzzling.
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At other times — indeed, for a majority of screen time — “A LEGO Brickumentary” plays as though it were a corporate film commissioned by the company itself. We hear how LEGO has a wonderful work environment, that it teaches kids with autism to work together, that it’s a great stress reliever, and that there are LEGO appreciation clubs for adults. Surprisingly, some of the art created by LEGO doesn’t look bad at all. For sure, though no one ever says it, LEGO seems like a benign and contemplative alternative to violent video games.
One reasonably interesting bit of information here is that LEGO was financially on the ropes about 15 years ago, and that part of the means of its comeback was to start relying on its fans. After years of including no building instructions, LEGO started taking designs from its users and including directions on how to recreate certain structures.
But even the interesting parts of “A LEGO Brickumentary” aren’t that interesting, but are rather more like the best thing you might hear while being cornered by the most boring person at a party. “Oh, really? Is that so? Wow, that’s fascinating,” you might say, but you won’t mean it. You’re just being nice.
However, if you share the obsession, then “A LEGO Brickumentary” will be a whole other experience.