Every once in a while you will run into something special. This time that something special happens to be a colorful brick. Directors Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson have to be patting themselves on their backs right now for putting together a fascinating documentary. Since giving life and trade marking the toy in 1958, the LEGO Empire has produced over 400 million bricks. When I was a kid it was mostly a toy marketed to young boys. Over the years we have seen this toy branch out to young girls, Adults, Architects and Artists. This documentary makes it pretty clear…The LEGO is no longer just a toy.
For a company that has been around for over 50 years, this ship is going strong but had it’s moments early on. In 1999 LEGO reported significant losses and almost shut down in 2003. There are many reasons a company reports loses, the main culprit here was arrogance. LEGO stopped listening to their customers and the backlash was almost finished them off. The irony here is when they did start listening it not only got the company back on track, it took LEGO in places they could have never imagined.
Cuusoo, a very unique company, has opened the avenue for LEGO hobbyist to design a playset and actually have it go to market if selected. Stephen Pakbaz, a mechanical engineer who actually worked on the Curiosity rover at NASA, had his design become the fifth product to be released by the Cuusoo line of fan-designed sets. Now he not only has bragging rights but he will also get a 1% royalty of sales.
Brickworld, a Chicago LEGO convention for adults, has taken the popularity of the toy to new heights. This convention started with one event in 2007 and because of it’s success, it began hosting 4 annul events in 2014. Their Motto (Share-Learn-Explore – Discover) has artists and engineers coming together doing seminars, workshops and holding discussions. This documentary covers this event and introduces the viewer to a sea of fans who are mostly adults. It’s fascinating to see so many folks that share a love for this toy.
After watching an artist and architect take this brick and create the unimaginable, the best part of this documentary was seeing how it affected kids with Autism. It’s called “LEGO Therapy.” We meet a young Autistic boy who discovered these bricks help him focus. While in a session, the participants who all have autism are given a distinct role: engineer, parts supplier and builder. The goal is to get them to collaborate and interact. From what we quickly discover from this documentary…it is working and is very touching. One can only imagine how rewarding editing this part of the film was.
I went in to view this documentary not knowing what to expect. Jason Bateman was a perfect person chosen to narrate. He is witty and really keeps you focused on the ride. There is much to learn from this documentary and it’s very refreshing to see a toy make so many happy and at the same time have healing powers. This is a gem for adults and kids.
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