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SDCC 2015: A LEGO Brickumentary & Nathan Sawaya Show Why LEGO Remains “Awesome”… One Brick at a Time

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Whatever you do, don’t call him yellow. (I’m okay with it however.)

 

Human beings are born builders. From our early days of stacking unstable Lincoln Logs (I learned the hard way) in an attempt to reach the cookie jar to our quest to develop advanced robotics which we program to serve us beer on the toilet only to realize they will eventually wipe our butts off the planet, we are a species that loves putting things together. Granted we love taking things apart too, but that’s another post for another day.

Our predisposition to build is one of the key themes highlighted in the new documentary, A LEGO Brickumentary. Geek Outlaw was given press credentials to the advanced premiere screening of the film during the 2015 Comic-Con held in San Diego at the beginning of July.

 


Proof that the building blocks of a good trailer… are bricks.

 

Despite being quite the movie buff, I’ve never placed documentaries or movies based on actual events at the top of my viewing queue. That’s not to say I dislike movies based on facts. On the contrary, I find films based on “real stuff” as captivating, if not more so than much of the fictitious fare that I devote most of my non-sleeping hours to watching.

Admittedly, I’m a happy endings kind of guy (as I’ve been told on several levels). I’m all about good conquering evil and the underdog getting the girl, or the girl getting the guy, or the guy getting the alien that doesn’t know what it is. Sci-fi gives me that more often than not. On the other hand, I’m choosier about the true-life entertainment I consume because a large chunk of it tends to be fairly depressing and too real. I can get all of that discouraging information by reading the paper, watching the news, or opening my window. I want to feel good about life after planting my oversized hindquarters in a seat for over two hours of my life that I will never get back.

 

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Directors Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge introducing their film and informing the crowd that fortunately they decided against building all the theater seats out of LEGO.

 

Therefore, when I was presented with the opportunity to watch a documentary about a toy I used to grow up adoring when I was a kid (roughly two weeks ago) and still love as an adult, my RSVP of yes was a no-brainer. The fact it was a free screening didn’t hurt the cause either.

Banking on the popularity of another little brick-based film released just a year ago, A LEGO Brickumentary provides its viewers with a very Chris Pratt-like animated LEGO narrator that is voiced by the just-as-charming Jason Bateman. Bateman does a more than competent job of presenting the brick business with as much excitement as one could possibly provide for a documentary about a toy building blocks. While there were some fun and humorous moments, there were also some instances where the overly juvenile humor felt a bit flat and forced.

 

Jason Bateman

Is it just me or has Jason had a bit of plastic surgery recently.

 

As expected, the documentary was no tour de force of special effects, but instead it made use of more traditional stop-motion animation techniques throughout. The result was more than satisfying and a break from an overabundance of CGI. Either way, it was of no concern since most of the wow moments came from the epic scale of a few actual projects showcased, including but not limited to a full-sized replica Star Wars X-Wings and a spectacular fan made recreation of a recurring landscape as seen in Lord of the Rings.

 

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Sadly, it puts the Outlaw’s own home to shame. Wonder if she is renting out any of the rooms.

 

In addition to covering the birth and somewhat tumultuous early beginnings of the LEGO company, the Brickumentary also takes a look at how intertwined the nubby block has into almost everything we do in society. Be it mathematical theory, architectural design, space vehicle development, or even clinical therapies to certain mental health disorders, by the end of the runtime, one is left wondering if there is anything LEGO isn’t used to help accomplish.

 

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Yeah, very impressive, but does it have On Star?

 

One of the more intriguing aspects covered revolved around LEGO as art. Undoubtedly, there are probably a few individuals such as myself that have the creativity of a sand crab and prefer following the step-by-step instructions of building their sets without having to think outside the brick (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) On the other end of the spectrum however, there are those that have created beautiful and jaw-dropping works of art with nothing more than a couple thousand of the infamous interlocking blocks. One such artist is Nathan Sawaya (BrickArtist.com), a certified LEGO professional whose traveling art gallery of life-size and life-like sculptures have graced major art galleries and museums across the globe.

 

Brick Artist Nathan

Looks like someone is feeling a little blue. (Right: Nathan Sawaya)

 

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If plastic bricks ruled the earth millions of years ago. (Nathan Sawaya creation.)

 

The Outlaw had the honor of sitting down for an interview with Mr. Sawaya and ask the brick-artist about the inspiration behind his passion, inquire about his favorite pieces, and what his future may hold.

 


My one-on-one interview with he man, the myth, the brick layer… Nathan Sawaya.

 

Without giving too much more away, A LEGO Brickumentary takes the audience into a world of LEGO many casual fans (that’s me raising my hand) may have zero clue exists. I’d wager there are even some loyal builders out there whom have no idea what kind of dedicated creative underbelly the LEGO community is truly built around.

 

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Get yourself together man! I wasn’t being literal about the “underbelly” thing. (Nathan Sawaya creation)

 

If you were or are a fan of the world’s most popular building block, I highly recommend taking in A LEGO Brickumentary at some point in the not-too-distant future. It’s an entertaining romp through the history of pop culture’s legendary plastic brick and there are some fascinating moments to be had for those willing to give it a shot. The LEGO Movie it is not, but it’s still “awesome” in its own right.

A LEGO Brickumentary opens in theaters nationwide in limited release starting July 31st, 2015.

 

5 Spurs

 

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