Screenwriters Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver know how to get the party started and keep it lively.
After San Diego Comic-Con preview night on Wednesday, there was another special preview, a screening of Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson’s “A LEGO Brickumentary” prior to the movie’s official U.S. opening on July 24th.
LEGO is part of many Comic-Cons and this is no less true for San Diego. Attendees expect to see incredible LEGO sculptures and for San Diegans, the expectations are high. After all, San Diego County is one of several locations for LEGOLAND Parks.
In all, there are six parks, the oldest one opened in 1968 in Billund, Denmark, where LEGO originated. The other current parks are the 1996 Windsor England, the 1992 Günzburg, Germany, the 2011 Winter Haven, Florida and the 2012 Johor, Malaysia parks. The Carlsbad (North San Diego County) park opened in 1999. Future parks are scheduled to open in 2016 (Dubai), Korea (2017) and Japan (also 2017). LEGO is a global phenomena.
Visiting the Carlsbad location for the first time, I was struck by the color, the humor and the imagination of the sculptures. LEGO isn’t just for kids. While Anaheim’s Disneyland seems to celebrate the imagination of Walt Disney and the Disney corporation, LEGO celebrates the imagination of individuals. There are plenty of opportunities to buy LEGO, but also to build and be inspired by master builders and their sculptures. LEGOLAND in Carlsbad includes a modest but lovely aquarium and a LEGO-themed watermark as well as a LEGO-themed amusement park. Tired of whiny kids while waiting in long lines? LEGOLAND has a solution; let them build with LEGO while you wait.
You can see miniatures of major cities, real and imagined; busts of famous people, historical and fictional; and you can ride on amusement park-type rides and play carnival games. Throughout the park, there are LEGO sculptures such as dinosaurs and contemporary jungle animals as well as depictions of cartoon characters.
“A LEGO Brickumentary” attempts to cover it all—from the kids just starting out, to the serious master builders to the YouTube animators of stop-motion frame-by-frame LEGO versions of movies to the subversive supplier of weapons for simulated LEGO warfare. Narrated by Jason Bateman, a LEGO fan, and with a screenplay by directors Junge and Davidson along with Davis Coombe, the documentary is framed by Bateman’s stop-motion animated miniature LEGO figure (minifig) and takes us into different LEGO communities, nationally and internationally.
One of the most amazing art installations shown in the documentary was made by a woman. Women are rare in the LEGO community, but documentary shows Alice Finch taking a third consecutive win for her depiction of the Elven outpost of Rivendell from J.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings."
In the Q&A that followed the screening, Davidson commented that he and his son were involved in the LEGO Minecraft. Artist Nathan Sawaya, who is featured in the documentary, also noted that when he originally began using LEGO for his art works, galleries were less than enthusiastic, but now galleries are asking to sell his works. LEGO is now a recognized art medium.
“A LEGO Brickumentary” provides ample inspiration for taking that plastic brick and making it into something much, much more.