The Lego Movie is on track to absolutely demolish box office records tomorrow. But The Lego Movie is actually just one entry in a subgenre of animation with a long, long history. Here's a brief look at the history of brickfilm.
Widely considered the first extant brickfilm, this is actually a full-fledged movie shot on 16mm film that's been widely acclaimed for its animation. Even its creator, Lindsay Fleay, an experienced game developer and animator, is a little surprised that he appears to be the first to have made a brickfilm, but in truth it's a pretty engaging and well-animated little story about a spaceship where... well, let's say you need to see it to find out what happens, but it's pretty memorable.
For a lot of people, Michel Gondry's unique music video was the first brickfilm they ever saw. Gondry, being who he is, brought a fairly unique grammar and style to the subgenre that hasn't really been seen before or since, not least because it generally takes a pretty substantial budget to do this many shots. Amusing, Gondry couldn't get a deal with Lego, and had to buy his own; LEGO has learned their lesson since.
Created and shot entirely by filmmaker Marc Berteaux in his basement over three years, Robota is actually not the kind of lighthearted movie you're probably expecting. Instead it's a story about a homeless robot in desperate need of help, because Canadian animation is bleak and full of suffering. But it's an amazingly animated story, nonetheless.
Mostly we're including this one because it's pretty innovative with its camera work and animation, and because we know you can use the song to torment everyone around you while fondly remembering the NES days. Also, who hasn't wanted to encase a Swedish hipster in Lego?
This was the seed that started The Lego Movie, in some ways. First included on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD, it marked Lego increasingly creating amusing little movies to tie into major cultural events, usually animated by Spite Your Face Productions. Also, really there's nothing nerdier than combining Monty Python and Lego. Somebody reading this just exploded, we guarantee it.
Any brilliant brickfilms we missed? Share 'em in the comments!