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Point and Brick: Movie Magic Goes Lego

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Stop-motion animation -- the excruciating process in which an artist films a scene frame by frame, moving the subjects about a millimeter between each shot -- had its heyday with the puppet-tastic Christmas specials of the '60s. But today, in an age when most children associate the word "animation" with something made on a computer, it would certainly make sense for stop-motion to go the way of the kinetoscope. (Even Aardman Animations, the stop-motion holdout behind the Wallace & Gromit series, went the CGI route with its most recent feature, "Flushed Away.")

Yet stop-motion is alive and well on the Web, where amateur auteurs are lovingly crafting new click-and-move movies -- only the medium of choice seems to be that most iconic of building blocks: Lego.

The growing library of movie and TV remakes using Legomation on YouTube proves that these artists are not just some kids fooling around. They are serious film buffs who are painstakingly re-creating their favorite scenes from film history.

Take for instance Keshen, a 19-year-old Aussie who recently posted a shot-for-shot remake of the trailer for the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight"-- a tribute, one assumes, to the late Heath Ledger, listed as Keshen's favorite actor. This toy version of the eerie trailer is perfectly synched to the soundtrack and matches every camera angle ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StWZDqqBfJo). It's some serious fanboy material.

Here are some other highlights of YouTube's Legomation archive:

"300": One might think it impossible to mimic the visuals of the swords-and-loincloths epic using only a bunch of colorful bricks, but one Russian teenager did it. The feel is very much like that of the film, except with sharper corners. Watching an army of Lego soldiers falling off a cliff in stark silhouette is strangely hilarious.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y445qA0BLec.

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail": Check out this brilliant 1 1/2 -minute reproduction of the "Camelot" musical number from the comedy classic. Everything is there, from knights swinging on tapestries to a Lego skeleton applauding in the dungeon below.


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