Topic: The Brickfilm Feature: Christmas Edition! (December 24, 2017)
...OK, so it has been a while since I last wrote a feature, but I just couldn't let Christmas go by without one. Before we get into the older stuff, I must start out by saying that if you have managed to not see A Brickfilm Christmas by now, then that would be the best thing to go watch; a community project that I believe really does capture the spirit of Christmas. Otherwise, I have picked out some of my favourite Christmas brickfilms here. I'll give full disclosure that I tend to gravitate towards the comedy films, so there's nothing overtly religious on this list. Hopefully if there are replies with Christmas brickfilm recommendations, people will mention the more traditional Christmas brickfilms that stand out to them.
The Christmas Tree by CrazyEd (2012)
Though not massively well known, The Christmas Tree is a Christmas classic among brickfilmers who were around for its release. The premise is simple: A man has forgotten to buy a Christmas tree and heads out in a rush to get one. What makes this film so fun is the consistently entertaining animation and the amusing voice acting by Loïc F-B, who always provides a great comedic performance.
CrazyEd is a Polish brickfilmer and gifted animator, who worked very well with 24fps. Some of the standout pieces of animation are the car crash sequence and the layers scrolling during the driving shots. I think my only major gripe with this film would be with the black vignette border around the image at all times, which I find unnecessary and a bit distracting. CrazyEd also made a well regarded Christmas brickfilm about shopping, but this seems to be lost.
The Twelve Pains of X-mas by Lechnology (2004)
It just wouldn't be Christmas without some Christmas music. The Twelve Pains of X-mas is one of the great musical Christmas brickfilms, up there with the likes of No Crawme Steals Christmas (2013), A Beatles Christmas (2003), and Don't Be a Jerk It's Christmas (2009). This film is set to a Twelve Days of Christmas parody by Bob Rivers, and mercifully does not feature repeated animation. In fact, the comedic nature of the song allows for each pain to be sung by a different character and for the characters to actually change what they say on each go around, so the film can make mini-stories out of each of them and have some of them cross over. I've noticed that there are actually many brickfilm music videos for this song on YouTube (and it seems like they all have more views, too), but the original is the best. One other thing to note is that what may appear to be a rather strangely-designed turkey is actually a reference to Lechnology's 10 Brick Contest entry, Nine Elements, One Problem. Lechnology remains active to this day as a CG brickfilmer, which has been his medium of choice since about 2006. He is also in charge of the Bricks in Motion social media accounts.
Spoiler (click to read)
James Lord Pierpont Must Die! by TwoBit (2007) (contains plenty of mild language)
This one is more of my own personal pick; I can't recall ever seeing anyone else bring it up, but I loved it when it was released and have continued to watch it when Christmas rolls around. This is a film in the series The Unholy Trio, and despite being classic horror monsters, the trio appeared in three times as many Christmas films as they did Halloween films. I guess you could say they're like the Nightmare Before Christmas of brickfilming.
This film follows the werewolf, Ned, being annoyed by Jingle Bells playing on the radio, and travelling back in time to kill James Lord Pierpont before he can compose the song. The animation may be simplistic even for the time, but the film is from a time when there was often a great deal more conversation in brickfilms, and the strength is in the writing. It's not that it has a cerebral plot or anything; it's largely in that it essentially treats insults as an art form, and it always has me laughing with its excessive use of creative or bluntly-delivered put-downs. You will probably know if you would like it or not based on that description alone; not for everyone, but it always comes to my mind as soon as I think of Christmas brickfilms.
Generic Christmas Film: The Movie by Chris Wynn (2013)
A heartwarming tale. Really rather self-explanatory and only takes a minute, so check it out. This was created for and won second place in the second edition of Christmas in a Minute, a contest hosted by BiM member Repelling Spider in 2012 and 2013. There are plenty of great minute-long Christmas films to have come out of the contest, but I have always found this one particularly memorable. I am a fan of the Santa voice acting that manages to sound like a speech-engine.
What are some of your favourite Christmas brickfilms? Are there any you find yourself often revisiting at this time of year? As an additional note: As far as I'm aware, the earliest Christmas brickfilm is Santa 2000 from 1999, by one of the OG community members Greg Perry. I'll also give a quick nod to A Christmas Carol in Bricks (2002) by Stefan van Zwam, one of the earliest Christmas classics that I felt would be too long to go in the main feature alongside multiple films.