This year marks the 80th anniversary of the LEGO company. Once a workshop for the production of wooden toys, LEGO has grown into a worldwide capitalist juggernaut with its interlocking, foot destroying plastic bricks. The modular building system gives children of all ages the ability to create and destroy with only a modicum of skill or talent required in other artistic hobbies.
We kick of this latest Watchlist with a computer animated short film produced by LEGO for this very occasion. Er, the birthday, not the Watchlist. Beginning before the formation of the company itself, The LEGO® Story chronicles the history of the famed toy company and the family behind it.
Next, we travel to Korea to partake in the birthday festivities proper. This record breaking tower stretches 31.9 meters (104.6 ft) into the sky. 4,000 children armed with 50,000 bricks erected the tower outside the Olympic City Stadium in Seoul. The event attracted more than 30,000 visitors and the Crown Prince of Denmark was on hand to place the final brick.
Yes, the love of LEGO knows no bounds. Nor does it check the calendar apparently. GUO’s own ryte2byte awoke last Christmas morning to find an incredible surprise. On a morning where families traditionally gather together for play and pictures, the LEGO store in Disney World Florida was was packed full of customers buying up boxes of the building blocks by the armfuls.
Speaking of LEGO Christmas 2011, here are a couple of quick vids from the giant LEGO Christmas tree at St. Pancras station in London.
This tree stood 12 meters tall (38ft)! That’s higher than the the upper platform of the station!
But enough about the LEGO phenomenon and more about the bricks and the creativity they unleash. It’s one thing to build big, it is quite another to build stuff with moving parts. We start this portion of the Watchlist with a YouTube classic: From 2006, here’s a fully operational record player constructed using LEGO’s Mindstorms robotics construction set. Every part of the device is pure LEGO product aside from the paper and tin foil cone.
How about a little more music? Our next feature takes us to the LEGO Star Wars Organ that toured Germany this year in promotion of both the LEGO Star Wars toy line as well as the upcoming 3D re-releases of the films. Crafted from 20,000 bricks all taken from Star Wars sets, this music box styled contraption uses the blocky terrain from a galaxy far away to move levers pressing keys on an electronic keyboard.
tala builds LEGO. And that’s just what tala does. tala also shares creations via a YouTube channel. Today, we look at one of my favorite creations of tala’s, the LEGO Rube Goldberg machine.
Love those bloopers at the end! It’s hard work to keep these things moving. Now, imagine we had a half-dozen talas. Oh, yeah! Meet the Great Ball Contraption from LEGO’s Brickworks convention in 2012. Bear in mind this thing needs to run continuously for hours up hours in a convention center full of people. Brace yourself for awesome!
One of the most famous and expansive of LEGO’s many product lines is the LEGO City. Here is a LEGOLosAngeles with his latest City spread.
Finally, we examine LEGO toys as medium for budding filmmakers everywhere. Who needs actors, CG, and complicated sets when everything necessary for a big budget film can be snapped together in minutes and shot frame-by-frame with any ol’ camera. For example, The Blurb. Volume Warming: Way too loud music at the end.
So that about does it for- What? There’s more? What now, video games? Oh. LEGO has also invaded the realms of interactive entertainment. Geez, is there any realm of media LEGO hasn’t become part of? Short answer: No. Long answer: LEGO The Lord of the Rings. Funny answer: LEGOlas.