Review: Legend of LEGOs, assembled brick by brick

Tom Long
The Detroit News

True, “A LEGO Brickumentary” is a barely disguised hour-and-a-half commercial. But as hour-and-a-half commercials go, it’s somewhat interesting.

And that’s if you don’t give two hoots about LEGOs. If you happen to be one of the many, many people apparently obsessed with the little plastic building blocks at the center of this universe, this movie may be “The Godfather,” “Citizen Kane” and “The Graduate” all rolled into one self-promoting slice of cinema.

Narrated by Jason Bateman, in the guise of a LEGO character, of course, the film lays out the history of LEGOS — founded by the carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in Denmark in the 1930s, it began producing lock-together plastic blocks in the late ’40s. The name came from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means play well.

They have, obviously. LEGOs have become the center of a subculture — competitions, amusement parks, fairs, clubs — that the company itself is only partly in charge of. Some guy has a house made of LEGOs. A couple of other guys have made a full-sized LEGO car that actually runs (slowly). People spend their lives constructing elaborate LEGO panoramas.

LEGO actually holds a worldwide competition to find the next great LEGO design; if you come up with it, you get a cut of the profits. And LEGO figures have been sent into outer space; why not, since scientists use LEGOs to design equipment?

The movie wanders about — LEGOs help autistic kids bond, the company almost went belly-up by being too formulaic, the AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) phenom — while following two major projects: The building of a full-sized “Star Wars” fighter jet and a (pretty impressive) LEGO art exhibit. Yes, it’s all self-promoting and sunny, but the power of these little plastic bricks is undeniable.

tlong@detroitnews.com

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‘A LEGO Brickumentary’

GRADE: B-

Rated G

Running time: 93 minutes