Last night I was able to attend a screening of Beyond the Brick at the Seattle International Film Festival. I have to say that I did not have high hopes or expectations. I have found that, at the best of times, they tend to have a skewed view of the fan community, so I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing how a documentary with LEGO’s official stamp of approval would deal with us adult fans. I am glad to say that my misgivings were unjustified. It was good, even (dare I say it?) better than The LEGO Movie itself. Go ahead, stone me in the comments, but everything WAS awesome.
So what exactly is Beyond the Brick?
In a Q&A session after the screening, one of the directors said that their goal was to create a film that not only told the story of LEGO but showed the vast community that has grown up around it. The idea was to delve into what it is about the LEGO brick that touches us and inspires us, how the system of play drives creativity and who are the people who have been changed and/or affected by LEGO. Did they succeed? I think think they did. I have been a fan of LEGO’s products for 35 years and I learned quite a few things about the global LEGO community that I never knew and was reminded of things that I had forgotten. The filmmakers were able to touch on many different aspects of LEGO and the effects it has had over the years and around the globe. Some of these included changes in the art world, new therapies with special needs children, the adult fan phenomenon, crowd-sourcing before it was a buzzword and sending minifigs into Space.
Was everything really awesome about the film?
No film is ever perfect. I felt there were some key members of the fan community who were overlooked and who could have offered insight into the concepts that the filmmakers were wanting to explore. But, in their defense, they couldn’t talk to everyone and they definitely couldn’t fit every detail into 90 minutes. There were only a few omissions that really bothered me, such as leaving out the collaborators of several projects and making it appear that the projects were built by a single person. One example of those was a minor collaboration I took part in at BrickCon. I was in the film, talking about the build but there were actually two of us there. My partner-in-crime was cut out. There were other, more important examples, involving large convention collaborations, that didn’t give full credit to those involved. But really that is my only serious critique of the film. Overall, it is a very well-crafted film that does an excellent job of showing off the LEGO community to the world. You should go see it or get a hold of the DVD when it comes out.
Check out this clip from the film, via The Wall Street Journal (Many thanks to my coworker, Brett, for sending me the link):