A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Lego Brickumentary is a documentary chronicling aspects of the Lego company's evolution and introducing various super fans (usually self-identified Adult Fans of Lego, aka AFOL) who work with the bricks in unique ways. Although the documentary is about one of the most popular toys in the world, it's not really for very young kids, who might be bored by the spotlights on married master builders or a Danish mathematician who's trying to unlock the formula to find out how many different ways a finite number of Lego bricks can be arranged. There's a lot of discussion about the company, its successes and failures, and how the fan community is far more male than female. Parents of girls may not appreciate the way one AFOL describes "hot girls at Lego conferences" with some "Lego guy code," but, on the bright side, the female master builder who has won several awards for her constructions is also highlighted. There's almost no iffy content in the way of language, violence, sex, or drinking/drugs.
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What's the story?
Jason Bateman narrates A LEGO BRICKUMENTARY, a documentary that chronicles not only the rise of the Lego company in Denmark, but the ways the Lego system has impacted and inspired fans from around the world. Viewers meet a variety of designers, architects, master builders, and devoted fans: There's a Danish mathematician who's dedicated his career to figuring out the exact number of ways a given number of bricks can be arranged, a Lego designer who was hired after impressing company executives at high-profile conventions, a husband and wife who build together, a mom of two who has emerged as one of the top builders in the United States, and Lego-employed master builders who created all of the set pieces for The Lego Movie.
Is it any good?
This documentary is interesting without being particularly fascinating -- it's part corporate pep rally for Lego and part social commentary on why the toys are so enduringly popular. There's an undeniable interest in the Lego company (which was founded in Billund, Denmark); not only is it to Denmark what IKEA is to Sweden, but it's a worldwide symbol of childhood creativity and imagination. The Lego system -- as explained in the documentary but already understood by anyone who's over opened a yellow box of bricks -- is addictive to children and adults alike.
A Lego Brickumentary capitalizes on Legos' beloved status by interviewing interesting members of the company's international collection of architects, designers, engineers, and master builders, as well as a host of superfans around the world. Everyone spends most of their time gushing about Lego -- even singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (the video for his song "Lego House" features custom Lego pieces), South Park creator Trey Parker, and NBA player Dwight Howard wax poetic about how coming into money in their respective careers allowed them to accumulate hundreds of Lego kits (and, in Howard's case, a commissioned bust of him made out of Lego bricks). A mathematician and an artist also feature prominently, showing how Legos can be used as far more than as toys. And, of course, there's a short interview with the directors of The Lego Movie. The AFOLs (as Adult Fans of Lego are known) are slightly less fleshed out because the film doesn't delve deep enough into their subculture. Bottom line? This is an enjoyable if occasionally unfocused documentary about the power of the Lego brand/system.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about A Lego Brickumentary's relationship with the Lego brand. Is it is a big commercial? Is it all critical of the brand? What are some areas in which it suggests the Lego company can improve?
Lego is supposed to have universal appeal, but the majority of people interviewed are men. Does that send a message to younger viewers? What do you think about the mom who's won several competitions for her builds? Who would you select as the best role models in the movie?
Why do you think Legos are so globally beloved? What makes them unique among toys?
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