Founded in 1932, The Lego Group began from a straightforward concept and gradually grew into the international company it is today. The name Lego is an abbreviation, comprised of two Danish words, “leg” and “godt”. When translated into English this means “play well”, a philosophy which may be seen throughout the company’s line of products. This seemingly straightforward idea gave birth to a toy line which aimed to have placed creativity and imagination at its core. The unique brand of interlocking bricks, which Lego developed, made it possible for individuals to assemble models and structures using the numerous ways the bricks seemed to connect. Since its creation, the little plastic bricks seem to have provided the foundation for the Lego Group’s toy continually takes on new forms.
In 2014 Lego brick saw itself adapted into a new format for its debut full-length theatrical release. This was the year The Lego Movie was released, produced by Warner Animation Group and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). To shape an inanimate toy into an expressive motion picture, the animators working on The Lego Movie created a bespoke Lego modelling software. This software allowed the animators to design sets and animate character models using a digitised version of real Lego bricks. Drawing from the official library of Lego bricks, the animators created objects for the film which may be recreated using real Lego bricks. The team involved set out to ensure each brick was replicated with a high level of authenticity. The animators went as far as adding fingerprints across the surface of Lego bricks to create Lego bricks which appeared authentic.
Continuing this tradition, alongside the pair of directors from The Lego Movie, is co-animator Chris McKay. Chris McKay aims to make his directorial debut with a spin-off to the 2014 film, The Lego Batman Movie. Adapting source material from DC Comic’s crime-fighting superhero Batman, The Lego Batman Movie sees Will Arnett (The Lego Movie, Despicable Me) reprise his role as a miniaturised version of the caped crusader. Batman was originally created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939 and The Lego Batman Movie aims to take a light-hearted approach to the cowl-wearing hero.
In The Lego Batman Movie, Batman returns with an ensemble of supporting characters. Featuring Lego versions of Batman’s rouge gallery, Chris McKay seems to have embraced the source material. With appearances from iconic figures like The Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Birdman) and Harley Quinn, voiced by Jenny Slate (The Secret Life of Pets, Zootropolis) and more, Batman may have his work cut out for him. However, Batman is joined by Dick Grayson, voiced by Michael Cera (Scott Pilgram vs. the world, Juno) in his latest adventure. There are also appearances from Batman’s faithful butler, Alfred, who is voiced by Ralph Fiennes (The Harry Potter series).
From its origin, to create a toy, which encourages imagination and creativity, the Lego brand, may have been able to establish a global brand. Its interlocking bricks may be iconic, and have been used to create colourful and captivating models. With the release of The Lego Movie and its subsequent spin-off, The Lego Batman Movie, the Lego block seems to continue to demonstrate its versatility. With The Lego Group and Warner Animation Group preparing to release their latest animated feature, audiences may find a newfound adventure in this colourful theatrical release.
How might The Lego Batman Movie continue the animation style originally seen in 2014 The Lego Movie?