With the popularity of LEGO films in recent years, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to recreate the whole Bible in “brick” form.
American university student Josh Carroll has been making Bible-related films in brick – or LEGO – format for years as an evangelistic tool (with the help of his dad Dave Carroll, and now other family members). He also directed brickfilms The Passion (2018) and Exodus (2019).
I would expect the latter contains material that has been reused for this project, as Part One of the brick Bible story gets us from Creation to the brink of the Promised Land.
Great, you might be thinking. Everything that is awesome about LEGO and The LEGO Movie, but in Christian form!
This is where everyone needs to take a breath because, with a tiny budget, you’re not going to get the animated speech and movement (or the shiny, high-tech gloss) of the wide-release LEGO films. Characters in The Bible: A Brickfilm are pretty static, and while they talk a good deal there’s no mouth movement... and sometimes the still mouth of a character is smiling, or looking serious, all the time, when they really shouldn’t.
Yet a huge amount of work has clearly gone into this two-hour film, which is the first of three the Carrolls plan to make, telling the story of God and his world all the way to Revelation.
The story covers Creation, the Fall and its consequences, Noah – with the addition of some dinosaurs and mammoths for the fun of it – Babel, Abraham and God’s covenant, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph in Egypt.
About 40 minutes is devoted to Moses and the Exodus, the giving of the Ten Commandments and the hard-heartedness of the Israelites prior to their arrival in the Promised Land. And while special effects are not a major element in the film and the music can sometimes be overdone, the dinky little costumes do their job well – particularly in Egypt – and the scene at the Red Sea with the raised water and the pillar of fire looks pretty cool.
Most importantly, the theology is sound. God, whose voice we hear often, wants those he has made to trust, obey and love him, not live for themselves, and has given his created and redeemed people everything they need.
The contents are PG in that there’s brick violence, including people being killed and beaten, as well as “blood” and “sacrifice”, particularly of lambs. Sex is never mentioned, although it is hinted at, but there is – for example – no Sodom and Gomorrah, and even Potiphar’s wife asks Joseph to spend time with her rather than take her to bed.
Scenes in the film (which is also available on DVD) could certainly be an extra tool for teaching Sunday school kids, groups with poor literacy or helping explain Bible truths to those who don’t yet believe. It’s probably best taken in smaller bites, though, as the lack of “action” – while perfectly understandable – is likely to make your average audience a bit twitchy after a while.
I’m assuming that part two of this trilogy will cover the rest of the Old Testament (a big ask), with part three the New Testament. It will be interesting to see where in the Bible the bricks take us next.