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The Lego Brickumentary

Year: 2014
Production Co: Global Emerging Markets
Director: Kief Davidson/Daniel Junge
Writer: Daniel Junge/Davis Coombe/Kief Davidson
Cast: Jason Bateman

The funniest pop culture comment on The Lego Movie I remember seeing before it came out was a newspaper cartoon of a couple walking into the cinema, the man saying to his companion 'I hope there's not too much product placement in this movie'.

If that was a legitimate complaint about the 2014 franchise-starter, you'd expect it to be applicable even more to the The Lego Brickumentary. But somehow the movie manages to avoid looking like just a 90-minute ad (even though that's of course what it is, no doubt with every word picked over carefully by Lego in-house counsel). It's more like an in-depth oral history article of the kind you see in well-researched magazines like Wired or Vanity Fair.

You could argue that it's hagiographic and biased about how rich (financially) Lego and the world around it (creatively) is, but expecting a shocking, unsanitised expose is probably asking too much –there's probably no scandal or rot under the glossy veneer of a toy company aside from a bit of insider trading or how one of the board members likes ladyboys when he goes on holiday to Thailand. If you have any discerning media smarts your bullshit detector will already be way up, so just enjoy the trivia.

Starting with the history and branching out into the various ventures and movements (movie tie-in product lines, devoted user groups, designers and engineers at work, etc), Jason Bateman narrates the story of the company and its influence with a laid back patter that makes it as informative and fun as it is inoffensive.

You'll learn about the company, the subculture and – yes – the corporate plan to take more of your money disguised as an impartial documentary. Plus, if you really want to nitpick about corporate whitewashing there are two examples of where things went wrong anyway. First, the Billund, the Denmark factory of the company founder burned down three times and second, the old management nearly sent the company broke by not embracing the creativity and input of fans.

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