Topic: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

In 2015, Nathan Wells ran the Brickfilm of the Week feature, with myself and Sméagol joining in towards the second half. For a while now, I have been thinking about launching a successor to that feature, and when nswihart began talking about how he wanted to see a feature and would also be willing to write for one, it seemed like now would be a good time to start one up again. Welcome to the first installment of The Brickfilm Feature!

While Brickfilm of the Week featured one classic brickfilm each week, I plan for the format of this new feature to be less defined. My main focus for now will be on featuring a number of brickfilms under a common theme, no matter their age or fame. It may also include Brickfilm of the Week-style single film features if the film is substantial, or other formats entirely. There will also be multiple writers, and hopefully some once-off guest writers. If you enjoy seeing content like this, I would encourage you to try to leave responses to the threads, as visible response helps motivation to continue writing articles.

For this inaugural feature, I will be highlighting “Unusual adventure brickfilms”. With there still being more than enough time to begin an entry to the Spirit of Adventure Contest, I thought I would encourage out-of-the-box thinking in regards to the theme in the hopes of inspiring those who don't have enough time or LEGO to craft an adventure on a larger scale. A tightly made short with a strong concept can have just as much of a fighting chance as a mini-epic (as I myself have found out in previous contests).

Bored Little Girl

I'll kick things off with a recent-ish one from 2014, by Al Nickels. When you think adventure brickfilm, your mind probably doesn't go to a protagonist standing in one spot and little animation beyond sets sliding in and out, but through the strength of its concept and progression, this film manages to convey an incredibly strong, ahem, spirit of adventure. The minimal movement even ties in with the voiceover to create the feeling of reading a children's picture book, while still using the medium of stop-motion in a clever way that serves the film well.

The Final Quest

Twickabrick have seen success in contests around here for a good while now, and that began with The Final Quest, the top winner of the first Festival of Souls contest in 2010. A single line of narration serves to drop us straight into what could have been a climactic scene of a longer film, but one that completely works as a standalone. It can be best to not show everything that has taken place in the lead-up, allowing for more time and effort to create an outstanding shorter film.

This is a film that is all about the execution. The unusual decision to build the cave with red bricks rather than grey gives the setting a unique, spooky vibe (and when I first saw this film, I thought there was a lighting trick at play, rather than the cave actually being made of red bricks). The film builds up to a chase sequence with tension heightened through the use of music and tight camera angles, making it one of the few I have seen that can compare to The Gauntlet. It basically goes without saying for Twick nowadays, but the animation is also incredible. This is a good example of a film incorporating adventure along with elements from another genre, too.

Security Nights

Security Nights is a brickfilm from 2004 by Richard Chavez, also known as Count Orlock, cHAVEZ, or Chavenese Productions. It was an entry into the High Adventure Theatre Contest, which is my personal favourite of the main summer contests. In a contest filled with so many classics, this is one of a number of great entries that landed outside of the top 10.

This film has a rare quality to it that I love. It feels like it was made by somebody who never watched a brickfilm before and just threw everything at the wall to see what would stick. It features an unorthodox combination of stop-motion, live action, sprite animation and computer-drawn elements, and through dream sequences it can include any fun scenario the director wants to throw in. I like the incorporation of live action and I also use it in my own brickfilms, as I feel in moderation it brings a certain comedic element that you wouldn't get with stop-motion (and let's be honest; it saves some time, too).

This was Chavez's second brickfilm, following a short titled Crash and Die that is featured within this film on the TV screen. He was working on an elaborate revised version of Security Nights, but lost his progress in 2005 due to computer troubles.

I also want to give a quick mention to No Title 17 (2010) by A. I was on the fence about including this in a feature tied in with a stop-motion contest as it is not technically stop-motion, but it is a very unusual adventure film by one of my favourite brickfilmers, so I feel I should give it a mention. I will probably give A.'s work a proper feature in the future.

Thanks to nswihart and WillowTree for helping with this feature. I hope I have helped to inspire thinking about more possibilities for the Spirit of Adventure theme, especially for people who may not have started an entry yet. The deadline is September 10, meaning there is still over a month and a half remaining. If you have any favourite adventure brickfilms or would like to mention others that are atypical for the genre, please post them in the replies to this thread.

Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

Thank you very much for this fine article Penta & WillowTree! It is always a pleasure to see brickfilms discussed in such a format. I’ve never seen 3 out of 4 of these films, so it’s even more of pleasure to get them handed on a silver plate! mini/bigsmile

Bored little girl is an excellent example for a film thinking “outside of the box”; the format is soooo adorable and it could go on and on and on… mini/mrgreen

What The Final Quest does especially well imo (besides the awesome animation work ofc), is build tension. The red cave, the camera angles (and movement), the “squishy” sound when he walks: All that gives the film an incredible atmosphere, even though the protagonist is just… walking… and walking! mini/lol

Security Night
was truly… unorthodox(?) but nevertheless very much enjoyable. It’s always nice to see what people, who are not very accustomed to the plastic medium, do with it; most often these are things we “brickfilmers” would never dare to do! With all the live action I was also immediately reminded of France & Alex (Bestia - also an adventure film mini/wink ), who implement it pretty often and in very clever ways in their works.

A.’s brickfilms are always pushing the border of the medium, which can make them pretty hard to watch sometimes. This one, however, is just adorable! I love the whole 8-bit style it’s using and I would really like to see more adventures with the cute yellow brick. Hugely underappreciated film, thank you very much for showcasing it! mini/yes

Last edited by Legoander (July 21, 2017 (10:03pm))

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Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

I loved security nights, mostly because of the amount of nonsensical action it has, It feels like the director didn't care much about making a "perfect" film and just wanted to have fun with it. That's something I really appreciate.
The film has some really cool creatures (SPOILER) like that brick-built monster and some interesting effects like (SPOILER) how the skeleton-samurai...thing opened his mouth. mini/yes

Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

Nice read!

First time seeing these films.

Bored Little Girl

Amazing transitions. Didn't know what to expect at first but the transitional shots continued to blow me away throughout the whole thing. I was entertained. I do wish there was a bit more animation between the shots, though.

The Final Quest
I initially found it a little slow and the music off putting, but the comedic soundtrack instantly grew on me.  The action sequence were great. Good film.

Security Nights
I can tell this is one of those films you either love or hate. I won't say where I lie in that group. It definitely had a very distinct style that shined throughout the whole film... From the cheesy green screen visuals, to the rediculous use of sound effects... it definitely maintained it's style.

Life is like a box of LEGO, you never know what you're gonna build. - mrgraff

Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

It feels so weird to see the Featured Article section with posts since it's been dormant for awhile.

Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

Yes! It's finally back (kinda mini/tongue)!

I've been waiting for this type of featured article to surface again, as I have found these sort of things to be very useful in discovering new amazing brickfilms and animators, which is always a good thing mini/smile evidently, it looks like new finds will become harder to come across as I have seen the first two already, and I must agree that these really are some of the best adventure brick films out there, as in my opinion with the adventure genre (as well as others) the storyline is the most important part, which is why I think that these are so good mini/smile

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Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

this is a wonderful idea, as it will 1) infuse some more interest in brickfilms that are forgotten, 2) provide us with a broader scope of what's out there and provide even a sense of history of the archive of Brickfilms, also 3) be fun to watch themes and even anticipate or have community discussion on possible future themes. 

I know you there's a team involving Nathan Wells and Penta I think and others preserving and archiving brickfilms on behalf of the genre.  It's a huge task but I'm glad someone's up to the endeavor, because brickfilmers of tomorrow will care about it.  Personally, I haven't had the opportunity to watch as many brickfilms as I wanted to (hardly any, in fact) and life happened two years ago and never stopped happening when i resolved to do so.  With this feature I, and others, can get a nice sampling of noteworthy brickfilms.  I intend to take time this week and watch.

"None practice tolerance less frequently than those who most loudly preach it."

Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

i'm glad the articles are back! I think i might do a recap in video form if these are consistent mini/smile Want to get this out however we can right?

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Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

Sounds great!

Re: The Brickfilm Feature: Unusual adventure brickfilms (July 21, 2017)

I had only ever heard of 1 of the 4 brickfilms in this article, and I am glad to be introduced to these unique films.

As far as I remember, I've only ever seen Bored Little Girl once before. It's a really sweet little film, and probably one of the best brickfilms with the least amount of animation. It's emphasis on set building makes it enjoyable to watch, and I am a massive fan of simple premises being used to their full potential.

The Final Quest is yet another Twickabrick masterpiece, with excellent animation and top notch cinematography. I think Twickabrick's low res camera equipment which he continued to use up until recently, helps give this and many of his other films a vibe, which is really cool. The use of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance seems like a weird choice at first, until the film progresses, and it proves to be surprisingly effective.

Security Nights, now that's a weird one. It's insane, off the wall humour is a real joy to witness. It definitely seems that the animator wanted to experiment with different animation techniques, most of which were entertaining to witness. Probably the most unique film from this article and the one that has stayed with me the most.

The brickfilmer A. sounds familiar to me. Perhaps I've heard people mention him before? I have definitely heard that name before, but haven't seen any of his work until now. After watching this, I went ahead and checked out other stuff he had created. He's definitely got an unusual style, but sadly never really gained much of an audience. Perhaps his work is a little too unconventional for most, but you can consider me a fan.  No Title 17 is a nicely polished work, and does have a fairly clear story, despite it's abstract design. It reminds me a lot of Arginnon's BRAWL Entry Brick to Brick, which was similar in style!

It's great to see the return of the articles. This week has introduced me and many others to some great, underappreciated brickfilms, and I look forward to more articles like this one!