Lego! Camera! Action! FILM

Lego! Camera! Action! FILM
It's no simple task to make Michael Jackson appear more plastic than he already does — not to mention finding MJ material online that out-trumps the Smoking Gun's pedo-portfolio — but a dedicated German couple has pulled it off with "Lego Thriller," a slightly out-of-focus, shot-by-shot recreation of the zombie dance-athon using everyone's favourite colourful bricks (www.koreus.com/files/200408/ lego_thriller.html).

Michel Gondry's video for the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl" may be the most mainstream Legomation to date, but the French director was actually jumping an ongoing brick bandwagon. Using stop-motion techniques, amateur animators have been working in this odd subgenre for years, first using 16 mm, Super-8 and handheld video cameras before moving on to digital.

For a brief while, the Danish toy manufacturer even sold the Spielberg-approved Lego Studios set, a DIY package that included a web cam and editing suite but it was eventually discontinued and good riddance'd by the hardcore Legomators who griped about its poor visual quality.

Nevertheless, Lego Studios undoubtedly increased the number of budding directors as hundreds of films — ranging from McBeth (done with only ten bricks!) to GTA: Lego City to Dude, an amusing rumination on the slang word's multiple meanings — can be found via sites like Brickfilms.com.

While most are done by amateurs, and look it, several Canadian universities are developing Legomation as a teaching aid for children and a few professionals have even gotten into the game. Spite Your Face's Tim Drage and Tony Mine have been busy producing hilarious high-calibre brick flicks for the likes of Monty Python and Marvel, recreating the "Camelot" musical number for The Holy Grail DVD and wowing Spidey fans with the spoof-tastic Spider-Man: The Peril of Doc Ock (www.spiteyourface.com). But anyone can join the cinema Lego revolution — all you really need is a bucketload of bricks, a little imagination and waaay too much time on your hands.