NA na na na na na na na NA na na na na na na na BATman!
Holy brick toys Batman! With the release of the new LEGO Batman Movie now upon us, there has never been a better time to talk about Legos.
Yes, those little plastic mines that stabbed your feet as a child are primed to entertain the world once more in their second silver screen feature. Although the Legos featured in The LEGO Movie and now The LEGO Batman Movie are computer generated, The LEGO Movie is said to have used 3,863,484 unique CG bricks in its creation. If that seems overwhelming, consider that it could have taken a mind-boggling 15,080,330 individual Legos if they had made the movie using real Legos instead! Either way, since the average Lego set contains anywhere between 75 and 450 Legos, viewers will be getting a whole lot of Lego for the price of their movie ticket.
What you may not know, however, is that there’s a whole world to Lego animation that exists outside of the Blockbuster LEGO® movies… and it’s been around since the 70’s.
The Lego recreation of the “Knights of the Round Table” song, as seen in the DVD release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Stop motion is an animation technique in which a series of photos are captured of a figure. The figure is moved incrementally between stills, and once the stills are compiled into a short movie, the illusion of motion is created. Despite The LEGO Batman Movie’s use of CGI, there is an entire subgenre of stop motion animation called “Brickfilms” that centers around Lego characters and set pieces. The first known Brickfilm, titled En rejse til månen (Journey to the Moon), was captured in 1973 on a Super 8 film camera. Since then, Brickfilms have covered every genre of cinema. There’s horror (Lego Farmer Ben Versus Zombies), adventure (The Lego Kraken), and even romance (Henri & Edmond – Plastic Love)! The growing culture of Brickfilms has led to the reproduction of cult classics, movie trailers, music videos, and more. Here are some of our favorite finds:
This is not to say that Brickfilms are strictly fan creations. On the contrary, Lego based stop motion has been used in official music videos, and LEGO® has caught on and created a series of their own Brickfilms that you can check out on YouTube.
With the ever growing community of Brickfilm creators staying strong after 40 years, it’s no wonder we are seeing these little yellow people popping up in theatres. Brickfilms are a fun and relatively cheap way for anyone to get into filmmaking, whether they’re budding college film students or kids just playing with their toys. There are several online communities for Brickfilm creators and enthusiasts, and there’s even a feature length documentary on the art titled Bricks In Motion. If you’re interested in making your own, you can check out this tutorial on getting started (LEGO® Movie Maker app: Camera Tips and Tricks).
Yet for those of us who fancy ourselves more viewers than creators, the Brickfilm community has given us hours of entertainment to enjoy at our leisure. It’s all the fun of Legos without the fear of stepping on one, which is an excellent compromise no matter how you look at it.